A lawyer might charge a fixed fee or an hourly fee for the first meeting when you both decide whether the lawyer can help you with your case. Check to see if you will be charged for this initial meeting.

What Is a Referral Fee?

Sometimes when an attorney has accepted your case he or she might refer you to another attorney who is more experienced with your particular case. When this happens, your first attorney sometimes asks for a portion of the total fee. The practice of charging referral fees is prohibited in certain states unless the first attorney did some work, the client knew about the arrangement and the total fee is reasonable.

Should the Fee Agreement Be in Writing?

Yes, regardless of the fee you agree upon with your attorney, always obtain proof of the agreement and its specifics in writing. If you feel your attorney has breached his agreement with you he may be guilty of attorney malpractice.