Reasonable Lawyer Fees
Attorneys Fees: Reasonable and Standard
If you have a strong case with a likelihood of a lucrative outcome you’ll have a stronger bargaining position; however the fee you’ll pay in the end will depend on several factors. Below are the factors to take into consideration when determining if the fee you pay is reasonable and fair:
- The amount of time and the effort your lawyer has put into your case
- How difficult your case is
- What skills are required to properly perform the legal services
- What fees are normally charged in the same area for similar legal services by lawyers with similar skill, reputation and experience
- How large is the amount involved in the lawsuit and what are the results obtained (a factor if you’ve agreed to a contingency fee)
- Is the rate fixed or contingent
Is there Such a Thing as a “Standard” Attorney Fee?
All lawyer fees are negotiable, except when they are limited by law. Sometimes there might be a “going rate” that most, but not all, lawyers in a specific place charge for a certain type of job. Examples are, handling an eviction, preparing a living trust, doing a trademark search or filing a bankruptcy.
How Can I Reduce My Legal Fees?
Lawyers are expensive. These are some ways to keep your legal expenses down:
- Group your legal affairs together – you can save money if you consult with your lawyer on several matters at the same time
- Help out – with gathering documents yourself or other work that are routine tasks
- Read up about your legal area – and come prepared to your meetings
- Some tasks don’t need to be performed by lawyers – in simple matters, management consultants, brokers or independent paralegals can help you
What Can I Do if My Lawyer and I Have a Fee Dispute?
If you think your lawyer is charging you too much and you can’t reach an agreement, many state and local bar associations offer fee arbitration programs. They offer an out-of court forum to settle disputes that is usually cheaper than going to court. Both parties need to agree to see an arbitration lawyer or consent to mediation. In certain states arbitration is required for most fee disputes: Alaska, California, Maine, New Jersey, South Carolina and Wyoming.
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Last Modified: 01-27-2012 09:39 AM PST
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