Costs, Fees, & Policies

Associated Counsel/Expert Witnesses

Over the years, we have worked with some of the best lawyers in Montana and the United States in joint venture agreements to serve our clients in complicated and/or expensive products liability, wrongful death, negligence, automobile accidents and other matters where we believe additional expertise and/or financial or other resources are necessary to help insure that our clients receive all of the justice to which they are entitled. On these occasions our fees are typically split. In these cases, our clients receive the benefit of multiple lawyers and some of the best legal representation available anywhere for the same contingency fee as if
Whether we believe that associating outside counsel is necessary or advisable in any given case is usually a topic that is discussed before we agree to take your case. If you have a trusted lawyer that you would like to be involved in your case, please feel free to let us know this at the beginning of our relationship. Sometimes we can help you

Many legal cases require the use of paid expert witnesses. In family law and other flat fee and hourly cases, we will ask that you pay, as we go, for the use of any such witnesses. In contingency fee injury and death cases we often advance the costs of such expert witnesses and do not charge you for these services unless and until we receive a verdict or other pre-trial settlement that is acceptable to you .


We expect to win every case that we take. What “winning,” means, of course, depends on each individual case, and what our clients reasonably expect from us. Our success in any given case often requires a team effort of clients, lawyers, witnesses and experts who may be necessary to address areas that require an expert’s knowledge and skills. We work hard to make sure from the outset that yours is a case that we can, in fact, “win” and communicate with you about both strengths and weaknesses of your case so that we can have a common goal of what a “win” will be and how best to achieve that victory .

“Winning,” sometimes means, simply, not losing. There are situations, sometimes, where the best approach is to do nothing, or simply to “move on.” Conversely, sometimes clients become so entrenched in their desire to defeat their opponent that they assure a “loss” for themselves, their families or others to whom they owe some degree of consideration.

In the process of determining whether or not to accept your case, we will work with you to discuss both “winning” and “losing” and attempt to make sure that we have a common understanding of what the conditions for a “win” are and what it will take, financially and/or otherwise to obtain such a “win.”

Some of the work we do is not adversarial in nature such as the preparation of wills and trusts, setting up partnerships and corporations, reviewing and drafting contracts, assisting with real estate transactions.


Nationwide, approximately 90% of all civil cases settle out of court. In our experience this statistic is true for our civil injury practice as well. Unfortunately, many of our largest and best settlements occur on the eve of trial after years and much time and effort has been expended on preparing a case for trial. Settlement of civil cases is, always, our primary goal. We are not afraid to go to trial in cases where a settlement, for whatever reasons, cannot be reached.

In family law matters, settlements are typically less likely and require court hearings, as divorcing parties are often not very good at agreeing with their ex-spouses on anything. We will tell you, candidly, whether your position makes economic or other sense, and always do our best to make sure that our clients can overcome their emotion and focus on matters that are in their best long term interests or which are in the best interests of their children.

Some government statistics indicate that approximately 1 out of 4 of every criminal trials results in a “not guilty” verdict. In this light we are often hesitant t to let our clients “settle” or plead guilty to any crime, unless it appears relatively “beyond doubt,” that a case cannot be won. On the other hand, criminal law clients who are “first offenders,” and are committed to following rules following a settlement agreement, often have good success in complying with plea agreements and obtaining ultimate dismissals, where they are committed to getting back on the right track in the eyes of society.

Our Experience.

Every case is unique. In our fifty years of combined experience we have seen thousands of different legal problems and have helped our clients “win” where other lawyers believed that no “win” was possible. We have assisted clients in numerous six and seven figure settlements and verdicts against insurance companies, corporations, state and local governments, the federal government and its agencies and individual businesses.

While we cannot promise any particular result in your case, we can assure you that we will do all that is reasonably with in our power to get the best result possible, for you, in light of the facts and circumstances involved in your unique case. We will not accept your case unless we believe that a “win,” whatever that may be, is within our collective reach.

Our combined experience both inside and outside of the courtroom in a wide variety of legal and human interactions allows us to help you understand whether your unique legal problem is one that we (or someone else) can help you with or not. In this regard, there truly are no “dumb” questions. If you truly want help with a problem that is beyond your own solving, please feel free to contact us.

Fee Arrangements.

We do not believe any case is too big or too small for us to discuss with you. In some cases we may make referrals to other lawyers if we do not believe we have either the resources or time to devote to helping you win your particular case.

We handle most injury, death, workers compensation, civil rights, discrimination and wrongful cases on a contingency fee basis. In other words, we do not collect any fee unless we are able to obtain a settlement or verdict for you.

In most other cases we work on an hourly basis at rates between $100 and $300 per hour, depending on the circumstances unique to each case. Our typical required retainer in relatively simple civil and misdemeanor matters is $2,500. In complex civil cases and felony criminal cases, our required retainer is typically between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your credit history, ability to make payments and the like. In casses involving wrongful death, serious personal injury, property damage, or business injuries, no retainer is required.

In some instances, we may agree to help indigent clients with legal matters on a pro bono basis, which means, effectively, that we believe that winning your case is important to society. Further, if your circumstances are such that you cannot pay our normal retainer fees, we may be able to assist you as long as you can commit to some form of regular weekly or monthly payment arrangement.

In summary, if you have a strong, winnable, case, and are personally committed to helping do all that it takes to “win,” we can probably find a fee situation that will work for both of us, or we can help you find someone else who may be better suited to your particular circumstances.

Contingency Fees

We handle workers compensation, death, injury and property damage claims on a contingency fee basis (usually between 20% and 40% of the settlement or verdict amount. Typically, there is no fee for our services unless or until we recover money for you from an insurance company, government agency, person, partnership, LLC or corporation. We also, in some cases, advance legal costs necessary to help prepare your claim.

Flat fees

In some cases we can work on a “flat fee” basis, for example in the preparation of wills, real estate documents, trusts, deeds, easements and the like. We also do some civil and criminal work on a flat fee basis.

Hourly Fees

Our hourly rates for legal services start at $250.00 per hour.

Hybrid Agreements

In some cases we do legal work for reduced fees or a combination of a reduced fee and a reduced contingency fee. Every case is different, however, and we strive to find the fee arrangement that works best for you.

Pro Bono

Pro bono publico refers to work that we do “for free” that is in the interests of all of us. We are committed to helping every person who truly needs a lawyer to find a lawyer regardless of financial circumstances. If you believe that you have a case that is important to serving or advancing “the public interest,” please contact us.


We will always be honest with you, even when such honesty is not what you want to hear.

Most people are not completely honest. Dishonesty, in any form, is the most common reason that we either refuse a case initially, or withdraw our representation if such representation has already commenced.

What you tell us, with very few exceptions, is protected from disclosure to any other person without your permission. Sometimes clients believe they can hided or distort embarrassing or damaging facts about their case so that they can obtain more sympathy from their lawyer.
This is a huge mistake. In over a half-century of helping people with legal problems we have concluded that there is no single “bad fact” that is surmountable. What is often insurmountable, unfortunately, is a client who lies or attempts to deceive us, the court or others about the “bad fact(s).” Courts, juries and the public, generally, tend to be forgiving of people who make mistakes, but do not attempt to lie about or excuse these mistakes. We are like others in this regard. When it comes to “lying,” our policy is essentially, “one and done.” If we find out you are lying, or have lied to us or others in the past, “we are done,” with our representation of you.

An attorney client relationship must be based on a nearly complete trust. Trust is earned over time and, unfortunately, can be lost in an instant. Lying, exaggeration and deception of any kind is, not surprisingly, the biggest reason that cases are lost. As we have indicated elsewhere, we do not like to lose. Further, we can never “win,” without your complete honesty concerning all aspects of your case, your background and any other matter in which the opponents can use to make you appear to be dishonest. While we can sometimes be forgiving with respect to “excusable” dishonesty, not being truthful almost always causes permanent damages to human relationships and, sometimes, this damage cannot be repaired.



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Phone: 406-539-3847 or text 406-539-3847


Contact Doug Marshall by email at or by phone or text at (406) 539-3847 for a confidential and free initial consultation.

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