To provide transparency in working with attorneys, our second post in our five-part blog services discusses the cost of legal services. The cost can depend on a number of factors, including the type of service, individual details of the case, and how events develop. Below are three questions to ask your attorney to help ensure you understand the cost of services and how you will be charged.
Is there a charge for a consultation?
Finding the attorney who is right for you and the service you need is important. A consultation can help you find the attorney who provides the services you need. Some provide a free consultation and others charge. Some may offer the first 30 minutes free then charge for time above that. Make sure you know the cost, and then make the most of the consultation by being prepared. Organize documents to minimize the follow up required to provide the attorney with the necessary information to understand your case and best represent you.
How are services invoiced?
Attorneys are paid for providing their time, knowledge, and services. The method used to charge for services may vary as a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or a contingency fee arrangement. The fee may be fixed writing a simple will, but the charge may be an hourly rate for a probate service that involves the administration of a will. Once you identify the scope of the legal help you need, clarify the terms of that agreement so you understand the fee agreement and the terms of payment and representation. There may sometimes be other expenses related to research or if there are changes in the scope of work. The more background information you can provide in terms of details, documents and updates will help you establish an accurate estimate for costs while also maintaining the most effective partnership with your attorney.
How are changes in costs communicated?
A case can become more complicated based on new information or developments. In these cases, costs may change. A divorce settlement that was expected to be amicable can become more difficult if those involved fail to agree or stop cooperating. Your attorney can outline changes that might be expected and how likely those may be to provide a range of costs and what is and is not included to minimize surprises, especially if the case takes longer to complete than expected.
Watch for our next post in this series that shares how working with the right attorney can help you navigate the complicated nature of litigation. Contact us if we can help you with your legal needs.