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Understanding Attorneys' Fees

Attorneys are essential for conflict resolution. We all need them when the time comes, sometimes by choice and other times by necessity. However, not everyone has a go-to lawyer that they can call up anytime they have a run-in with the law or need legal advice for a civil matter. Most will have to contact an individual who they have never heard of or met before. This process can be very stressful, and there are likely many factors that you should consider before you commit to a certain counsel. One of the most important considerations is how their fees work. By knowing how most attorneys charge for their services, you can approach the search process with more confidence and certainty.

Lawyer fees usually come in three main forms. These include contingency, hourly, and fixed. The most simple of these is fixed fees. The professional will charge an amount that does not change based upon the service that you need. These services usually include very specific tasks that are generally predictable and common. Some examples may be performing a name-change, obtaining permission to travel to a foreign country, obtaining title to a property, gaining citizenship, or contesting a parking or speeding violation. This is very easy to understand and the best part is that there is no surprise for you. Some lawyers may also use a structured fee method. This may be used when the service that you need may become complicated due to a variety of issues. For example, for property title services, your property may have some sort of lien or other encumbrance on it, which requires the professional to perform additional research and work beyond a simple title conveyance.

The next format of fees is hourly. A lawyer will charge that fee for every hour of work that he or she actively spends on your case. Usually, the professional will provide you with an estimate of how many hours the work may take. If the hours are about to be exceeded, you are usually provided advance notice. The hours estimated can change depending on the development of the case. Also, certain attorneys may charge more for when they are in court, before a judge, or at mediation. The hourly charge may also occur for the time that the professional performs legal research, travels to the court, or prepares witnesses. Make sure you are clear about what will be considered hourly and what will not. If you are just getting a consultation, many lawyers may offer the first hour of a consultation as free. Take advantage of this.

The next main category of fees is contingency. This type of charge applies only to a limited set of circumstances, often for cases involving accidents where you are bringing the lawsuit. You and your lawyer usually agree to a set percentage of what he or she will receive if your case is successful. Under this structure, you usually have to pay nothing out of your pockets unless your case wins or you receive a favorable final judgment from a court. The idea is that the lawyer is taking the risks and fronting the costs for accepting the case, but will receive a higher payment if the case is successful.

Each of these billing methods have their own sets of pros and cons, so you need to determine what fits your situation and budget the best. This might require you to have different lawyers in mind for each type of legal situation.

When considering attorneys, Watertown, NY residents visit Stanley Law Offices. Learn more about this procedure at http://www.stanleylawoffices.com/

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