As seasoned landlords know much too well, all Illinois evictions have two things in common. They are expensive and they take time. We do our best to keep our fees down and to move the process along as reasonably fast as the system will allow, but the realities of the inefficient system and the uncertainties of the other parties (ie. process servers, tenants, and judges) lead to landlords expending valuable time and money in an eviction.
Right now, our firm is handling mostly residential evictions in the Cook County courthouses in Chicago (1st District), Skokie (2nd District), and Rolling Meadows (3rd District). It might also help prospective clients to know generally how we will bill a residential eviction. Keep in mind, prices can change without notice and this information does not apply to commercial evictions or evictions in other districts or counties.
We bill eviction actions on an hourly basis at a rate of $275 per lawyer hour plus costs. Clerk or paralegal time is billed at $85 per hour. Our minimum billing increment is usually 6 minutes except for court appearances that are billed at a minimum of one hour. We do not charge for travel time to any of the Cook County Courthouses in the first, second, or third districts.
Because we know our clients would like a little bit more certainty about what a forcible entry and detainer action will cost them, we charge a portion of our eviction services at a flat rate. The following services are included in the flat rate: initial discussion with client to gather information about the eviction, drafting of summons and complaint, arranging for filing and service of eviction case with the Cook County Circuit Court, checking on service of process after filing the case, communicating with the client about service of process, and the first court appearance (whether it is a bench trial, continuance, appointment of special process server or otherwise) is performed for $600 plus costs. Anything outside of the fixed fee portion of our fees is billed at the hourly rate of $275 per hour plus costs.
The “best case scenario” eviction in Cook County usually takes about three months (longer beginning in Fall and Winter). That same best case scenario eviction, including attorneys fees and court costs, usually costs a landlord around $1350 (this can vary based upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, the number of defendants, the amount of money judgment sought, and the amount of time the landlord interacts with the attorneys). The “best case scenario” doesn’t happen that often and we regularly send clients invoices for between $1600-$3500 and in some cases, more depending on the facts of any given case. As I mentioned, evictions can be costly endeavors.
When we take on a new case, we collect a $1500 advance payment. In the best case scenario, the landlord would probably get some of that advance payment back. But, as mentioned above, it is more common for the landlord to get a bill for the work done in excess of the $1500 advance payment.
As I have mentioned before, landlords can feel free to give our office a call to see if we are a match for an engagement. We are always willing to spend about five minutes or so with prospective landlord clients (we don’t do eviction defense – sorry tenants!) to see if we are compatible to work together. Feel free to contact us!
Please understand that this information can change without notice. This firm is not bound to the fees listed above by virtue of the fact that they are posted above. Please also understand that no landlord is a client of this firm without first executing our engagement letter and paying the advance payment. This information is general in nature and is not a direct invitation to a legal engagement.