How much do I owe my lawyer?

In some cases, it can be difficult to approximate exactly how much a lawyer will cost hire. Since varying factors can affect the amount of time a lawyer must dedicate to your case, you end up surprised at the bill you receive when it’s all over.

To keep from over-paying your attorney, it's important to keep these in mind.

How lawyers charge clients

Before you begin working with your lawyer, you should be clear about the way in which you will be charged. Different services and practices may have different rules about how payment works.

For example, an Estate Planning lawyer may charge a flat rate to make certain changes to your will. However, a Family Law attorney could give you an hourly rate and charge you depending on the time he or she spends working with you to make negotiations and filing the paperwork.

It’s also important to remember that many lawyers have a retention fee and may even charge you for an initial consultation. Always make sure to get these costs up front before the lawyer offers you any legal advice.

Read the fine print

When you agree to work with your lawyer, you’ll likely be given a contract agreement. As simple as it sounds, it’s important that you read the entire agreement before signing. If you have any questions about the costs, be sure to ask.

It’s not uncommon for a lawyer to be unsure about how much your case will cost in the end, especially if a winning case will mean another party covers attorney fees. However, you can still ask your attorney for an average or estimation based on past clients and the factors of your case. This can help set your expectations.

Pay for what you deserve

If you lose your case because your lawyer has acted negligently or maliciously, you do not need to pay the attorney. Instead, you may choose to accuse the lawyer of committing legal malpractice.

This can give you a fairer shot at your original case and dismiss the attorney’s fees, if successful. If you believe your lawyer may not have treated your case properly, learn more about the conditions of legal malpractice and how to take action.

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