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About Us

Experienced Mt. Vernon, Illinois Attorneys

Serving you with more than 60 years of combined experience

Established in 1996, Shaw & Martin, P.C. is committed to delivering client service you can trust. Much of our business comes by referral from other lawyers as well as from our existing clients.

Our firm is qualified to represent clients in the Circuit and Appellate Courts of Illinois and the Illinois Supreme Court.  We practice before the Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts in Illinois, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

We are dedicated legal professionals who work hard to provide you with creative and strategic solutions for your legal matters. Our partners, attorneys Robert E. Shaw and Curtis W. Martin, bring more than 60 years of combined experience to every case.  We work as a team, utilizing our paralegal and legal secretaries to  draft pleadings, conduct research, and prepare for trial,  which saves fees for our clients.

A Business and Family Practice Law Firm


The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct require that "A lawyer’s fee shall be reasonable."( RPC RULE1.5 ) lists the factors which the Illinois Supreme Court has found to be relevant in determining the reasonableness of an attorney’s fee.   These include the time involved and the difficulty of the issue, the experience of the attorney, the results obtained and the fees customarily charged in the locality, for similar legal services.

In addition to charging only reasonable fees a lawyer has a legal duty to provide "competent representation" (RPC RULE 1.1) and to explain matters sufficiently "to permit the client to make informed decisions." (RPC RULE 1.4)

We strive to meet these requirements in three ways. First, we limit our practice to those areas of law in which we feel we have competence. If a client needs assistance in an area beyond our expertise we will either associate with other professionals having the relevant knowledge and experience or refer the client to other competent counsel.

Second, we provide an initial 30 minute consultation without charge. This enables us to learn at the outset the client’s expectations in retaining our firm for the particular matter involved.  We can explain the legal and financial considerations likely to arise and both parties can then make an "informed decision" whether or not to proceed further.

Third, if there is mutual agreement to retain our firm, we document in writing the scope of the representation, the fee basis (either TASK BASED or HOURLY) and any special requirements of the project.

We recognize that most of the time the person who approves payment of our fees is either spending his own money or is directly accountable for his or her company’s profitability. We want our clients to feel that they are receiving value for the dollars expended.  For that reason our monthly invoices contain the same level of detail we would expect to present if the case were one that required court approval of attorneys fees.

 Shaw & Martin, P.C. Task Based Charges

Task Based Charges are designed to add a measure of predictability to legal costs and to free us and our clients from "watching the clock" whenever possible. We believe our clients are better served, for example, if they know in advance that every Reaffirmation Agreement will cost the same per loan irrespective of the number of phone calls, faxes, or e-mails it takes to get it documented and filed. The same would be true for many other types of repetitive or transactional work.

Thus our Task Based charges will include all research, communication and correspondence needed to prepare, review and transmit or file the initial documents or pleadings. Out of pocket expenses are extra as are fees for court appearances, research, and other work in responding to objections or other contested matters in litigation.

Shaw & Martin, P.C. Hourly Charges

For contested matters and other work not covered by Task Based Charges hourly rates apply. Current rates range from $200 to $250 per hour for attorneys. Matters requiring paralegal assistance are billed at $90 per hour. 

Contingency Fees

Occasionally, our office partners with other law firms that utilize a contingency fee bases, such as a personal injury or wrongful death case.


We use a "pass through" rather than a "profit center" approach to the billing of client expenses where possible. Data base charges for electronic research are billed at actual cost as are all costs advanced for filing, service, recording, transcription and related items. Postage, photocopies and faxes are billed at cost and mileage is at the IRS allowed rate.