Legal fees are something that can be rather vexing. Attorneys often have bizarre, guarded fee schedules which keep their clients in the dark
Legal fees are something that can be rather vexing. Attorneys often have bizarre, guarded fee schedules which keep their clients in the dark and help them pad their pockets. Also, attorneys are like other professionals: they charge for time. How they do so, however, varies immensely. So, before hiring any attorneys, (workers compensation lawyer, property lawyer, injury lawyer etc.) to represent you for any legal matter, it’s important to sit down with them and discuss legal fees. The following article will teach you how to approach this delicate subject.
Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the potential attorney. Also, be sure to mention that you want a non-billed consultation. This means that they won’t be charging you for their time spent in the meeting. If they refuse, find another attorney.
The first question you should ask is this: How are the attorney’s fee billed? Are the fees billed on a contingency basis, by the hour, or in a lump sum? If the legal fees are on a contingency basis, proceed to Step 3. If the legal fees are on an hourly basis, skip to Step 4. If the legal fees are paid in an upfront lump sum, skip to Step 5.
Contingency legal fees mean that the attorney only gets paid if they win your case. Ask the attorney what percentage the contingency is for. It should be between 25% and 50%. Obviously, the lower the percentage the better the deal. Also, ask if they require a retainer (upfront money for their services) and whether or not they bill for expenses. Now, skip to Step 6.
Hourly fees are pretty straightforward. Ask the attorney in which increments they bill their legal fees. In other words, if you talk to them for 5 minutes, do they bill you for 1/20th of an hour, 1/10th of an hour, ¼ of an hour, ½ of an hour, etc. The lower this increment is, the better bargain you’ll receive. Also, find out what their per hour rate is and whether or not they require a retainer (upfront money for their services). If it’s more than about $325 per hour then they are a fairly expensive attorney and probably aren’t worth that exorbitant amount. Now, skip to Step 6.
Lump sum legal fees are less common in the modern era. They indicate that the attorney in question will handle your entire case for this one payment. Ask if there are any other related fees, whatsoever, including for expenses. The amount of this lump sum will vary a great deal depending on the case and the attorney consulted. Now, continue on to Step 6.
The last thing you should do as your meeting with the attorney ends is request a copy of the representation agreement. Tell them that you’d like a few days to take this document home and review it. This agreement is a contract between you and the attorney which outlines their legal fee structure and policies. Do not sign this agreement without first reading it in whole.