Hiring an attorney can be an expensive endeavor. You should be prepared to consult with many lawyers before choosing the right one for your case. Often times, individuals try to save money by hiring the “cheapest” lawyer. However, you could end up paying for a poor decision in the long run. You need an attorney who has experience in your type of case. Then, you can decided what kind of pricing structure will work best. Here’s how to determine how much lawyers cost for your specific case.
Hourly Attorney Costs
Most simply, many attorneys charge hourly for their services. The hourly charges are counted for all activities related to your case, including research, documentation, representation, etc. These hourly rates can range from $100-$200 per hour to $500-$1000 per hour. The cost of an attorney’s hourly pay will come down to location, prestige and case complexity. Additionally, specialized cases could required a higher level of experience and higher hourly charges as well. While hourly costs are important, you should also consider the quality of representation you are choosing. Otherwise, you could end up paying more in the long run.
Flat Fee Services
Another attorney cost structure, flat fees are offered for certain legal cases or procedures. For example, certain attorneys charge a flat fee to setup limited liability companies, represent one day at a criminal court case or legal filings. Of course, the flat fee structure is great for simple and straightforward legal work. If you need representation for just one day or only a specific process, you might want to considering paying a flat fee for your legal attorney.
Lawyer Retainer Costs
A retainer is an advanced payment that the lawyer agrees to work toward on a case. You pay the retainer, a set amount. Then, the lawyer will deduct his charges from the amount over the course of the case. The retainer can represent the expected cost of the case, or the annual cost of the case. Additionally, this fee structure locks in a lawyer to work on your case for a specific period of time. If you need a business lawyer to work on longer cases, then you can certainly consider using a retainer for an established attorney.
Winning Contingency Payments
In the injury law industry, some firms offer a contingency pay structure. They will not charge you anything for a legal consul. You won’t have to pay anything upfront. More so, they will not ask for any costs while going to court. However, at the end of the case, they will take about 1/3 of the winnings. Thus, their payout or costs can substantially vary on a $100,000 case to $2,000,000 case. For example, if you get hurt in an accident caused by motorcycle defects, then attorneys know they can make money contingent on winning a case. Depending on your current financial situation, it might be the best decision to take on a lawyer who uses contingency charges.
Low-Cost Legal Services
In special situations, you might not be able to afford legal representation. In criminal, landlord-tenant or divorce cases, you should hire the best legal attorney that you can find. If not, contact the state’s bar association and explain their situation. They may give you the contact of newer, inexperienced lawyers who are looking for some cases. Although there is a greater risk to your case, it could be better than having no representation at all.
These are the many ways lawyers will charge you for their services, creating varying costs. You should try to use the best cost structure that suits your case, budget and probability of winning. In any case, pay only what you can afford when hiring a lawyer. Once you have made the cost structure clear, choose the attorney with most experience with similar cases.