Frequently Asked Questions
Hiring a lawyer can be a confusing process. Understanding these frequently asked questions can help guide the process an provide a smooth process for handling your case.
01 Under what circumstances should I hire a lawyer?
If you are accused of committing a crime, charged with drunk driving (DUI), or party to a law suit, you definitely need a lawyer. You should contact my office right away, especially if there are witnesses to interview and/or evidence to gather. I can also help you avoid legal problems. Ultimately, you want to hire an attorney who has the experience to handle your case. My office has a proven track record of winning cases and I will put that experience to work for you.
02 Do all lawyers use the same fee agreements?
No. There are several kinds of fee agreements and most agreements between you and my office will be in writing. A client will typically be charged a fixed, hourly, retainer, contingency or statutory fee, which are explained more in detail below:
Fixed (standard) Fee: This fee arrangement is used most often by my office for routine legal matters, such as a criminal case, drawing up a simple will, or handling an uncontested divorce. When you agree to a fixed fee, we will discuss what it does and does not include.
Hourly Fee: Hourly fees can vary from case to case. To find out the approximate total of your bill, my office will estimate how long your case will take. Just remember that circumstances may change, and your case may take longer to handle than expected at the beginning.
Retainer Fee: A retainer fee can be used to guarantee that my office will be readily available to work on your particular case, which could mean that I would have to turn down other cases in order to remain available for you. As a result, you will probably be billed at a higher rate for the legal work that is done. In some cases, a retainer fee is considered a "down payment" on any legal services that you will need. This means that the legal fees will be subtracted from the retainer until the retainer is used up. Then, my office will either ask you to pay another retainer or bill you for the additional time spent on your case.
Contingency Fee: This kind of fee agreement is commonly used in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation and other cases involving a law suit for money. It means that you will pay my office a certain percentage of the money you receive when I win the case or if we settle it out of court. If we lose, my office does not receive a fee.
Statutory fee: For certain legal matters the cost is set by statute or law. This means my fee is either set or must be approved by the court.
03 How should I prepare for my meeting with the lawyer?
Before the meeting, make notes about your legal situation so you can easily go over the important points with my office. Bring the names, addresses and telephone numbers of everyone connected with your case (including witnesses), as well as all papers involved in your case. I may ask to see the papers before the meeting.