Everything You Need to Know About Lawyer Fees

ADVERTISEMENT

The legal profession isn’t cheap – and the cost of hiring one even more so. In fact, many people are hesitant to hire lawyers to represent them, particularly if they feel like they aren’t going to be able to afford it in the long run. However, there are ways that you can minimize the cost and find lawyers that won’t break your bank account or take your financial future into debt for years to come. This article will cover everything you need to know about lawyer fees so that you can find attorneys that you can afford and work with them on your terms.

There are different kinds of lawyer fees


Many people don’t realize that there are different kinds of lawyer fees. It can be really confusing, and a little scary, when you’re looking at your legal bill.

How much do I need to pay?


This is something you’ll want to know from an early stage so that you don’t get into a position where you’re short of funds and are unable to pay your lawyer. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to fees – what your lawyer charges will depend on several factors, including their experience and specialisms.

For example, top QCs command higher fees than junior barristers in their firms.

Why am I billed at an hourly rate?


Why are lawyers not paid on a flat-fee basis? In short, it’s not an efficient or effective way for them to provide you with legal services. When a lawyer is paid by a flat fee, they have an incentive to work as slowly as possible, and that’s often not in your best interest.

Why am I billed on a contingency basis?


Some lawyers are compensated for their legal services on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t pay anything unless we recover money for you. If we don’t win, we don’t get paid.

ADVERTISEMENT

What is the retainer fee and why do lawyers charge it?


A retainer fee is a non-refundable sum of money that clients pay their lawyers in advance. It’s like a security deposit for legal services: If your case ends early or if you and your lawyer part ways before your case is finished, your lawyer won’t refund it. Retainers are typically charged on an hourly basis, but they can also be based on other time frames such as quarter-hour increments.

What will my legal fees cover?


The first thing you should ask when you’re looking for a lawyer is, What will my legal fees cover? Some lawyers work on contingency and others charge hourly.

A contingency fee is a payment that covers out-of-pocket expenses, including research and costs of court, as well as a percentage of any money awarded in your case.

Will my lawyer be available when I need him or her?


It is important that you have a clear understanding of what your lawyer will and will not do for you. The contract should clearly state how available your lawyer will be. What are his or her office hours? Is he or she willing to travel for meetings or consultations? Is there a charge if I contact him or her outside of those hours?

How can I keep my legal costs down?


Before you meet with a lawyer, find out how they charge and decide whether it fits within your budget. If a lawyer charges on an hourly basis, ask yourself: How much time will you realistically spend on your case? Do you have enough money set aside for potential legal fees? (Be realistic; no lawyer is going to work for free.) Will pay by the hour produce a fair fee for both parties involved? Remember that most attorneys will not start working on your case until they have an agreement regarding their fees.

Legal fees for military members and veterans


Even if you’re on active duty or have recently left, there may be several laws that help ensure you can get a fair deal when it comes to your legal fees. If you have any questions about legal fees, don’t hesitate to ask a lawyer. It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion before making such an important decision.