Different Ways Lawyers Charge for Services

You may have various reasons for needing an attorney to help you. Examples of types of issues that you may need one for include criminal charges, personal injury, divorce, custody, and more. Different attorneys have different ways of charging their clients. The way your attorney charges you will depend on your situation. The following are examples of ways that lawyers might charge you for your services.


Some legal offices will provide services to you on a pre-payment basis. For example, you might pay a monthly fee or provide a lump sum and then have access to their services. You may be entitled to receive advice about a legal matter or information on how to proceed with a family law case. In some cases, the attorney might file paperwork for you. Several companies exist that offer these pre-payment services. You might prefer to obtain these services just in case you have a legal issue in the future.


Some law offices charge their clients a flat rate to perform a specific task. For example, the client may need the attorney to simply file divorce papers or a request for a restraining order. They may need the attorney to add a name to their last will and testament. They may need the attorney to deliver papers to another person. In that case, the attorney will quote the person a flat rate. The individual will pay the flat rate, and then the attorney will do the job that he or she promised the client.


Some attorneys charge an hourly rate, and the amount of money the client spends depends on the amount of work the attorney has to do. This type of payment structure can be extremely costly to the client if the attorney gets tied up in court or must conduct additional research to get a better position in the case. The hourly rate can vary extensively based upon the location and the attorney’s experience level. The range can vary from $50 an hour to several thousand dollars per hour. This structure is most common in white-collar cases.

Pro Bono

Some lawyers believe in helping people for the common good. In this case, they offer their services for no charge at all to the client. Pro Bono services are usually provided by attorneys who are just starting out in the field. It’s a way of paying their dues and showing the community that they care.

Contingency Payment

A contingency payment is common in cases that involve personal injury or the denial of a benefit such as social security or workers’ compensation. The attorney agrees not to charge the client any money until the attorney wins that person’s case. If the attorney wins the case, he or she will deduct fees from the settlement. Lawyers usually charge a percentage that can vary from 25 percent to 40 percent of the client’s settlement. Attorneys do this as a way to alleviate stress for people who are recovering from automobile accidents. An Oakland personal injury attorney is likely to offer this type of payment structure.

Retainer Plus Additional Payments

In some cases, the attorney requires the client to pay a retainer. The retainer may be $250 or $1,000. That retainer pays for the attorney to begin the work. The attorney will then charge additional monies when the retainer has expired, and more tasks need to be done.

Those are a few ways a lawyer may charge you for providing services to you. Now you can prepare yourself for when you have a consultation to attend. Don’t be afraid to set up a meeting and talk to the attorney about your payment options.

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