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Would a retained lawer typically charge a client if if the client came in the office with questions to better understand the ca

Schenectady, NY |
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This is a lawyer specific question. For example, we typically handle contracts on a flat-fee arrangement. Thus, we would not charge is the client came in with questions. However, some attorney charge differently.

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If you are paying an hourly fee then the lawyer can charge for you coming to the office to ask questions because the lawyer is dealing with you rather than work on other cases.

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Read the terms of your retainer agreement. If it based on an hourly fee then you can be charged for any time the attorney spends on the case whether it is in court, doing research or answering the phone.

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The attorney-client relationship, including fees, is usually governed by a professional services agreement ("contract"). The contract you signed with your attorney should spell out what the fees are and how they are typically charged. For example, if your attorney agreed to charge you a flat fee for their services, then you would typically be entitled to periodic updates about your case without being charged. If however, you agreed to an hourly fee arrangement, ie., pay as you go, then the attorney can charge you for these types of inquiries, even telephone calls. The customary fee agreement typically allows for billing to occur in 15 minute increments. Say for example that you pay your attorney an hourly rate of $200.00 per hour. If you call your attorney and speak for 11 minutes, that telephone call will most likely be billed at a rate of .25 of $200 or $50.00. This is a protective measure many attorneys build in to their contract to prevent the very small number of clients who will call the attorney 10 times per day. If you are not that type of client then you most likely will not be charged for infrequent calls, however it is a good practice for the attorney to reflect the telephone call on the clients bill as a NC or no charge.

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You are better off just calling the lawyer and hoping he doesn't charge for a phone call for 15 minutes. If you make an appointment it is way more trouble.


Of course s/he would and should, unless that attorney has told you it will be ok to do so.

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Marco Caviglia

Marco Caviglia


The retainer agreement will typically state that such things are includible and charged based upon at least a minimum of allocated time.

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