Checklist & Terms of Engagement
If you consider hiring the German law office Graf & Partners to represent you in a German civil lawsuit, we recommend to carefully read the below checklist before you contact us with any details of your case. The information below will give you a better idea of whether Graf Legal is the right law firm for your German legal dispute.
- We exclusively take on German civil and business litigation cases. While we may be able to recommend criminal defense lawyers, Graf & Partners themselves do not take on criminal cases. Our lawyers are licensed to practice throughout Germany and in all German civil courts. Since our law office is located in the south of Germany, you may incur significant travel expenses if you wish us to represent you in a case which is heard before a court in northern Germany. In high profile international cases, however, such travel costs are usually considered to be insignificant.
- Before we can officially take on your case and open a file, we need to do a conflict of interest check and adhere to the Know Your Client (KYC) requirements. This means that we will need the full name, residential adress and a scan of the passport or official ID of the person(s) who wish to engage us as their German legal counsel. We will also need the details of the opponent in order to check whether the opponent is already on our client list.
- Please send a short summary of the facts of your case and let us know which actions you wish us to take on your behalf. Please note that our law firm receives dozens of enquiries each day, so the best way to get your case evaluated by one of our lawyers is if you provide us with a concise description of what the dispute is about. The better you can describe your problem, the faster we can get back to you with a decision whether we are able to take on the case or not. Please have realistic expectations with regards to turn-around times. Some clients wait until the last-minute and then expect immediate attention to their matter, which isn’t always possible and – if possible – will trigger significantly higher legal fees.
- Lawyer fees and costs: Our attorneys bill by the hour, usually anywhere between EUR 280 and EUR 400 net per full hour. We usually ask for an upfront payment for legal fees of, depending on the scope and legal complexity of the matter, at least EUR 1,000 up to EUR 20,000 plus German VAT where applicable. Please note that under German law, minimum statutory lawyer fees do apply in all forensic matters. Any German lawyer is legally obligated to charge at least these baseline fees which are calculated based on the “value of the case”, i.e. the amount in dispute. These minimum fees under the German Lawyer remuneration Act (Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz) will have to be charged regardless of how much time was spent on the case. More details in this post: Basic Principles of Legal Costs in Germany
- Our minimum fee per case: The absolute minimum fee which we will charge in any litigation matter is EUR 1,000 net. We are a highly specialised boutique law firm with a limited number of expert international litigation lawyers. Therefore, we are unable to take on small claims cases.
- Please note that contingency fee agreements are prohibited under German law, so please do not ask us to take on your case on a “no win no fee” basis. The answer is no. More on the German contingency fee ban in this post: No Win No Fee Agreements are Void in Germany
- Court fees: If you wish to initiate a German lawsuit, you will also need to pay court fees. These fees are due when we file the action on your behalf (Klageeinreichung). The court will not serve the complaint to the defendant unless and until you have paid the court fees.
- Client paperwork: Once we have made sure that we are able to take on your case, we will ask you to sign a fee agreement and a power of attorney form. Comprehensive letters of engagement are neither customary nor required under German law, because all clients are already well protected by German statutory law and professional lawyer regulations. More in this post: How to Retain a German Lawyer
If you decide to instruct our law office based on the above terms, we are looking forward to assessing your case and to representing you in a German court of law. Visit www.GrafLegal.com, the German civil litigation experts with 20+ years in international civil, business and corporate litigation.