Don’t be intimidated; just put on your wet suit and flippers, hook on your snorkel and go for it. That’s the only way you’ll learn how. Make no mistake: getting a lawyer for whatever reason you have–personal injury, divorce, fraud, murder, theft, whatever–can be scary. The reason being is there’s no telling what kind of costs you’ll be looking at, except the knowledge that it’ll be pricey. For your comfort, though, here are some of the standard fees you might come across with attorneys:
- Consultation Fee:Some lawyers charge this, and some don’t. It’s basically an hourly or fixed rate on the very first meeting to determine your needs with an attorney.
- Contingency Fee: Even when lawyers lose, there has to be some gain out of it for all the work they’ve done. Typically lawyers get paid by a percentage of any given settlement in court; however, if the case doesn’t go in your favor, the ‘contingency fee’ still provides pay out of your pocket in the form of expenses, which is usually about 1/3 of the actual fee per settlement.
- Flat Fee: Relatively simple–it’s a full amount of payment regardless of what happens in court.
- Hourly Rate: Like the ‘flat fee,’ but only arranged after the case has been decided, it’s a total amount of earnings for the attorney based on hours worked.
- Referral Fee: A tricky fee involving a lawyer basically sending you to another lawyer, it’s an amount by the first lawyer requested by percentage of the full payment for the whole case.
- Retainer Fee: Think of this fee as a ‘down payment’ to retain the attorney’s services.
- Statutory Fee: Traditionally, it’s a fee set up by the court itself, not the lawyer.