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How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a felony charge? Residential Burglary?

Seattle, WA |

I have talked to over 10-15 fairly to highly respected lawyers. While the retainer for the most part is about the same from 5k to 10k when it comes to covering the case from arraignment all the way through trial that's when the big price difference spikes occur. Several attorney wanted between 7500-15000 to go from arraignment all the way through trial and there was a whole bunch who would throw numbers between 35k - 75k. I mean there are equally qualified lawyers with equally high status who said will do the job for 25k max. And when they tell me what their hourly rate is it just doesn't always add up. Is this normal occurrence?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Most criminal lawyers do cases on a flat fee basis which means they estimate how much time the case will require. Sometimes we are right and make money but other times we underestimate and lose money. For residential burglary, and this is just my opinion, $35 to $75K is ridiculous. I have tried murder trials more efficiently. $25K sounds right to me for your case, especially if the lawyer will take a down payment and let you pay the rest in installments. Hourly rate has nothing to do with fixed fee; doubtless the lawyers are just trying to give you an idea about what their time is worth. If you elect fixed fee, with a $25K cap, the hourly rate no longer means anything.

    By the way, I would do it for $25K, start to finish, with initial $10K retainer.


  2. I concur with my colleague, $75,000-$150,000 is not a reasonable fee for a charge of this type and my own fee structure is similar to his.

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