"A Lawyer's Time and Advice is His Stock and Trade."
Whether at the beginning of your meeting or the end, you must eventually discuss both pricing and payment with your attorney during your free initial consultation. The amount of time, effort, skill, and experience required for your case all factor in to calculating an appropriate fee for your case. Because every case is unique, it would be impossible to quote a fee without first knowing something about your case.
It is sometimes suggested that attorneys are like parachutes, in that when you are approaching the end of your trip, it is better to have more than you need than to need more than you have. While you may not need an experienced litigator of 40 years to handle your traffic ticket at $350/hour, you also do not want a more serious case to be handled by a much less experienced attorney. This is why it is important to discuss with your attorney his/her experience, his/her rates, and whether this attorney is more or less than you think you need. To be satisfied and confident, the client needs to know they are properly "paired" with an attorney that suits their particular needs and budget.
Unlike in civil cases (like an automobile accident), criminal and immigration cases cannot be priced on a contingency basis, where the attorney is paid (if at all) based on the outcome. Criminal and immigration cases can be priced in only two ways: flat fees and hourly rates.
FLAT FEES: Flat fees are fees agreed upon and paid for a certain task or for all tasks up to a certain point in your case. Some clients wish to hire attorneys to do only a few specific things while other clients may want to hire an attorney to do all reasonably necessary things up to a certain point in the case. Flat fees appeal to cost-conscious clients who wish to minimize the cost of their representation. For this type of pricing, it is important that clients understand the flow of cases through the Georgia court system.
HOURLY FEES: Instead of a flat fee, you can hire an attorney based on an hourly rate for all work done by the firm. Our current hourly rates are available upon request.
Once you've decided how your case will be priced, you have to decide how it will be funded.
Paying for an hourly-rate case is simple. You deposit funds into our firm's trust account. The money is still yours and this firm is the trustee of the account. We will work on your case and deduct our fees until your case is resolved or until the funds are depleted. If there are funds left over after the resolution of your case, your attorney will refund the balance back to you. If our work on your case exhausts the funds in trust, then progress on your case will cease until the funds are replenished.
Fixed fees are due when you sign your representation agreement with the law firm for whatever level of representation you desire. If you later wish to increase the level of representation, you can sign a new representation agreement.
The easiest way to fund your legal case is by cash or credit card.
If you don't have a credit card and can't qualify for a loan, the firm offers some of the best payment plans around, with payment beginning as low as $199/month for simple cases.
For more information, check out the State Bar of Georgia's information on Lawyers and Legal Fees.
For more on our top-rated firm, visit our Avvo.com profile: