How Much Does a Good Attorney Cost?

As with other purchases of professional services, clients often get what they pay for when it comes to legal representation. This can be different in personal injury cases, where attorneys’ fees are often a standard percentage of the compensation that is recovered for the client.

Typically, there are four types of fee arrangements with attorneys, and include:

  • Billable Hour. An attorney may choose to bill your case at an hourly rate. In this arrangement, you will receive a regular invoice, usually once a month, that details all the work done on the case by the attorney, multiplied by his hourly rate. The attorney may give you an estimate at the beginning of the case as to the expected cost. However, that is only an estimate. You are responsible for paying the actual cost, less any discount provided by the law firm.

  • Flat Fee. In this case, the attorney charges a set fee for standard legal services, that covers all services provided until your matter is resolved. These are common when a case does not have complicated factual or legal issues. However, if the circumstances of the case changes, then the arrangement may have to altered by agreement.

  • Contingency Fee. In these types of cases, the attorney earns a fee as a percentage of the amount he recovers for you. If no compensation is received through settlement or verdict, then you owe only the expenses generated, but no attorney fee. Contingency fee arrangements are very common in personal injury cases, including car accidents, workers compensation, wrongful death, motorcycle accident, slip and falls, and product liability claims.

  • Hybrid Fee: This is a combination of two or more of the above, and are often structured based on whether a trial is necessary. (e.g. An attorney may charge an hourly fee for work up to a trial, and a flat fee for the trial itself.)

While it may be stressful to think about paying an attorney’s fee out of pocket or out of an award compensation, you should expect the fees to be fair and reasonable. This is a professional relationship you are entering into, and you want the best possible legal representation. The cheapest attorney is rarely the best because they often do not have the experience to adequately handle complex cases. At the same time, the most expensive attorney is not always the best choice either. Your case may not require the level of expertise that a high-priced attorney commands. What you should expect from a good referral is an attorney whose fees match the level of expertise and competence that you genuinely need.

Research conducted by includes the structure and reasonableness of attorneys fees.

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