Hiring a lawyer can be an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ll need to do your research and ask some important questions before hiring anyone. This blog post will provide you with some information on finding the right lawyer for your case!
Lawyers charge different rates for their services. Make sure you know what the lawyer can do for your money and how much you’ll need to invest to win your case. There are three basic types of attorney compensation arrangements:
This is a fee that the lawyer charges only if they win your case. If they lose, you don’t have to pay them anything. This type of arrangement can be beneficial for those who may not be able to afford to pay an hourly rate or a flat fee. If the matter will require significant time and effort and the possible amount recoverable is small, or if the attorney doesn’t believe the case is strong enough to win, they will probably not undertake the representation.
Sometimes attorneys will offer a modified contingency fee, meaning they will also charge you a lower hourly rate on a case with less probability of recovery or limited recovery amount. These types of arrangements may also be considered in cases where the recovery time may be longer than average. A modified contingency arrangement can sometimes convince an attorney to take a case they may not otherwise consider. Not all attorneys will offer a modified contingency arrangement.
The hourly rate an attorney may charge depends on several factors, including the type of case, the attorney’s experience, case complexity, and the general overhead of the attorney. If the attorney sees benefit in handling the case, whether that means the form of fee generation, potential client referrals, or publicity, the more likely the attorney will negotiate on the hourly rate.
Another important factor that impacts an attorney’s hourly rate is the potential risk to both the client and the attorney. If the case is high risk, such as exposure to liability, the hourly fee will likely be increased. Some risky cases include securities, estate planning, tax, and real estate matters. The attorney’s liability rates and staffing needs are often greater in these cases.
On the other end of the spectrum, criminal cases may have less serious complications for the attorney. Attorneys often have more discretion in criminal cases than other types of cases. Thus, liability for error can be more difficult to establish. This often results in lower hourly rates for criminal cases, though this is not always the case.
It’s important to understand how the hourly rate is calculated. Some attorneys charge for travel time to court or meetings. They may also set a minimum billing time for every task, whether that’s reading or answering an email, text message, or making/receiving a phone call or voicemail message.
The remaining standard type of arrangement is the flat fee. This fee arrangement is often used in criminal cases, incorporation, estate planning, drafting of wills, and bankruptcy cases. In a criminal case, the attorney will usually analyze the case and project the total cost of their representation. A portion of the full fee is then charged “up front.”
Often clients facing the horrific consequences of a criminal charge or bankruptcy want good representation and genuinely believe they can afford it. However, many of these cases never pay the remaining balance, so attorneys will attempt to get as much of the flat fee upfront.
In larger cases involving corporations, payment collection is not as much of a concern. These cases usually incur a substantial retainer at the outset and are then billed hourly for continued representation. In other types of standard representation, such as estate planning or corporation formation, the flat fee or some portion is collected when the attorney/client relationship is formed. The remaining balance is either billed monthly or at the time of completion.
Take some time after meeting with several lawyers before settling on one so that you make an informed choice about who will represent you. While you want to take time to make the right decision, keep in mind that many types of cases have statutes of limitation that limit the amount of time you have to file a claim in court.
At Saladino & Schaaf, we handle personal injury cases. Our firm and its predecessors have been helping personal injury victims get justice since 1984. We offer a free consultation where our attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case to help you determine the best next steps. We normally operate on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we win. If you have been injured in an accident, schedule your free consultation online today, or give us a call at 270-444-0406 (Paducah, KY) or 270-753-1529 (Murray, KY).
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm with offices in Paducah, KY and Murray, KY. We serve clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
This website is designed for general information purposes only. The information presented should not be construed as legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. The results and testimonials on this website are not an indication of future success. Every case is different, and each case must be evaluated on its own merit. No representations are made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
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