Estimating the cost of legal fees can be challenging. A variety of factors including the type of case, the length of the case, and the resolution of the case can all impact how much you end up having to pay your attorney.
What’s worse, if you’re being sued or charged in a criminal case, you may not have much control over the legal case. In these situations, you may be willing to do whatever is necessary to produce a favorable outcome, only to be hit with hefty fees at the end of the case.
Luckily, we’re here to help. This guide will help you understand how legal fees work so you can make more informed decisions when hiring an attorney.
Consultation Legal Fees
A consultation fee is what you pay for on your first meeting with a lawyer, where they initially go over your case. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate for a consultation, while others may have a flat fee.
Some law firms offer consultations at no cost. This is something to keep in mind if you would like to meet with a few attorneys before choosing one.
Hourly rates tend to be the most affordable. That said, these fees can add up if a case turns out to be more involved than originally thought, which can make them unpredictable.
Hourly rates for lawyers can vary widely, depending on where you live and what kind of law firm you work with. For instance, while small firms often have hourly rates around $300 per hour, a large firm may have fees upwards of $700 per hour. In other cases, a firm may charge different hourly rates if different professionals within the firm are working on your case.
Additionally, the type of case you are hiring an attorney for will often affect the hourly rate. For instance, criminal cases typically involve lower rates than civil suits do. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as criminal cases involving tax evasion or white-collar crime.
Contingency fees typically only apply to civil suits. In these cases, the individual does not pay any money to the attorney upfront. Instead, the amount the attorney is paid is based on the settlement achieved from the case.
Typically, lawyers take a contingency of 1/3 the award amount if a settlement is won. In most cases, if you do not win, you will not have to pay any fee to the lawyer at all.
A retainer is a down payment an individual can give to an attorney to cover future bills. Many large companies or individuals who are at risk for litigation keep lawyers on retainer so they are ready to respond if they are sued.
Learn More About Legal Fees Today
With the help of this guide, you will be able to better understand the costs of legal representation.
Still have more questions? Contact us today to speak with one of our seasoned attorneys who can help you with the specifics of your case.