Fee Agreements

Lawyers have a number of potential fee arrangements with clients. The two most common are the contingency fee and the hourly fee. With a contingency fee, the lawyer only gets paid if and when the case is settled and funds are received. If the case is on an hourly basis, the client receives a monthly bill and must pay legal fees based upon the time involved.

In either case, the client is liable for costs incurred by the lawyer. These include filing fees, money paid to court reporters, and the costs of obtaining expert witnesses. Even if a client loses a case on a contingency fee basis, the client is responsible for these costs. Many lawyers bill out these costs to the client as they are incurred.

If a client is being sued, the only practical fee arrangement is hiring a lawyer on an hourly basis. Rarely can a party that is being sued recover money spent on legal fees from the suing party. When a lawyer is defending a client, his/her job should be to try and resolve the case as quickly as possible in order to keep the client’s bill as low as possible.