How Do I Pay My Lawyer?
There are basically three ways that you can pay your attorney for representing you:
1. Flat fee
2. Hourly rate fee
If you pay a flat fee, you pay a fixed amount for the services performed by the attorney. The amount of the fee does not change based on the amount of time the attorney spends on the matter. Examples of cases where an attorney might charge a flat rate include drafting certain documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc. An attorney may also charge a flat fee to handle a criminal case or divorce case.
If you pay an hourly rate, the attorney charges you a certain amount for each hour (or other increment of time) she spends on your case. Sometimes the attorney will require a retainer up front and will then bill against the retainer. The retainer is basically a deposit into a trust account. The attorney has to keep track of the amount of time he spends on your case and then bills for it. If all of the initial retainer is not used, then you would be entitled to a refund.
If you pay a contingency fee, you pay a fee based on a percentage of an amount due to you in a settlement of verdict. In the case of a contingency fee, you pay nothing unless you win your case and get money awarded to you. In a flat fee or hourly fee contract, you pay no matter what the outcome is. In a contingency fee, you and the attorney share the risk of whether you win your case. The advantages of a contingency fee are that you do not have to pay up front and do not have to pay anything unless you win. Most of the time, you will have a contingency fee in personal injury, worker’s compensation, and other types of tort cases. Most states, including Alabama, do not allow contingency fees in divorce or criminal cases.
There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of fee agreements. Some fee agreements work better with certain types of cases than others. Most injured people cannot afford to pay a huge fee up front to try to collect money from a powerful corporation or insurance company. A contingency fee helps level the playing field by allowing an individual to get an attorney to ensure that his rights are protected.
If you would like more information, please visit my website at www.turner-miller.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.