How Much Do Lawyers Cost? A Breakdown

*Collaborative post.

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According to the American Bar Association, there are currently 1,328,692 attorneys in the United States. This allows room for a wide diversity in experience and attorney fees.

When you are trying to determine “how much do lawyers cost?” be aware that the amount of attorney fees you pay depends on the details of the case and the type of case you have. Here is an overview of attorney fees in the United States that shows the different billing methods attorneys use. 

Hourly Rates

On a national average attorney fees run $100 to $600 per hour. Rates for a new attorney or one located in a small town are more likely to be in the lower range. An attorney with years of experience, a high success rate winning at trial, or in a large metropolitan area will likely have higher rates.

Flat Fees

Some attorneys bill on a flat fee basis. The attorney estimates the amount of time it will take to resolve your case and will charge you one flat fee rather than billing on an hourly basis.

To your advantage, if the case takes longer than the attorney estimates, get more than you paid for. If the case takes less time than the attorney estimates, the attorney makes a better profit.

Contingency Fees

In a contingency fee, the attorney only collects a fee if they win your case. The normal contingency rate is 33.3% of the award. This fee is common for lawsuits such as personal injury and workman’s comp. The attorney fees, expenses, and liens are paid first, and then the client receives the remaining funds.

Overview of Total Charges

In addition to the attorney fees you pay your lawyer for appearing in court, your billing may reflect additional items including;

  • Court filing fees
  • Travel time to court
  • Phone conversations with you or others pertaining to your case
  • Court appearances
  • Time spend conducting research
  • Time spent drafting complaints, motions, depositions, and correspondence
  • Reviewing discovery, correspondence, emails from you, opposing counsel, or anyone else pertaining to your case
  • Office expenses such as copy expenses, the printing of evidence photos, process server fees, etc.

If your lawyer has a legal assistant or paralegal performing work on your case, your bill may reflect those services at a lower rate.

Retainer Fee

This is an up-front payment you make to retain the attorney’s services. The attorney then holds this money in an IOLTA account and withdraws money as they earn it while working on your case. Your monthly billing statements will show the work the attorney has done and the balance remaining on your retainer.

Consultation Fee

A large majority of attorneys offer free consultations. They look over your paperwork, advise you on what they can do, and quote you a price to retain their services. There are some attorneys that charge for consultation appointments.

When scheduling a consultation appointment, inquire as to whether or not there is a fee and how much time you will have to meet with the attorney. One of the qualities to look for on how an attorney will handle your case is the courtesy and professionalism of their staff on the phone.

How Much Do Lawyers Cost?

Answering the question “how much do lawyers cost?” is difficult because every case is different. Each type of case and attorney preference combine to determine the billing method. The best course of action is to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.

They will advise you on the billing method for your case. If you decide to hire them will have you sign an attorney fee agreement. Make sure you understand your financial obligations prior to signing.

If you found this information helpful we invite you to check out more blogs for a wide variety of topics and information.   

 

 

Reasons to seek a lawyer

All of us like to believe that we know the answers. No matter what life throws at us, each of us operates on the solid belief that a mixture of our past experiences combined with what we know from watching our friends and loved ones get by each day (including what we’ve read about) will somehow provide a way out – no matter the maze, we’re ready for it. And that’s no bad thing. Independence means never having to wait for help. What’s not to love about independence.

Certain problems, however, are insurmountable without a little guidance. If you’ve found yourself in a  tricky legal situation, then speak to a lawyer – don’t act until you have done so. Why? Because people who are more prepared than you are trying to prove you wrong. The other side has done its homework – can you really risk turning up to a swimming lesson wearing a vest made of bricks? Best to come prepared, and that means following legal processes with someone who has experience in cases like yours.

 

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Driving offences

Do you know the answers to questions such as how much does a DUI attorney cost? Or who is liable in a multiple car pileup – is it the original driver to crash, or is it all other drivers in the pile up for not braking in time? Things can get hairy. Always speak to your lawyer regarding driving
offences.

Updating your will is a bigger grey area than you may think

There’s no great way to say this so I’m just going to get it out there – writing a will is only half the battle. If your estate comprises significant funds, properties, businesses, automobiles, jewellery, or even intellectual property or patents, don’t trick yourself into believing that your will is enough
to fend off the wolves upon your demise. Your wishes may not be upheld where a legal case can be made to the contrary. Do your legal research before it’s too late.

Divorce

As soon as divorce is mentioned, all bets are off. Don’t make the mistake of believing the other side will proceed with humility and respect. What begins with a concern over possessions, such as the ownership of a car or a dinner set or even the contents of a toolbox will spiral into a list of
demands that, if you’re not careful, will be backed up by emails, text messages, receipts and a whole host of other means of convincing the courts. Act early. Protect your interests.

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