When you are about to hire a St Paul international tax lawyer to help you with an international tax issue, there are three fundamental questions that you need to ask him.
Hiring St Paul International Tax Lawyer Question #1: How Will I Be Billed?
Generally, a St Paul international tax lawyer will bill you on an hourly basis, particularly in a tax litigation setting. He will provide you with a general estimate of your future expenses, which, understandably, will vary with the progress of the case. In a tax preparation or sometimes even in a simple tax planning case, a St Paul international tax lawyer may also offer a flat fee option. Where there are complex international tax planning issues involved, however, most St Paul international tax lawyers are likely to charge on an hourly basis. Similarly, while working on international tax compliance issues (Form 3520, 5471, 8891, et cetera) or preparing a tax return (including foreign tax credit and earned foreign income exclusion), St Paul international tax lawyers tend to rely on the hourly fee arrangements.
The more important issue with regard to this question is the manner in which you will be billed. Here, the practice varies among international tax lawyers in St Paul, Minnesota. Some St Paul international tax lawyers may require you to provide a large retainer which is later deposited in a client trust account; the withdrawals from the account are made in conjunction with the work completed and as spelled out in the retainer agreement between the lawyer and the client. If the retainer is later depleted, your St Paul international tax lawyer may ask you to replenish it. Other St Paul international tax lawyers will require a smaller retainer and will then bill you on a monthly basis. If the latter option is proposed by your St Paul international tax lawyer, you should ask for a sufficient time period (usually 10-14 days) to pay your bill. A mix of these options is also available. You will find that St. Paul international tax lawyers, especially solo practitioners, are rather flexible in their choice of the payment mode, but, once the fee agreement is signed, they will be firm in insisting that you comply with the terms of the agreement.
Hiring St Paul International Tax Lawyer Question #2: What percentage of the practice is devoted to the international tax law?
The purpose of this question is two-fold. First, you will figure out whether this St Paul international tax lawyer likes handling cases in your area of law. If a tax lawyer devotes more than 50% of his practice to international tax law, you know that he likes this area of law and will be enthusiastic about your case. This means that, in addition to his general due diligence obligations, this St Paul international tax lawyer will have a professional interest in your case. Second, generally, a St Paul international tax lawyer who devotes 50% or more of his practice to international tax law is likely to have good experience in this area.
Hiring St Paul International Tax Lawyer Question #3: will this St Paul international tax lawyer devote his personal attention to your case?
This question is very important, because you need to make sure that your lawyer personally works on your case. This becomes one of the biggest problems with hiring most mid-size and large law firms, because in those firms, the partner with whom you signed the agreement will generally delegate a large percentage (sometimes virtually all) of his responsibilities to his associates, who are generally less experienced in the area than the partner. In this case, you should insist that the St Paul international tax lawyer who signed the retainer agreement with you devotes his personal attention to your case and delegates only marginal matters to his associates. Generally, solo practitioners or small international firms do not have similar problems.
The other important issue involved in this question is whether your St Paul international tax lawyer is generally responsive to your calls and keeps you up-to-date with respect to the progress of your case. Most international tax lawyers are very busy people; yet, you must insist that you should be able to communicate with them. In my practice, I devote a great deal of energy and time to make sure that my clients do not feel neglected and have the latest information about their case available to them. For example, my firm has a rule of returning most calls before the end of the day.