The type of fee arrangement that you make with your lawyer will have a significant impact on how much you will pay for the services.
Legal fees depend on several factors, including the amount of time spent on your problem; the lawyer's ability, experience, and reputation; the novelty and difficulty of the case; the results obtained; and costs involved.
There will be other factors such as the lawyer's overhead expenses that may effect the fee charged.
There are several common types of fee arrangements used by our lawyers:
- Consultation fee: The lawyer may charge a fixed or hourly fee for your first meeting where you both determine whether the lawyer can assist you. We shall not charge you for the initial meeting.
- Contingency fees: The lawyer's fee is based on a percentage of the amount awarded in the case. If you lose the case, the lawyer does not get a fee, but you will still have to pay expenses. Contingency fee percentages vary. This type of fee arrangement may be charged in personal injury cases, property damage cases, or other cases where a large amount of money is involved.
- Flat fees: A lawyer charges a specific, total fee. A flat fee is usually offered only if your case is relatively simple or routine such as a will or an uncontested divorce.
- Hourly rate: The lawyer will charge you for each hour that the lawyer works on your case. This is the most typical fee arrangement. Lawyers can charge different fees for different types of work (e.g. legal research versus a court appearance). In addition, lawyers have different fee scales i.e. more senior members charging higher fees than young associates or paralegals.
- Retainer fees: The lawyer is paid a set fee, based on the lawyer's hourly rate. A retainer is as a "down payment" against which future costs to be billed. The retainer is placed in a special account and the cost of services is deducted from that account as they accrue. A retainer fee can also mean that the lawyer is "on call" to handle your legal problems over a period of time.
- Statutory fee: The fees in some cases may be set by statute or a court may set and approve a fee that you pay.