Before you hire a lawyer, make sure they aren’t concealing any of these five things.
There’s a reason why hiring a lawyer is not like buying a toaster. A toaster won’t lie to you, and it doesn’t cost $250 just to go over the paperwork says William D King.
1) Lawyers charge by the hour.
A lot of people think that lawyers get paid per case or per time put into said case. That’s simply not true, although there are some law firms that do operate on that basis. The vast majority of firms charge for their time – usually by the hour – and don’t congratulate themselves on doing so – because most people hate it when they find out how much their lawyer charged them for a 15 minute phone call.
2) Hourly rates vary widely.
Lawyers can charge anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars per hour, depending on their experience and the type of law they practice. So if you’re considering hiring a lawyer that’s going to cost you more than your mortgage payment, ask what their hourly rate is. Then ask how much time they expect this case will take to resolve. And be sure to add in some padding: it doesn’t hurt to budget for unexpected issues and expenses (see #3 below). If you want an idea of what different levels of expertise or experience might run, check out pay scale. It lists salaries by profession and offers an average salary based on geographical location.
3) Lawyers don’t like surprises.
There are few things in the world of law that are more expensive than unforeseen items or events; they can easily tack thousands onto your legal expenses explains William D King. So make it clear to them what you’re expecting to be included in the final bill (see #5 below). If there’s something extra, find out whether it’ll be an additional charge or if it might affect the outcome of the case.
4) Your lawyer might not know what you don’t know.
You hired a lawyer because they’re supposed to know things you don’t, right? But sometimes what they think is relevant information isn’t actually helpful when it comes to winning your case. You need to tell your lawyer everything that might be relevant to your case, even if you think it’s trivial.
5) Your lawyer should advise you on next steps.
At the end of a legal process, your attorney will recommend whether or not you should accept the settlement offer from the other party or proceed with your case. If they don’t provide this advice, make sure you know what the possible outcomes are before making any decisions about how to move forward. Although these questions are usually presented in an FAQ format, they’re important enough to warrant their own list – especially considering that lawyers can cost well over $100/hour…and sometimes much more than $100/minute! Although there is no one size fits all answer for all potential cases, there are some important things to ask a lawyer before hiring them says William D King.
Do you charge by the hour or do you have a set rate? If they say “by the hour”, then you want to know how much experience they have, what their hourly rate is and if that hourly rate varies depending on whether it’s business or personal injury law. In most cases, it does not matter who is being sued or who is being accused because the work involved in both cases is usually similar.
How much experience do you have with this type of case?
Make sure your expectations match up with their level of expertise and don’t think you can get away with paying a low ball price just because you don’t have an extreme case. What are your fees? How much would this type of case typically cost me if you were representing me?
Are there any surprises that I should know about? Is there anything that can happen in my case that could lead to additional fees or expenses on my part? Will there be any cost associated with the resolution of my case, even if everything goes perfectly according to plan? Make sure your expectations match up with their level of expertise and don’t think you can get away. With paying a low ball price just because you don’t have an extreme case says William D King. What are your fees? How much would this type of case typically cost me if you were representing me?
Do your research, do not be afraid to ask probing questions and don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Lawyers are professionals. They have fees. They have hourly rates. If you are looking for a lawyer, check out the National Association of Personal Injury Lawyers first – they have great lawyers listed who give out free consultations.