About Lawyer Fees
There is no doubt about it - lawyers can be expensive. But don't be discouraged by the big fees. Lawyers work with people just like you every day, and understand your financial situation. Here is some information you may not know about lawyer fees:
Retainer / Initial Payment
This is the amount a lawyer requires before they will begin work on your case.
Many lawyers accept credit card initial payments. Don't have the cash? Charge it.
Can't afford all the money right now? Lawyers may accept a payment plan. Call the lawyer and propose a payment schedule you can afford.
Most initial payments are refundable if the lawyer doesn't do the work. For example, if a lawyer only works 3 hours on your case, and your initial payment covered 10 hours, in most situations lawyers are required to refund your remaining monies. Speak to your lawyer about whether the initial payment is refundable.
Types of Fees
Hourly Fees - Lawyers will charge you this rate for every hour they personally work on your case. But do you really need a lawyer for every aspect of your case? Lawyers often hire paralegals or other legal assistants to do work in their office that doesn't require a formal legal education (e.g. getting documents, drafting letters, copying, etc.). Lawyers usually charge lower fees when these individuals do the work. Talk to the lawyer about different fee rates for each member of their office.
Flat Fees - Some clients prefer knowing from the start exactly how much their legal case will cost. For them, a flat fee is ideal. However, if you would prefer an hourly fee, give the lawyer a call. Most lawyers are willing to work with you either on an hourly or flat fee basis.
Contingency Fees - Lawyers will not charge you any money upfront for your case. Instead, they will get paid only if they recover money for you. The percentage (%) shown indicates how much the lawyer will receive if they win your case. Many lawyers show their percentage increasing as your case progresses. Just remember, you alone decide at what stage you want to settle your case or take it to trial.
If you have questions, CALL THE LAWYER. Most lawyers will offer an initial free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you might have about their fees.