When you need to hire an attorney, you may be fearful of the cost. It is a widely held belief that attorneys are always going to be a huge expense, and this can deter many from using their services.
If you need an attorney to represent you in a case or dispute, you can find a range of attorneys available at a range of prices. Choosing some attorneys around the middle price point might ensure the best balance between price and expertise.
Here are some tips on determining the reasonability of fees:
How do fees work?
When choosing an attorney, you don’t just want someone with a law degree. You need an attorney with special skills and qualifications related to the field of your case. If your case is related to a car accident, you need an attorney skilled in car accident claims.
Since different attorneys cater to different niches, you should know that there is no standard fee for an attorney. Your fees are calculated based on the lawyer’s reputation, the type of problem you face, and the average going rate for the same service.
However, if you are in an area where there are many lawyers, you can expect this rate to be lower as the market is more competitive.
It is important to remember that a cheap lawyer isn’t necessarily a bad lawyer, as much as an expensive lawyer isn’t necessarily a good one. However, often when you are hiring a lawyer at the lower end of the price spectrum, they might be inexperienced and could take longer to deal with the case.
Thus, paying $50 per hour for an inexperienced lawyer could end up costing you more than paying $100 per hour for an experienced lawyer.
Determining what is reasonable
Despite there being no fixed rate, there are ways to check if your lawyer’s fees are reasonable. If you want to be sure your lawyer’s fees are reasonable, hire a reputable lawyer from a reputable law firm from a directory like USAttorneys.com.
However, if you choose to take the route on your own, you can check the reasonability by some key standards. Did the lawyer do what you asked, and did the lawyer accomplish your goals, within reason? Were the services necessary, reasonable, and efficient? Did you receive fair value for the services performed? These are just a few of the items you can measure the reasonability against.
Furthermore, when hiring an attorney for any reason, the attorney should discuss fees upfront.
While they may not be able to provide a final cost, an experienced attorney will be able to estimate within reasonable accuracy, so that you can plan the appropriate budget. When you receive your bill, the fees should be broken down into detail so that you can understand what you are paying for.
Contingency fees can be very tempting. You may hear an attorney claim that if they don’t win your case, you do not pay the fee. This instills confidence in the mind of the client. After all, who would even agree to work for free?
However, you should be very careful about contingency agreements. The fee the lawyer claims will be a percentage of your winnings. This sounds fair, but the percentage that the lawyer charges will depend on how long it takes to win your case.
A case that is won before trial will fetch a lower percentage for the lawyer than a case that goes to trial since there is less time and fewer resources spent on this case.
This kind of fee is only favorable to you if the lawyer is taking a risk. For example, if it is not obvious who is at fault in a dispute, this kind of fee arrangement can benefit you.