Lawyers generally bill by the hour for the work they complete. Rates will vary depending on the area which you live in, how long the lawyer has been in practice (including the experience of the law in that particular field of law), and the billing practices of the lawyer. Lawyers’ fees typically range from $100 per hour to over $500 per hour. Generally, lawyers who are more experienced and knowledgeable may command higher fees. Although not always the case, a lawyer who has been in practice for a long time, may charge a higher rate than a lawyer who is not as experienced.
There are some lawyers who will quote a fixed fee. Sometimes a fixed fee is used to complete a specific job or it may be to represent you from the beginning to the end of the case. Be careful about this. If the lawyer offers you a quote and the case work is more than the fee requires, it is possible for the quote to change. The concern is if a lawyer will continue to represent you zealously if he or she realizes that the time spent on your behalf is coming out of his or her own pocket. If you decide to agree on a fixed fee, you should be aware of the risks that are involved.
At no point in time should you be afraid to ask your lawyer how they calculate their fees. A lawyer understands the position of any potential client, and he or she should be more than happy to discuss any concerns you have over their fees. A lawyer will generally be able to give you an estimate on what the fee schedule should look like. There is no clear answer on the fee schedule because the lawyer will not know whether the other party will be cooperative or not. There are actions you can take to keep some of your costs down, but the other party can sometimes drive the costs up, depending on the actions of the other party. In addition, the counsel for the other party may not be as experienced as your own lawyer, and this can sometimes drive the costs up. Every situation cannot be anticipated. A good rule of thumb is to assume that things rarely work out as smoothly as either party wants them to, no matter how hard one tries to cooperate. At times, something will end up complicating the case.