When hiring an attorney, it is best to have a written agreement which includes the fees and a description of the legal services that will be provided. An attorney, like skilled Arlington TX lawyers, will have different types of agreements to fit different services or cases. The most common include hourly retainers, contingency agreements, and flat fee agreements.
Contingency Fee Agreements: This is a common agreement, especially in personal injury cases. This means there are no upfront charges for the client and the firm usually incurs any out of pocket expenses throughout the case. If your case is won, the attorney will take a percentage of the settlement or judgment. One third is the common percentage many attorneys have set. However, if the case is not won, then the client does not pay legal fees and the attorney does not get paid. A lot of work and hours go into a case without a guarantee of payment. For this reason, attorneys are very particular about which cases they can accept on a contingency fee. If an attorney accepts a case, then it is a good sign because it means they are confident in the outcome.
Hourly Retainers: Hourly retainers are used for most types of cases, especially when litigation or a dispute is involved. This includes family law cases, business litigation, probate cases, and civil disputes. The retainer fee is usually paid upfront before the attorney can begin working on your case. The retainer amount will most likely depend on the complexity of the case. The attorney’s hourly rate will be billed against the retainer. Some cases are long and unpredictable so you may even be asked to replenish your retainer throughout the case. You can also keep an attorney on a retainer for a long-term relationship. The retainer agreement should list the attorney’s hourly rates and the hourly rate of anyone who may be working on your case.
Flat Fee Agreements: There are some legal services that won’t require ongoing representation. For more simple matters, like filing a bankruptcy or incorporating a company, an attorney may have one flat fee rate. For these cases, the process is much simpler and faster.
Before signing any type of agreement, make sure you’ve taken the time to review it thoroughly. If there’s something in the attorney’s agreement that you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of what the fees will be and how their billing works.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into attorneys fees.