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How Much Can I Expect to Pay an Attorney for My Case?

July 1, 2018

One of the biggest concerns for individuals considering hiring a lawyer for possible legal actions is “What will this cost me?” Like all professionals, lawyers do charge their clients for the services provided, but there are a number of ways in which payments might be arranged between a client and their lawyer, and it is important that you have a clear understanding of when, how, and how much you will be paying.

There are four basic methods typically used: the retainer, a contingency payment, straight hourly fees, and a flat-rate payment.


A retainer is an upfront fee, similar to a down payment that is put toward any total fees. This payment structure is often used when a client will need the ongoing advice or assistance of a lawyer and is frequently employed by businesses or professional organizations.

Hourly Fees

This form of payment is self-explanatory in that you will be charged for the hours devoted by your lawyer to your case. The fees can vary depending on the nature of the case (for example, a criminal defense attorney would charge more for a felony than a misdemeanor), the attorney’s experience, and even varies based on geography. It’s important to understand the specifics of billing and whether they charge on fractions of an hour, as well.

Contingency Payment

The contingency payment is frequently used in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, or even debt collection cases. These types of cases involve no upfront costs to the client and the client would pay nothing unless the court claim is successful. Upon resolving the case, the contingency fee is a percentage of the total money or settlement awarded. This ensures that clients can get representation in cases which might otherwise be too costly to pay upfront with the added uncertainty of whether the case will resolve successfully or not.


A flat-rate payment is offered for simple and well-defined legal matters that often include things like uncontested divorces, wills, bankruptcy filings, and protecting intellectual property. Ensure that you fully understand the nature of a flat-rate agreement and whether you will also be billed for filing fees or other associated fees with the legal work you need.

It’s important that you understand the cost of hiring a lawyer and how you will be billed before you enter into any agreement. No one likes unexpected surprises, especially when it comes to our finances, and you also don’t want to find yourself contracting services that you can’t afford. Your potential lawyer should be upfront and honest with you about expected fees, and any hesitance or reluctance should be considered a red flag. While the financial bottom line is always a factor, it is important to realize that a cheaper base rate may end up costing you more in the long run. For instance, many less experienced lawyers will charge a lower hourly rate but may take considerably more time to successfully resolve your case when compared to a more experienced lawyer.

If you are in need of legal services in the great state of Texas, then you should speak to the team at Fears Nachawati. We offer competitive rates and a number of payment methods depending on the type of case you have. We offer a free, no obligation consultation in order to discuss the specifics of your case, how we can be of help to you, and to fully and transparently discuss how much our legal services will cost.

Contact us today at (866) 705-7584 to schedule your appointment at one of our Texas offices in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, or San Antonio.


Use the form below to send us a note, call us at 214.890.0711 or chat with us live. We are eager to help with your legal needs. Please keep in mind that any unsolicited information sent through our website cannot be treated as confidential. Contacting us through this site does not create a representation relationship with Fears Nachawati.

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