How Much Does an Attorney Charge?

How Much Does an Attorney Charge?

One of the major concerns of people looking for legal assistance from an attorney is how much it will cost them. Usually, the fee charged by an attorney has a lot to do with the types of legal issues or cases they get to handle. In fact, there is no standard fee for an attorney and the service charges depend on where the client lives, how intricate the case is, the amount of research that needs to be done, the court fee, the attorney’s ability, experience and reputation.

In most civil cases, a lawyer usually follows one (or a combination) of the following fee structures:

Hourly Rate:

This is the most typical way for an attorney to document his billing. The attorney charges on an hourly basis for all the time they have spent working on preparing the documents, going through case files, presenting evidence in court or any work related to the client’s case. The hourly rate an attorney charges for will vary based on their qualifications, experience, location and their operating expenses.

Flat Fee:

Some lawyers charge a flat fee for specific types of legal matters that are usually simple and well-defined, such as uncontested divorce, wills and bankruptcy filings. If an attorney demands a flat fee, it is important to comprehend precisely what that fee will cover or not cover.

Retainer Fee:

Several lawyers demand a retainer fee, something that acts as a down payment and is usually based on the attorney’s hourly rate. During the course of legal action, the lawyer will deduct costs from the amount paid by the client and share a periodic invoice reflecting the deductions. Retainer fee is usually non-refundable, unless it is considered unreasonable by the court.

Contingency Fees:

In certain kinds of cases, lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. The attorney usually charges the victim a percentage of the compensation amount granted in a lawsuit or negotiated in the settlement. Attorneys follow contingency fee arrangements in cases where a large sum is at stake, which is typical in automobile accidents, medical malpractices or any other personal injury cases.

Statutory Fee:

In some states and jurisdictions, a court or a statute decides the amount a lawyer can charge for a certain service. This type of fee is usually charged in cases such as bankruptcy and probate, etc.

It is important to understand that during a legal proceeding, little expenses add up to a huge total cost ultimately. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, you must speak with your attorney regarding any miscellaneous costs that might come up during the proceedings. Irrespective of the fee arrangement an attorney follows, you must have it specified in writing. You must carefully read the document, and not shy away from seeking clarifications if something seems confusing or conflicting.