How do lawyers charge?
Most lawyers charge either on a contingency fee basis, an hourly basis, or on a set fee. The manner in which an attorney charges, will typically depend on the type of case at hand. Most personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee – which means they only get paid, if, and when – they are able to get you compensation. If the attorney loses the case, he or she doesn’t get paid. At the same time, obviously, you won’t get paid either – since no compensation was found.
In contrast, attorneys – like criminal lawyers, and divorce lawyers, charge either a flat fee, or charge on an hourly basis. Typically attorneys will charge either one or the other. In some rare cases, an attorney may charge on a blended approach. The #1 reason that drives an attorney to charge one way, or another, is the amount of work required.
For example, if an attorney is able to estimate, in a set amount of hours – the amount of work required, he may be open to offering a flat fee. In a flat fee approach, the attorney’s fees are capped. Typically, an attorney will say – he’ll handle your case to the end. Or, it’ll cover his time up to a certain stage (everything pre-trial). Obviously, if your case gets more complicated – in a flat fee arrangement, the attorney will be “losing” money – since his fees are capped.
In contrast, an hourly basis – is the complete opposite. In this situation, the attorney is able to continuously bill you. The more hours of work the attorney puts in, the higher the bill comes out to be. This is typical in situations where the attorney cannot estimate the amount of work required, or if the work is complicated. For example, in trial related situations – the attorney will typically ask for a per hour fee, because trials can be long, and drawn out things.
At the end of the day, you need to find an attorney who works for you. Typically, sole practitioner attorneys are more likely to negotiate, and be reasonable. Bigger law firms, have to charge more money to cover their operating costs and make a profit.
This guest blog post was written by Steve Raiser, a NYC divorce attorney. To learn more, visit his website at https://www.nycdivorcelawyers.com.