Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don’t Rush When Signing Written Fee Agreements

Searching for a lawyer to represent your case is one of the hardest endeavors to embark upon since your only bases for lawyer’s competence are testimonials of previous clients whom you do not know personally. Then after you have searched and chosen your lawyer comes the legal fees. The legal fees require for written a fee agreement containing the terms and conditions of the lawyer’s would-be services as well as the fees for the whole duration of your case.

The written fee agreement is very important since this will serve as your reference for any future violations that your lawyer may commit. However, make sure also that you understand everything that is written in your fee agreement. Tell your lawyer to craft the agreement in the form that you can truly understand and if possible ask your lawyer to use not so technical terms that most of the time only lawyers understand. Remember that the agreement you are to sign will bind you and your lawyer so be sure that you double check every miniscule detail of the agreement. You are doing this not because you distrust your lawyer but more of doing this to protect your rights as client.

The fees will depends on what you and your lawyer agreed on. There are hourly fees, fixed fees and contingency fees. The hourly fees as the word implies would require you to pay your lawyer in an hourly rate. Most law firms have their own hourly rate fee schedule so as a client you ought to ask from your lawyer a copy. The hourly rate must also be stated in the written fee agreement likewise other possible expenses should also be included.

Most lawyers who are paid hourly rates usually request for a retainer fee that functions more of like a deposit. Clients are to deposit the retainer fee in the attorney’s trust fund. The retainer fee is paid in order to make sure that your lawyer will always be available for court hearings however you should always make sure that you don’t signed up for a non-refundable retaining fee agreement likewise ensure that any withdrawal from the trust fund would require an approval from you to also protect your interest.

A fixed fee or flat fee would depend on your lawyer, how much will he charge you for his services. The flat fee will only pay for the legal functions of the lawyer like representing you in court and then during the litigation process however other charges incidental to the case will be shouldered by you, the client.

Contingency fees are usually paid at the conclusion of the case. Most of the lawyers that accept contingency fees are high caliber lawyers that have reputable track records of winning cases. The contingency fees are to be based on the recovered amount out from the case filed. Usually between 33% and 40% is the lawyer’s percentage but then again this is not always followed. The type of your case is another determining factor as to the percentage of contingency fee your lawyer may recover from you.

Lastly, be very careful when signing fee agreements, always make use of sound judgment and then determine whether you have ample trust in your chosen lawyer. Likewise, ask yourself whether you and your lawyer have the same understanding with regards to the inclusions in the fee agreement. Because if you have different views and explanations that is a sign that you have to think twice before signing the agreement or more hiring the lawyer.

This blog article is created by Los Angeles Attorney Legal Services to provide additional information on the subject of contingency fees. The firm upholds professionalism in their service that is why it is important for them that their clients are well informed with regards to agreements that would be signed by them.