What are Excessive Legal Fees?
Attorneys are prohibited by state bar associations from charging excessive or unconscionable legal fees. However, what is excessive? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. However, the American Bar Association (ABA) notes several factors to consider when weighing the reasonableness of a legal fee.
Some of these factors seem obvious. The complexity and novelty of the issue is obviously important in determining a legal fee. So is the experience and ability of the attorney. Also, the “going rate” always matters – what do other lawyers in the same area charge for similar legal issues?
Other factors the ABA considers might not seem quite as obvious, though. Is your lawyer able to work with other clients while working with you, or will your lawyer be working exclusively on your issue? Are there any strict time limits involved? Is there a prior working relationship between you and your lawyer?
Finally, the easiest way to determine to determine whether a legal fee is excessive is with simple “hindsight” vision. How happy are you with the results in light of the amount you paid? This does not necessarily mean whether you won your case, but was the legal work performed competently and efficiently? If not, you certainly should consider contacting your lawyer to raise your concerns, as it is possible that you may be able to come to an agreement. See the series of articles called: Top 20 Legal Tips from LegalMatch.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 07:35 AM PDT