What determines your Legal Fee?

  • Does the attorney charge a FLATE FEE?
    • One dollar amount is paid for a typical legal case.
    • Flat fees are usually charged when the services being provided are more predictable.
    • Ask the lawyer exactly what services and expenses are and are not covered in a flat fee.
  • Does the attorney charge an HOURLY FEE?
    • Most legal fees are charged by this method.
    • The more experienced an attorney, the higher the hourly rate.
    • Cheaper might be better, but a more expensive and experienced lawyer could very well handle your case faster and better.
    • The more complex the facts of your case, then you should expect higher fees.
    • Ask the attorney how many hours it will take to complete your case.
  • Does the attorney charge a RETAINER FEE?
    • This fee is based on an hourly rate.
    • Clients put money into a special account called an escrow account.
    • Attorney deducts fees as services are completed.
    • Once retainer is used and more work needs to be done, client must pay another fee.
    • The attorney should give the client an idea of how much longer case will take.
    • The client should be aware that the retainer fee is generally refundable if not used by the lawyer.
  • Is there a STATUTORY FEE?
    • A statutory fee is a fee set by law.
    • Some legal work requires the court to set or approve the fee.
  • Is there a CONTIGENCY FEE?
    • A contingent fee means the lawyer charges no fee .
    • But instead earns a percentage of the settlement or judgment, if any is awarded.
    • Contingent fees — typically one-third of the settlement or judgment — can be negotiated.
    • In some legal cases, contingent fees are not allowed.
  • Another subset of Legal fees:

An attorney can consider how much or how little to charge an hourly fee, flat fee or retainer fee based upon some other client factors.

  • Low Bono:
    • Sliding scale based on client’s income
    • Must qualify
    • Must provide proof of income
    • Most private attorneys do not accept these types of clients
      • However, some accept these clients as community service
      • State Bar requirement in some states
    • Non-profit organizations usually accept these types of clients
  • Pro Bono:
    • Free/no legal fees are paid
    • May have to pay a one time nominal administrative fee
    • Must qualify
    • Must provide proof of income
    • Most private attorneys accept a hand full of these type of cases
      • State Bar requirement in some states
      • Community service
    • Non-profit organizations usually accept these type of clients
  • Market Rate:
    • Most attorneys prefer this rate in order to pay their bills
    • Rate set by Laffey Matrix
      • Based on how many years out of law school
      • Available since 1982
      • Provided by United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
    • Rate set by American Bar Association
      • Based on how many years practicing law
    • Other rates
      • Cost of living for current area
      • What are other attorneys charging for same service/same area
      • Based on area of practice
      • Based on years of experience in a particular area of law
      • Consider Office overhead? What is overhead?
        • State Bar Fees
        • Professional Bar Fees
        • Office Rent
          • Is attorney sharing an office?
          • Is attorney sharing staff?
        • Office Administration (computer, printer, fax, telephone, cell phone, etc)
        • Office Staff
          • Sole practitioner
          • Small Firm
          • Large Firm
        • Salaries
          • Leave
          • Taxes
            • Personnel
            • Income
            • Business
        • Insurance
        • Travel fees
        • Court fees

Office Location

The Thanyachareon Law Firm The IMP Building
8850 Richmond Highway
Suite 208
Alexandria, VA 22309
Map & Directions

Contact Us
Tel: (703) 646-4146
Email: info@ThanyachareonLaw.com

Business Hours
9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.