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How much does a lawyer charge?

Clearly discuss with your attorney costs and fees. Always ask how he/she wants to be paid for the service. You have the right to ask detailed questions about the rates and how he/she wants to be paid.

It is not always easy for a lawyer to say precisely at the beginning of a legal dispute all you will have to pay at the end of the case. Indeed, a legal dispute may lead to a settlement agreement or court proceedings. It could be that you wish to appeal against a decision reached at first instance or the opposing party will appeal against this ruling. Maybe it will appear in the proceedings that an expert should be appointed to advise the court on technical issues. It is also possible that other problems or other contentious issues arise during the procedure. All these factors have their influence on what you will pay in the end. It is already clear that a precise price tag cannot be attached to the intervention of the lawyer from the beginning.

If your lawyer has to intervene in judicial proceedings, you will not only pay the fees, but also court costs (human role, bailiff's fees, etc.).

In general, we can say that the fees of a lawyer depends on his/her experience, his/her expertise, his/her fame, complexity and value of the case, as well as its urgency.

How does a lawer calculate the fees?

There are several ways for a lawyer to fix his/her fees:

  • Your lawyer puts into account a certain rate per hour so you pay an amount per hour worked, or
  • Your lawyer can request a fixed amount for a number of well-defined services. In this case, always check what is included in this package and what is not;

Other payment methods are also possible. In certain circumstances, for example, a lawyer may accept payment in shares in certain jurisdictions. This can eventually lead to a conflict of interest. All forms of payment are not allowed in all countries. So check with your lawyer what are the procedures for local payment.

Is it customary for a lawyer to ask for a retainer fee?

Indeed, it is usual for a lawyer to ask his client to "provisioning" or "make a deposit". This means that you transfer money to your lawyer's "trust", against which he/she will charge the fees and expenses of the proceedings.

The lawyer will also count administrative expenses and secretarial expenses. This is the price of telephone calls, correspondence, fax transmission fees, sending mail, photocopies, etc.

When should I hire a lawyer?

Lawyers provide legal services. You can contact a lawyer to advise you on a possible problem that has not even occurred. Sometimes it is wise to know the legal implications of a problem before it happens. But a lawyer can act for clients before the administrative authorities or against individuals. By using a little common sense, you can judge for yourself whether or not you need to consult a lawyer.

If you are convinced you can either solve a problem yourself, either because the amount involved is not important, or because the problem is simple, you do not need to use counsel.

On the other hand, you have to keep in mind that your legal options can sometimes decrease during the course of the conflict. In these situations it is advantageous to use the services of a lawyer.

How do I get an appointment and do I choose a lawyer?

The best advertising is without doubt the word of mouth. Try to always get as much information as possible about the firm which you are trying to engage. Asses if you can communicate well with them, if they know the language of the country where the negotiations should be held, if they have the knowledge and experience, if they have any contacts, etc.

Try to prepare for your meeting with the lawyer. Therefore, always discuss with him/her the following:

  • Formulate precisely the problem you are facing. Tell the lawyer about what you want to achieve and see if he/she can provide this service. Ask yourself if that lawyer also differs from its counterparts in this area;
  • Tell the lawyer everything as accurately and fully as possible;
  • Make any pleadings, correspondence, photos, etc.. your first interview. It is also easier and more enjoyable for your lawyer to work when the relevant data have been carefully classified;
  • Ask your lawyer what are the possible outcomes of a possible procedure;
  • Also ask what are the alternative ways to treat your problem and discuss the pros and cons;
  • Ask how long it will take approximately to get a result;
  • Tell your lawyer the frequency and how you want to be kept informed of progress and unfolding events.

Do not exclude any relevant information. Make sure you always ask for the fees and costs.

Can a lawyer refuse a case?

A lawyer may, in fact, refuse to process a case. Several reasons can justify this refusal. Some may be related to the same lawyer who does not wish to deal with certain cases because he wants to give priority to other cases. Other reasons may be inspired by the expected relationship with the client. If a lawyer thinks he can not build a good relationship with a potential client, there is no doubt in everyone's interest that he or she does not take the case.