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Pictured: Steve ScottMargaret Thomas • Boone County Courthouse

About Scott Law Firm, P.C.

Scott Law Firm, P.C. (sometimes referred to on this website as "SLF") focuses primarily on providing legal services to landlords and property managers in Boone County, Missouri. We almost never accept cases from other locales. Topics covered on this page:

Personnel
Notices and Disclaimers
Service Guidelines
Fees, Expenses and Billing Policies


Personnel

Steve Scott, Attorney

Steve Scott has been practicing law in Columbia, Missouri since 1978. He was managing partner of a six-lawyer firm before opening his own firm in January 1997. He is a member of the bars of the Missouri Supreme Court (which includes all Missouri trial and appellate courts), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He has three degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia: Bachelor of Journalism,1968; Master’s Degree in Political Science, 1977; and Juris Doctorate (law degree), 1977. He graduated cum laude from the Law School and was a member of the Board of Editors of The Missouri Law Review and the Order of the Coif.

He served as a member of the Columbia Board of Education from 1985 to 1994 (President 1990-92) and is past president, treasurer, secretary, newsletter editor and webmaster of the Boone County Bar Association. He is a past president and was the long-time secretary/webmaster of the Rotary Club of Columbia. He currently serves his church as secretary and webmaster.

Margaret Thomas, Legal Assistant

Margaret Thomas is Scott Law Firm's Legal Assistant. She previously worked for more than 30 years in the office of the Boone County Circuit Clerk, including a stint as the Civil Division supervisor. She has had extensive experience working with landlord-tenant cases.

Jessica Graves, Administrative Assistant

Jessica Graves is Scott Law Firm's Administrative Assistant. Jessi hails from the Chicago suburbs and is currently a journalism and business management double-major at the University of Missouri. After completing her undergraduate degrees, she plans to pursue a master's degree in news editing at MU. On campus, she's involved in Women in Media, an organization that fosters conversations and mentorships among women in the journalism and communications programs as well as professional women working in communications. This involvement inspired her long-term goal of attending law school, where she plans to focus on human rights or constitutional law. When she's not working or studying, she's enjoying a book or a Cubs baseball game.

Scott Law Firm also employs part-time clerical assistance and professional consultants as necessary to complete legal work for clients on a timely basis.

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Notices and Disclaimers

The legal information provided on this site is believed, but not guaranteed, to be accurate and current and is intended to educate visitors about selected aspects of Missouri law, federal law as it impacts Missouri residents, and local practice in Boone County. The legal information is summary in nature and does not constitute individualized legal advice upon which site visitors may rely. Because every situation involves different facts, and a site visitor’s particular factual situation may call for an application of legal principles to facts which is not covered by the general information provided here, site visitors should consult with an attorney for individualized legal advice and neither take nor refrain from taking action based on materials found here.

U.S. residents in states other than Missouri should be aware that while certain legal principles outlined on this site may be similar to principles followed in their own states, laws can vary considerably from state to state. Site visitors from foreign countries should be aware that the laws in their country may differ very substantially from the information provided here. Therefore, legal information and/or specific advice should always be obtained from a local source.

Neither visiting this site nor exchanging email with Scott Law Firm will create an attorney-client relationship. SLF will enter into such a relationship only after meeting with a client, ensuring that no conflict-of-interest exists, and mutually agreeing on essential matters including scope of representation and fee/expense arrangements. Until we have entered into an attorney-client relationship, any communications to us by a prospective client will not be covered by the rule of law that protects the confidentiality of communications between a client and attorney.

We will endeavor to respond promptly to email, but we will neither accept requests for nor provide specific legal advice by email except to established clients. Both site visitors and established clients should be aware that:

• Internet communications to us and our responses are not necessarily secure and confidential unless an encryption program is used.

• We are not using an encryption program at this time.

The Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Missouri Supreme Court require the following disclosure:

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

The laws of other states regarding attorney communications may differ from Missouri's. If the materials on this site do not comply with the laws of another state from which a client seeks legal representation as a result of communications on this site, we will not accept that representation.

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Service Guidelines

Scott Law Firm's goal is to obtain the most favorable result for our clients within the bounds of the law and professional and business ethics.

We strive to be accessible and helpful, so we offer evening and weekend office appointments, as well as out-of-office appointments for persons in the Columbia area who are unable to come to our office.

When a client retains Scott Law Firm, it is essential that both the client and SLF have a clear understanding of the nature and extent of the work SLF is authorized to perform. During the first meeting, we will discuss the client's legal problem, the remedies available, the legal services required, and the estimated time to complete the work. If, as the work progresses, there are unexpected developments which result in a longer time period or greater expense than anticipated, we will promptly advise the client.

The relationship between a client and lawyer requires complete trust and confidence. This means that all information and communications from a client to SLF will remain completely confidential unless the client authorizes SLF to disclose particular information.

Scott Law Firm uses up-to-date technology for word- and data-processing and legal research. Through the use of specialized books and on-line legal databases, we can quickly research legal issues. SLF strives to provide legal services to its clients on an efficient, economical basis.

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Fees, Expenses and Billing Policies

Fees

Most of the legal work Scott Law Firm performs for its landlord and property manager clients is done on a flat fee basis. For regular clients, we do not typically bill for brief telephone or in-person consultations. Click here for our fee structure for landlord-tenant cases.

In unusual situations we offer an initial no-charge consultation to obtain information about the situation and advise the prospective client of the possible legal remedies and/or defenses and the legal fees and expenses involved in pursuing those remedies and/or defenses. In many situations, we will be able to provide a close estimate of the total charges. For other matters, the estimate may be more uncertain, but we will explain how the charges will be determined.

Depending on the type of work required, legal fees are set by one of three methods (or sometimes a combination of these methods):

• Flat, or fixed, fees for preparation of specific documents or performance of clearly defined legal tasks.

• Fees based on the time required to perform the necessary legal work, known as "hourly fees." Our current time-based billing rate is $200/hour. Time is accrued in increments of 1/10 hour. This hourly rate is subject to change, and the rate in effect at the time services are performed for a client will be the applicable rate.

• Contingency fees, meaning that the fee for legal services is a percentage of the value of money and/or property recovered for the client. In such cases, if no money or property is recovered, no fee will be charged, but the client remains responsible for expenses paid by SLF on the client's behalf. With regard to contingent fees, we are required by Missouri Supreme Court rule to provide the following statement: WHEN LEGAL SERVICES ARE PROVIDED ON A CONTINGENT FEE BASIS, THE CLIENT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR COSTS AND EXPENSES.

Often it is possible to give a prospective client an estimate by telephone of approximate legal fees and expenses that would be charged for a particular matter, and we welcome calls at 573-442-7168 (442-SCOT). However, sometimes there are complicating factors in a prospective client's situation that may require an in-person consultation before an estimate of fees and expenses can be provided.

Expenses

Scott Law Firm's policy is that clients are always responsible for any expenses SLF incurs on their behalf — such as court filing fees, travel expenses, copying charges, and consultant’s fees — and that we will advise clients before large expenses are incurred.

Some types of expenses are billed at fixed rates. For example:

• Round-trip mileage is billed at the current IRS-approved mileage rate.

• Substantial photocopying jobs are billed at 10¢ per copy.

Sometimes our clients are responsible for paying particular expenses directly rather than reimbursing us after we have paid.

Billing Policies

All bills are due and payable in full upon receipt by the client. Bills are sent as follows:

• Matters handled on a flat fee basis are billed either upon completion of the specific tasks or on a monthly basis for regular clients.

• Time-based (hourly) fees usually are billed on a monthly basis, but in unusual circumstances we can make other arrangements.

• Fees in matters handled on a contingent basis are not due or billed until money or property is recovered for the client. However, sometimes a client may be billed earlier for expenses advanced.

For certain matters our policies require an advance payment, or payments, known as a "retainer," to be applied toward fees and/or expenses as they accrue.

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