Litigation can be an intimidating prospect. The court system can be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with it. There are several procedural rules and time limits that you must follow. Litigation can also be expensive. There are a number of different kinds of fee agreements, depending on your situation. Do not let the fear of legal costs keep you from consulting an experienced lawyer.

Here is a terminology breakdown that may help to better understand some of the various fee agreements:

Hourly Fees with Retainer

Probably the most common attorney’s fee agreement involves an hourly rate. The attorney is paid a set amount per hour of work and usually tracks time in tenths of an hour. The amount billed per hour varies greatly depending on a person’s experience, expertise, and qualifications. It also may depend on the size and complexity of the case involved.

A retainer is a set amount paid in advance for legal fees. The amount is held in a trust fund. As you incur legal bills, the lawyer withdraws the amount owed from the prepaid retainer. If you fire the lawyer or settle the case and there is still money left from the retainer, the lawyer must return it to you.

Contingency Fees

In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer accepts a percentage of the final recovery for his fee rather than a set hourly amount. The lawyer usually assumes the risk of losing – meaning if there is no recovery, the attorney does not get any fees. The percentage for the contingency fee may vary from 20% to 40%. Often the percentage is dependent on when the case resolves, reflecting the amount of work the attorney has to put in to resolve the case. Whether an attorney will accept a case on contingency depends significantly on the level of risk involved and likely recovery. Usually, only personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. Learn more about contingency fees.

Flexible Fee Structures

There is no question that litigation can be very expensive. That is why it is crucial to find an attorney you trust to keep your goals and budget in mind. As an experienced lawyer, I will work with you to find a litigation strategy and budget that fit your needs. You do not have to sacrifice quality representation.

Learn more about attorney’s fees.