Frequently Asked Questions

If I hire Trenchless Legal Services, who will be working on my case?

Just me, Ted Roberts. If your case requires a team of lawyers, I will not take it. Fortunately, most cases can be handled by a single attorney, especially if that attorney is not being pulled in different directions by the demands of law firm practice. This helps ensure the best results at the lowest cost.

How do you charge for your services?

Like most lawyers, I charge an hourly rate for time spent on your case. I do not like billing by the hour, but I have yet to find a better method for pricing construction litigation that works well for both lawyer and client. You should have a good idea about the time I’m spending on your case before you see the bill. If not, I am happy to talk to you about what I can do better.

My hourly rate is $350.

I’m involved with a legal dispute where millions are at stake. While I can appreciate the value of your experience, I’m reluctant to hand things over to just one attorney. Why should I consider you instead of a law firm?

Most companies hire lawyers, not law firms. Many cases at law firms are still handled by just one attorney. And many high-dollar lawsuits involve the same issues found in lower-value cases.

Many companies like working with solos because they know that their work will stay with that attorney, rather than handed off to someone else unfamiliar with their case and their business. As a solo attorney, I can promise my clients that they will not see bills for interoffice meetings, associate memos to partners, or for time spent transitioning a file from one attorney to another. Nor do I feel any pressure to bill for every single email I read and send, or for every minute I spend thinking about your case.

Can I work with you if either my company or project is located outside of Minnesota?

In most cases, “Yes.” Lawyers and law firms often handle matters outside of their home states by partnering with a local attorney. I’ve represented clients throughout the country in this way.

I want an aggressive lawyer who will be tough with the other side. Are you that kind of lawyer?

If by “aggressive” you mean a lawyer who will refuse to work with opposing counsel while drowning them in motions and other paper, then the answer is “no.” Those kinds of tactics increase the costs of a lawsuit and often backfire. If you mean someone who tries to prepare a case better and faster than the other side, then “yes.”

How long is my case going to take?

Anywhere from a few months to years, but my goal is to resolve your case on favorable terms as soon as possible. If you work with me, one of the first things we will do is identify where you want to be at the end of the case and, working together, decide the best way to get there.

How much is my case going to cost?

The costs of a contested lawsuit are difficult to predict. One very rough rule of thumb is 20% of the total amount of each side’s claims. Over the years I have become convinced that the costs of a lawsuit will be much lower in the long run if both lawyer and client invest the time upfront to thoroughly understand the facts and information related to the case so that a litigation strategy can be implemented early on.

Another lawyer says that they can keep costs down by delegating work to their associates, who bill out at lower rates. What say you?

Good luck with that. When I was an associate at a law firm, I felt pressure to bill hours. Many of those hours were spent learning the law or figuring out what to do in the first place.

What can I do now so that I don’t have to hire you now or ever again?

Legal services are a cost of doing business, especially in the construction industry. The best way to keep your legal costs down is to involve an attorney early on, before you experience a major legal problem. Many lawsuits could have been avoided. In some ways, the law is like medicine: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How to work with me:

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your problem and goals.

I will review the facts and important documents. If possible, I will speak with those involved.
I will provide you with an early case assessment, including:

  • An evaluation of your case and what it’s worth (vs. the cost of litigating),
  • A strategy tailored to your specific goals, and
  • Potential options for ending the case quickly.

Run things by me if:

  • You are being asked to sign a contract that you do not understand,
  • You are on a project and see problems ahead, or
  • An outstanding claim or issue threatens to become a lawsuit.
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