Legal Fees - The Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
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For our client's convenience we accept all major credit cards via e-mail invoicing for payment of attorney's fees. If you wish to pay by credit card we can send you an electronic invoice to your regular e-mail address and you can pay any attorney's fees from any computer, anywhere. **Processing fees of 4% apply to all credit card transactions.**
General Statement Regarding Legal Fees:
Those facing litigation, no matter the form or type of case involved, often have a common question for any attorney they speak with, "how much will this cost"? This question, while it is a simple one, often becomes much more complicated than perhaps it should be. The practice of law allows attorneys, in most instances, to charge any fee associated with the work they conduct which is considered reasonable. Attorney's fees are often charged in accordance with one of the following methods:
- A percentage of the recovery gained by the client
- A flat fee for services
- By the hour
- A combination of two or more of the above methods
Relationships between attorneys and their clients are often damaged by the lack of understanding between each with regard to how much will be charged by the attorney. As such, we require a written fee agreement be signed by both the handling attorney and the client. Each fee agreement clearly spells out the fee that will be charged, how it will be calculated, when payments will be due, and how court costs or other costs will be paid. We firmly believe that by requiring this in each case, no matter how small, that each attorney/client relationship is enhanced and that the client is protected from any possible misunderstanding that could occur.
The "contingency fee" agreement and its benefit:
The "contingency" fee agreement is one of our preferred methods for calculating attorney's fees. The concept is simple, we don't get paid unless you do. Our collecting of a fee is entirely contingent on making a recovery for the client. This method allows for each client to receive proper legal representation with out regard to their financial condition or ability to pay any amount to their attorneys before the end of their case.
Under this type of agreement clients are only responsible for their court and litigation costs; however, under certain circumstances these amounts may also be advanced by our office and collected only after successful resolution of our client's case.
Fee agreements based upon a "flat fee":
The "flat fee" agreement is also one of our preferred methods for calculating attorney's fees. Under this type of agreement we quote a total fee up front for the handling of the entire case. The fee charged does not change based upon the number of hours required for the agreed work, no matter how long it takes.
This type of agreement allows each client the comfort of knowing exactly how much the handling of their case will cost. Additionally, depending on the amount charged, installment payments may be considered to lessen the up front expense charged for the services.
Overall attitude towards hourly fee agreements:
The attorney's fees and costs of litigation are often of major concern to those who are facing the reality of litigation and, for good reason, they should be. Many law firms often only consider taking a case when they know it will require many hours and where they can charge a hefty hourly rate. It is not uncommon to see hourly rates charged for legal services well in excess of $300.00 per hour for work performed on the client's behalf and even a higher rate for time spent when either in court for hearings or on trial. In addition to this some law firms charge extra rates associated with work conducted by their law clerks (oftentimes law students), paralegals and even legal secretaries.
The amount charged for each individual person can vary greatly. The one element that is common to each of these firms is that they receive a major benefit by taking extra time or steps in the pursuit of their client's litigation in order to receive a higher total fee for themselves. In our opinion this attitude is detrimental in most types of litigation and ultimately only causes clients to expend more time and money than is reasonably necessary to resolve the litigation.
For the above stated reasons, we prefer to avoid entering into hourly fee agreements with our clients. We tend to find that our clients are happier when they know exactly how much our services will cost and what they can expect. In addition to this they enjoy the prompt attention their case receives and comfort in the knowledge that we will not draw out their litigation to simply benefit ourselves.
When we do enter into hourly fee agreements:
Depending on the type of case involved, there is occasionally a "right" time to institute an hourly fee agreement. While there are other exceptions, we tend to find hourly fee agreements preferable when we continue working with a specific client over an extended period of time and with regard to a variety of legal issues.
For most cases involving an hourly fee agreement we charge a reduced rate of $250 per hour for each attorney and our time is billed in quarter hour increments. Additionally, we do not charge hourly rates while conducting routine office tasks such as copying.