Many people automatically assume a legal service will cost them a ton of money. It's true that, depending on the circumstances, some legal services can become pricey. However, that's not normally the case. Understanding how some law offices charge will help you see whether you can afford the legal assistance you need.
Not All Legal Services Charge the Same Way
If a lawyer's estimate seems like way too much, then ask another lawyer. Not all legal services charge the same prices or even use the same types of pricing schemes. Consider how mechanics work. They all provide similar services, but they all charge in different ways for those services.
Some mechanics may specialize with one part of the car over another. Some may charge more for some things, where another mechanic may charge less, especially if servicing that particular part comes easy for him or her. Legal services work in much the same way.
Types of Fee Arrangements Legal Services Use
There are a few fee arrangements most legal services adhere to. Some of them offer multiple options depending on the situation.
Flat – The legal service will give you a specific dollar amount for a service. They usually do this when it's a simple service, such as putting together a will or filing legal paperwork for you.
Hourly – Some legal services charge an hourly rate. A lawyer can charge for each hour he or she spends on your case. That hourly rate can vary widely between different legal services. Experienced law offices will likely handle your case faster. So even if they charge more per hour, it can balance out.
Retainer – This fee arrangement allows you to pay a flat fee the legal service will bill against during your case. Note that retainer also refers to paying to have a legal service "on-call" for you.
Contingency – Paying on a contingency basis means the legal service will not take any money up front. Instead, they will take their payment as a percentage of the damages awarded in a lawsuit or settlement. If they lose the case, they don't receive anything.
Not all of these fee types take into account other things the legal service may charge for, such as consultation and filing fees. So no matter how the legal service charges, make sure you ask detailed questions about the process and what more money you may have to pay.
Lawyers and attorneys are typically also open to negotiation. Feel free to ask them to bend or break their own rules. See if they have any other options or payment arrangements that can benefit both you and them. Don't assume you cannot pay for the legal services you need. Ask for an estimate from attorneys like McKone & Unruh and see if it matches your expectations.