If you are in the market for a lawyer, you have probably already noticed one thing that tends to vary between each: their fees. Not only do lawyers’ fees vary in range, but they can also vary in how the clients are actually billed.
Different lawyers’ even tend to bill their clients different, because how clients’ are billed is usually dependent on the type of job being performed. Below, we are going to go over how criminal law fees work, for any of you who have run into trouble with the law and are currently looking to hire a criminal lawyer.
How Lawyer’s Calculate Their Fees and Bill Clients
There are three main ways in which lawyers will calculate and bill out their fees: hourly rates, flat rates, and contingency fees.
1. Hourly Rates
Some lawyers’ work with an hourly rate – these hourly rates are typically set by the lawyers, as there is no “official” hourly rate that has been dictated by any associations or societies. Usually these rates are decided based on the lawyer’s years of experience, reputation, the common rate in the marketplace, the complexity of the legal matter being worked on, and business expenses.
This type of billing is most common in instances when the lawyer cannot predetermine exactly how much time the case will take. The lawyer will keep track of the time they have spent on and bill each client accordingly.
2. Flat Rates
Flat rates are most common for specific tasks. Tasks where the lawyer knows how much time and effort will be involved in completing said task, rather than for case lawsuits, for example, where it is impossible to predetermine how long the job will take. Examples of tasks that are charged flat rates can include: business incorporations, preparation of a Will, or completing a real estate transaction.
Additionally, certain flat rate fees may be calculated according to the overall value of the job done, Ie: a percentage of the value of the house you’ve bought or sold.
3. Contingency Fees
The third and final style of fees that lawyers use is contingency fees. Contingency fees are a type of fee that is directly correlated to either the success or failure of the lawsuit or other transaction being carried out.
Most commonly, if you and your lawyer are successful in your court case, your lawyer will receive a payment calculated as a percentage of the monetary reparations you are rewarded in court. Oppositely, if your case fails, your lawyer will receive a pre-agreed upon flat rate, or, in some cases, nothing at all.
4. The One-Off’s
Of course, there are certain circumstances where lawyers’ will use a combination of these three types of fees to bill their clients. These are usually called “blended” fees. Most commonly these blended fees will consist of a flat rate for a specific portion of a job and an hourly rate for the rest, or an hourly or fixed rate for one portion and a subsequent contingency fee depending on the results of the case.
Know Before You Go
It’s quite common knowledge that legal fees are not exactly cheap – before hiring any lawyer, ensure that you have thoroughly discussed the fees the lawyer charges, the style of billing technique the lawyer uses, and be sure to ask of any additional fees that may pop up throughout the process.