Legal Fees

Legal-FeesWithout a doubt, legal fees is the most troubling issue for many clients.

Depending on the area of law, legal fees may be easier to ascertain, such as residential real estate transactions, simple divorce proceeding, uncomplicated separation agreements, wills, powers of attorney, notary services. Oftentimes lawyers quote set fees for such services.

It may be difficult to ascertain legal costs in a litigation process. The question “How much will my court case cost?” is almost impossible to predict at the start of the case. However, it is possible to predict if the case has potential for being costly.

The cost of the court case, especially in a family law litigation, depends on many factors. Some of them are:

  • Emotions involved (anger, desire to retaliate, high conflict);
  • Complexity of the case (necessity to hire expert witnesses, arrange and pay for appraisals, evaluations, obtain copies of documents, etc.);
  • Holding an “unreasonable” position; e.g. perception that regardless of the evidence available, a judge will see one point of view and side with it;
  • Lack of cooperation by one or both litigants;
  • Lack of flexibility and refusal to compromise.

In Family Law litigation the proper approach, such as following a lawyer’s advice, being prepared, keeping a cool head and listening to and seeing the other party’s argument and position, being willing to compromise etc., can make a huge difference in legal fees and costs

By adopting a proper strategy, it is possible to limit and avoid huge legal bills.

Lawyers bill their clients based on their hourly rate. Our time is what we are paid for.

Example of what lawyers are paid for are as follows:

  • Appointments with the lawyer;
  • Communication with the client by phone, fax, letter and e-mail;
  • Communication with the opposing party and/or his or her counsel;
  • Review of the client’s notes and documents in preparation for court;
  • Preparation of documents, including court documents in litigation;
  • Negotiation of a settlement through meetings with all parties and/or their counsel;
  • Attending court with or without the client at every stage of the case;
  • Attending examinations; preparation for trial; legal research in preparation for trial, motion or any attendance at court, if necessary;
  • Communicating with banks, medical practitioners, accountants, etc. on behalf of the client;
  • Corresponding with the client and any other person or agency; and
  • Practically anything that requires a lawyer’s time spent on the file for the benefit of the client.

I invite my clients to ask me questions about fees and disbursements. Communication between a client and the lawyer about money at every stage of the representation is a crucial aspect of a good, professional relationship.

I will discuss my retainer that I expect to be paid, but I also will explore various payment options, such as a payment plan or limited retainer.

I will strategize with my client as to the conduct of the case and payment of my legal fees at the initial stage of my representation in an effort to put my client at ease, to avoid surprises and disappointments.