About Legal Fees
Hourly rates are the most common type of fee. Today a 4150 hour is probably the lowest rate you will find.
They go up from there . . . $500 an hour is common. Know what your lawyer charges before you run up a bill.
Many lawyers also charge minimum units of time for every item.
If you send an email which the lawyer reads in 30 seconds, he may charge you his minimum time of say ten minutes or 15 minutes. That can add up to a huge amount.
Depending on a lawyer's experience and location,
an hourly rate can vary quite a bit. Cheaper might be better, but a more expensive and
experienced lawyer could very well handle your case faster and better. At the consultation,
remember to ask for an estimate of how many hours you can expect to pay for.
Flat fees are usually charged when the services being provided are more predictable. It is
important to ask the lawyer exactly what services and expenses are and are not covered in a flat
fee. CanLaw requires lawyers to explain these expenses when responding with a flat fee.
A contingent fee means the lawyer charges no fee but instead earns a percentage of the settlement
or judgment, if any is awarded. Contingent fees — typically one-third of the settlement or
judgment — can be negotiated. In some cases, contingent fees are prohibited.
Retainer fees are advanced payment based on an hourly rate. Clients put money into a special
account, and the lawyer deducts fees as services are completed. The client is responsible for
reviewing the account periodically. The client should be aware that the retainer fee is generally
refundable if not used by the lawyer.
A statutory fee is a fee set by law. Some legal work requires the court to set or approve the fee.
No matter which type of fee agreed upon between you and your lawyer, always obtain proof of
the agreement in writing.
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