If I Retain an Attorney, Do I Really Have to Pay Attorney Fees

If you are retaining an attorney after being sued, there is one situation where you may not have to pay attorney fees. First, if you have been sued, one of the first issues for you and your attorney to investigate is whether or not you have any insurance policy(s) which will cover the attorney fees associated with the lawsuit. Common examples (not exhaustive) or lawsuits which are often covered by insurance are automobile accidents and incidents which occur at your house. A common situation where insurance companies refuse to pay for your defense costs in a lawsuit is where the lawsuit alleges that your bad conduct was intentional (as opposed to negligent), and there are no allegations in the complaint other than the allegations of intentional conduct. If the insurance company does pay for your attorney fees, it may require you to change law firms and be represented by lawyers of its choosing.


Choose Your Lawyers With Great Care

There are now law firms where some of the lawyers charge an hourly rate approaching or even exceeding $1,000 per hour. If you are an individual, or small business, however, it is highly unlikely that you need that type of firm. Do you really believe that the senior partner at one of those firms will be the one primarily handling your case? Most likely, your case will be handed off to a young associate attorney with little experience whose hourly rate is nevertheless very high. Large Fortune 500 companies often retain large law firms with lawyers who charge very high hourly rates. However, those companies often feel that they may have a need, because of their size, to have access to many different lawyers, with different specialties. That would rarely be the case with an individual or small to medium size business. At a smaller firm, you can benefit from an attorney with decades of experience-often at an hourly fee less than the junior associate at a large firm.


Investigate Different Types of Fee Arrangements

Retaining an attorney on an hourly basis is not the only way to retain an attorney. Talk to your attorney about different possibilities such as a contingency fee, a flat fee, partial contingency/partial flat fee, or partial contingency/reduced hourly rate. Straight contingency fees are more common in personal injury cases, and some other cases where the defendant has an insurance policy that will cover the case. However, there are other cases where contingency fee agreements, or varieties of a straight contingency fee can be worked out with your attorney.


Agree With Your Lawyer in Advance That You Will Be Kept Up to Date With Respect to Services to be Provided

You are retaining an attorney because he/she knows what is best in terms of how to pursue or defend your rights and remedies. However, that does mean that you want your attorney to have complete authority to take any action he wishes, or perform whatever services he deems necessary, without consulting with you in advance. Speak to your attorney in advance regarding what you will know in advance about what services will have to be provided, and approximately how much those services will cost.