You know that hiring a lawyer is going to cost you quite a bit of money – but how much? While we can’t determine exact numbers for you, we can give you some guidance as far as what is considered a legal fee – and how they might impact your investment. While this isn’t a complete overview, it serves as a good starting point. Don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer about additional fees you may encounter during your case. It’s your money – know where it is going!
Consultation Fee: Before you hire a lawyer, chances are they’ll ask you to sit down with them. This is to determine if he or she is a good match for you and vice versa. Often, a fee is attached to this initial meeting whether you hire them or not.
Hourly Rate: Most lawyers charge by the hour. Different lawyers may even have different fees for different areas of their practice. Find out what the hourly rate of a particular lawyer is and don’t hesitate to ask how many hours they estimate your case may take. If they’ve handled cases like yours before, they may be able to offer you more insight as to what you can expect.
Contingency Fee: This is the fee your lawyer is awarded if they win your case. If the case is lost, the lawyer does not secure this fee. Find out what you can expect to pay from your total to cover this – it’s usually a percentage.
Retainers: When you purchase a house, you usually provide a down payment. A retainer is similar in that it is an up front fee associated with your account. Your lawyer may ask for a retainer, which provides funds for future costs.
Referral Fee: This is a less common fee and one that you should be cautious of. Sometimes, if one lawyer refers you to another lawyer, they request a fee from you based upon the total you spent with the other lawyer on the case. The amount should be reasonable. Be sure to check out local laws regarding this particular fee as it may go against some ethical statutes.