Just discussing legal fees can be a bit unnerving,
particularly for those who have no prior experience with legal counsel. If it
is a meritorious non criminal case, I do what I can to provide legal representation on some basis
the client can handle. We do accept credit cards.
There are generally three ways to handle legal fees: a fixed, flat fee for a particular service no
matter the time involved, a contingent fee where the fee is a percentage of the
recovery or finally work done on an hourly rate.
Preparation of simple
wills, organization of a small business, criminal defense of serious traffic
violations or criminal misdemeanors are the type of matters that are often
handled on the basis of a fixed fee.
Generally, this is paid in full at the beginning of the
representation. Depending on the
circumstances and the time constraints involved, payment plans are a
possibility and vary depending on the case and the individuals involved.
In contingent fee cases where a recovery of money is sought
in litigation, such as automobile accidents cases, some breach of contract
claims and some employment matters can be handled on the basis of a contingent
fee. This type of fee arrangement is
very common in automobile accident and other personal injury cases. Generally, payment of a legal fee is contingent
on recovering money from the responsible party and is usually based on a
percentage of the total recovery.
Depending on the size of the anticipated recovery and the difficulty and
time involved in the case, contingent fees can range from 20 to 50% of the
Third, legal representation can be provided on the basis of
an hourly rate for the time expended by the attorney working on the
matter. In many complicated matters
where it is virtually impossible to predict the amount of time required, a
reasonable hourly rate is often the solution.
Generally, payment of an initial deposit is required which is placed in
the attorney's trust account. As work is
performed each month, an itemized bill is provided the client reflecting the
amount of time and the work performed and money is then transferred from the
trust account to the attorney to pay that bill.
In all instances, the legal fee arrangement is reduced to
writing so that the client clearly understands how the representation will be
paid for and misunderstandings can be avoided.
I encourage all potential clients to address this important issue in a
frank manner recognizing that these discussions are strictly