Choosing the Right Lawyer: Fees and Payment Options

When you consult with your lawyer, ask to see what fees and charges you will be responsible for. The California State Bar requires every lawyer to explain all of their fees, whether it is before or within a reasonable amount of time after he/she starts to represent you. Be sure you understand all of the fees and costs that may incur on your case.

There are a few different types of payment arrangements you can make with your lawyer. Berglund & Johnson operates on a contingency fee (“no recovery, no fee”) basis. This means that our clients can have their legal needs met without paying for an attorney’s time on an hourly basis. Berglund & Johnson will collect their fee as a portion of the settlement and, in most cases, costs incurred in pursuing the case will be paid out of the settlement upon conclusion of the case. If there is no recovery, there are no fees.

You can also pay a flat fee for your lawyer’s services. Many lawyers charge a flat fee for simple, straightforward cases, such as bankruptcy filings or uncontested divorce matters. Make sure you understand all that is included in the flat fee.

Some lawyers charge an hourly rate for the time worked on your case. Hourly rates will vary according to your lawyer’s expertise and experience. Although more experienced lawyers will most likely charge a higher rate, they may complete your case more quickly. Ask for a written estimate on the number of hours that will likely be required to complete your case.

A retainer fee is when you are asked to pay a fee up front. The lawyer can then use this deposit as a down payment for expenses and fees during the case. Be sure to review “your account” in order to see how your money is being used.

If you aren’t satisfied with the way your lawyer has worked on your case, you have the right to fire him or her at any time. As said in Choosing the Right Lawyer: Part 1, if you have already retained a lawyer for a Personal Injury case and are dissatisfied with its progress, Berglund & Johnson will take care of you and respond to your concerns. If you choose to change attorneys and retain Berglund & Johnson, you will not incur any additional attorney fees. Your prior attorney will be compensated for the work he/she has done out of the Berglund & Johnson standard contingency fees. In other words, it will not cost you any more in attorney fees to change lawyers and retain Berglund & Johnson.

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