Three Common Types of Attorney Fees
There are many different options when it comes to structuring attorney fees. Some attorneys offer flat fees, others charge an hourly rate, and yet still others bill based on a contingency fee. Many attorneys offer more than one option for your legal needs.
Flat FeesMany clients prefer flat fees because this type of fee structure provides the client with a set amount of money they will be paying for their attorney's services. Some attorneys will require the flat fee upfront, while others won't require a payment until after the work is completed or even a mixture of the two. Flat fees may also have a sliding scale under some structures, which allows for different flat fee amounts based on how far the case goes.
Hourly RatesMost attorneys will offer an option to pay by the hour. You will only pay for the amount of time that is actually spent working your case. Sometimes this ends up benefitting the client as fewer hours are needed than the attorney would have estimated in a flat fee structure. Other times, a case may take up much more of the attorney's time than originally expected and the client ends up paying more than under a flat fee structure. Many attorneys offer a payment plan option in which clients only pay a set amount per month until they pay off the billable amount, which prevents clients from having to pay a huge bill all at once.
Contingency FeesContingency fees are most common in personal injury cases but may be available in many other types of law as well. A contingency fee is an attorney fee "contingent" upon the client obtaining a settlement or judgment. Usually, the contingency fee is based on a percentage of the total amount the client is awarded. The percentage rate may be different based on the stage of the case.