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Be Smart About Legal Fees

Kinds Of Fees Billings

Base Costs

Lawyers charge for their services in many different ways. Law firms, big and small, must generate income in order to maintain the viability of their businesses. Usually, the manner in which lawyers charge for their service is in the base-plus- fee format.base prices for legal services are either charged at a flat rate or hourly rate. Flat rates and hourly rates apply to all legal services that range from legal advice to litigation. Lawyers may even charge hourly rates or flat rates for drafting legal documents for a client. Hourly rates are more common than flat rates. Hourly rates range from $50/hr to $1,000/hr. Hourly rates are calculated based on the amount of time a lawyer spends on a client's case or the time elapsed between the initiation of legal services until the conclusion of the client's case.

Many lawyers are willing to charge competitive flat rates for their services. Flat rates are not calculated in proportion to time. Flat rates are a one time charge for legal services.

Legal Services Fees

Lawyers also charge fees, in addition to their base price. The most common fee in legal services involving litigation is the contingency fee. Contingency fees directly apply to the outcome of a civil or criminal trial. The fees are usually applicable to outcomes of trials that are favorable to the advocate's client. Contingency fees are most often based on a percentage of the winnings or cost of legal remedy.

Contingency fees may also be arbitrarily derived but the percentage scheme is considered the fairest form of charging fees for legal services. Client's are not obligated to pay contingency fees if the outcome of the trial does not yield any legal recovery.

Retainer fees are yet another common fee attorneys charge their clients. Retainer fees are like a down payment on the lawyer's services. The idea behind charging a retainer fee is to solidify the relationship between the advocate and his or her client. Clients are more likely to return for a lawyer's services if they have already invested money; the client's investment solidifies the obligatory bond between the lawyer and the client.

Factors Contributing to the Cost of Legal Services

Geographic location

As in most services industries, cost of services depend on the typical price of a market. Prices depend on the location of the lawyer's office. Typically, urban lawyers charge more than their rural counterparts. Price depends on what a given market would allow. Prices are somewhat based on competition


Lawyer's who are experienced in a particular field of law or are famous in their field, generally charge more for their services.

Case Difficulty

No two cases are the same and vary in difficulty. More time is generally spent on more difficult cases, so lawyers charge accordingly.


This is the main factor explaining why urban lawyers charge more than rural lawyers. Lawyers have to pay rent too, real estate, and utility costs are generally higher in cities than they are in the countryside.

Preferred Client Discount

Lawyers are businessmen as well as legal representatives. Clients that display loyalty to a lawyer by giving referrals and returning for future legal services can lead to discounted costs.

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