Why You Should Choose Lewis & Tompkins to Represent You
Harry C. Lewis, Esq., founder and principal of Lewis & Tompkins PC, started his practice in 1958. Now, 48 years later, the firm has represented three generations of Metropolitan D.C. area families in negligence matters. Mr. Lewis, in 1950, graduate first in his law school class, Order of the Coif, Editor of the Law Review and was the first Jewish law student at the University of Missouri School of Law. Mr. Lewis has spent an entire career representing victims of negligence in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Sharon Lewis Tompkins, Esq., managing partner of the firm, has spent her entire life working in the firm. Ms. Tompkins is a Governor of the Metropolitan Washington Trial Lawyers Association. Ms. Tompkins is a well-renowned expert on automobile insurance coverage, and a frequent presenter to D.C., Maryland and Virginia attorney organizations on insurance issues. An accomplished trial lawyer, Ms. Tompkins handles every new file that we accept for representation personally.
David Errol Tompkins, Esq., a partner in the firm, is co-counsel to major, federal class action cases involving insurance company fraud. A highly experienced litigator, Mr. Tompkins has tried serious cases in all local and Federal courts.
You can also see our listings with Martindale-Hubbell at Lawyers.com, or check the biography pages on our website.
Our personal injury practice relies solely on referral. You won’t find our firm advertising in tacky yellow page ads or seedy late-night television ads. We don’t declare MILLIONS RECOVERED FOR OUR CLIENTS. That does not mean anything. EVERY decent lawyer, including exceptional ones like us, has recovered millions for their clients. We have recovered millions for our clients, but your case is unique. You are not a number in our firm, or part of our “tally.” We care about you, and your case.Very Practical Reasons to Hire Lewis & Tompkins:
- Instant answers to common questions. Through our use of Needles, we maintain complete records of every file status, every telephone call, every medical bill and report, and every important note for every file. Everyone in our office can look up any particular file. Why is this important? As our office works as a team, you don’t have to wait for the one person who knows your file to answer your question. If Sharon Tompkins is not available, David Tompkins can easily look up your file and, in most cases, answer any questions you may have. No waiting on return calls, no leaving messages.
- No paralegal case managers. We believe that the practice of law should be practiced by attorneys. Many of the Yellow Page/Advertising Lawyer firms will take your case, but will never let you talk to your lawyer. Trying to get your lawyer on the phone? Forget it. You have to deal with your “case manager” or “paralegal” or “legal secretary” to have your question answered. Most of the time, that staff person will say something like, “Let me ask the attorney…” You should think to yourself, “Why can’t I ask the attorney, myself?” Here’s why: the attorney knows NOTHING about your case. The paralegal only reports to the attorney when a case has sat for an extended period and no offer of settlement has been made.
- No voice mail. During office hours, Lewis & Tompkins PC does not utilize voicemail. Either the person that answers the telephone will assist you with your problem, or will take a message. That message is entered into our computer file management program, Needles, and instantly placed on the attorney or staff member’s computer desktop. Each message is date/time stamped and records who took the message. We strive to return all phone calls the same day. Besides, our clients have our cell phone numbers, if we are not in the office, you can usually catch us on the road.
- Free assistance with frequent issues and claims. At Lewis & Tompkins, PC, we are a full service law firm. Part of the initial claims process is to make sure of the following:
- Property damage issues are resolved. We will make the necessary claims to get your car into the shop to get repaired.
- Rental cars are arranged. We will make the necessary arrangements with your insurance, or the insurance of the at-fault party, to get you a rental car when your car is in the shop or not drivable.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims are handled for FREE. This is where most firms like to hide little fees. We handle all PIP claims for FREE. We do not charge a percentage of a recovery for handling PIP. We do not charge a flat fee to handle PIP. We will make the claim, fill out the forms, and supply the necessary paperwork to your PIP insurer - FREE OF CHARGE
No fee for initial consultation. So what, right? Every Yellow Page Ad has this line. You should never meet with any personal injury attorney who would not give you a free initial consultation. Every decent personal injury attorney in this area should talk to you about your case for free. Not a paralegal or legal secretary, an ATTORNEY.
Every personal injury attorney, in the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area, should take your case on a Contingency Fee. Contingency fees are fees where an attorney generally does not bill a client hourly, but takes a percentage of whatever damages the attorney collects on behalf of the client. Contingency fees make no sense in some cases (like criminal cases), but are a very good arrangement in other cases, such as negligence cases.
Contingency fees are good because:
- The attorney does not get paid until the client gets paid.
- The attorney makes more as the client makes more, so the attorney has an incentive to get as much as possible.
- The attorney does not get paid unless the client gets paid. This makes attorneys work hard for their clients.
In a personal injury case, personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee. Typically, personal injury attorneys will charge a one-third contingency. For example, if an attorney recovered three dollars for a client, the attorney’s fee would be one dollar.
Sure. But in addition, all cases have expenses. Expenses are costs outside of an attorney fee. For example, medical record copy costs, filing fees, deposition charges are all expenses an attorney would incur in bringing a case. Expenses are generally separate from an attorney’s contingency fee. Why? Because those costs are the client’s costs, and generally the rules governing attorney ethical behavior prohibit an attorney from paying for those costs for a client.
What most attorneys will do, which is allowed by the rules governing attorney ethics, is to allow an attorney to advance certain costs of a client’s case, but to be reimbursed when a case settles. These expenses are generally NOT contingent of the outcome of any particular case.
Some attorneys will charge a lower percentage at the beginning of a case, and then raise the percentage later. For example, one common contingency fee arrangement is for an attorney to receive one-third if a case settles, but forty percent if a case goes to trial.
Contingency fees, like all attorney fees, are negotiable at the outset of representation.Our Fee Agreements
“Well, what are your fees,” you ask? We generally use a standard one-third rate. Our rate can depend on the type of case and the facts of each case, and we make exceptions from time to time. One-third of zero is zero. If we don’t recover money for you, we don’t get paid.
With our fees, we make another guarantee to our clients that most firms won’t. We never take a fee which exceeds a client’s in-pocket recovery after paying all expenses and liens.
Provided that a client follows our advice, we will reduce our fees at settlement to ensure that a client’s in-pocket recovery – after paying all legal fees, costs and medical expenses – is more than our attorney fee when necessary.
How can you do that? Simple, we represent or clients so well, and our settlement values and verdicts are so high, we only very rarely have to reduce our fees. As far as we know, we are the only firm Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia that will make this pledge.