|Before agreeing to have a particular lawyer
represent you, be sure you understand
the lawyer you hire will bill you:
- Hourly billing is the most common method.
This, unfortunately, provides no incentive
for the lawyer to work quickly and efficiently.
Note that one who works fast and charges
more per hour actually may cost you less
than one who bills less per hour but who
bills you for more hours. To make things
even more complicated, there is no necessary
relationship between the quality of a lawyer's
services and either his hourly fee or the
actual number of hours he requires to perform
a given task. Also, lawyers may employee
paralegal assistants and other lawyers in
(and out of) the firm. Make sure you understand
how this will affect your bill.
- A flat fee sometimes is charged for drawing
up certain common legal documents,
- Contingent fees are a way of paying for lawsuits
that seek monetary damages. The lawyer
to take a prearranged portion of
(usually 1/3) if the suit is successful,
and nothing if it is not. In return
the risk of going unpaid if the suit
the lawyer normally stands to earn
successful than he would receive
his customary hourly fee. Read the
- Often times, the lawyer will still bill you
for other expenses (travel, secretarial/clerical
mail, etc.) regardless of the outcome of
- Make sure you understand your obligations
to support the case, including devoting time
and travel you may have to do until the case
is ultimately resolved.
- Finally, make sure you know what your options
are to pull out of case if you are not satisfied
with your lawyer's handling of it.