Types of Legal Fees
Hiring a lawyer can seem very confusing to those who do not have any experience with the legal profession. One question that many people forget to ask is how attorneys charge. There are three different ways that lawyers usually bill their clients: Contingency fees, flat fees, or hourly fees.
Contingency fees are usually limited to cases where you expect to win a financial reward. These include personal injury and workman’s compensation cases. With contingency fees, the lawyer does not take a fee up front, but instead will take a percentage of your award. This percentage varies, but a standard contingency fee is one third of the award. If you lose the case, then the attorney does not take a fee. However, you are often still responsible for expenses that the lawyer incurred in trying your case. These include court filing fees and witness fees.
Flat fees are used for routine matters. These include hiring a lawyer to draft a will, search for a real estate title, or to represent you for minor traffic offenses.
Lawyers charge an hourly rate for almost everything aside from personal injury cases and standard routine matters. The amount charged can vary greatly, and is partly determined by the complexity of your case, the attorney’s experience, and the average price in your community.
When you are hiring a lawyer, it is important to discuss what fees the lawyer charges during your initial consultation. Although many people find it uncomfortable to discuss fees, it is important that there is no confusion between you and your attorney on this topic. Learn more about legal fees in this series of articles: Top 20 Legal Tips from LegalMatch.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 07:33 AM PDT