Attorney's Fees Explained

Throughout everyday life, there are many situations where having a lawyer at your disposal is helpful. Common agreements such as a lease, mortgage, loan, employment, bill of sale and other agreements really should be looked at by an attorney. However, most people do not enlist the help of an attorney for fear of the cost. Community Legal Solutions provides access to a nationwide network of attorneys that are at your disposal, no matter the situation. Our attorneys work on pre negotiated discounted rates, so you never have to worry about unknown costs.


If you are facing a more complex legal issue, getting proper legal representation is strongly suggested. However, having a lawyer represent you comes with a cost. When deciding to hire an Attorney, you should be ready to weigh the costs of the legal services against the benefit you will receive if you win your case. During your initial consultation, it is important to get an estimated cost it will take to fully resolve your legal matter. Remember, attorneys in our network will charge $125.00 per hour or 40% off their published rates. We also include a list of flat fee attorney services below.

Common Costs:

Retainer Fee:


A lawyer's Retainer Fee is typically a fee paid before any work starts. Most of the time the retainer fee is decided based on the size and scope of the legal matter. Think of the retainer as a down payment for legal services. Retainer fees are typically put into an account, and as the case progresses, the lawyer withdraws the funds as the work is performed. It is important to know its the CLIENT'S responsibility to review all bills and balances related to the retainer and ongoing services.

Direct Costs:


In addition to lawyer fee’s, the client is also expected to cover some direct costs associated with working the legal case. In general, Attorney Fee’s refer to the lawyer's time. Costs refer to other direct expenses required for your legal case. Below are a list of common additional legal costs incurred.


     - Photocopying Charges

     - Postage and Delivery Charges

     - Court Costs (Statutory Fees)

     - Court Reporter Charges

     - Expert Witness Charges

     - Transportation Charges


It is important to talk with the lawyer and make sure you are clear on all the costs that might be incurred. It is also appropriate for you to ask questions and even negotiate which costs will be charged. The goal is to be fully clear and comfortable with all the charges that will be incurred. Once you agree to the fees and costs, make sure the details are outlined in writing.

Fee Structures

Hourly Fees:


The most common billing structure is the Hourly Rate Structure. Very simply, the lawyer will charge you a predetermined rate for each hour, or partial hour, of work. Lawyers may charge different rates for different services. Lawyers might also have paralegal rates. For example, say your lawyer charges $125.00 per hour and performed 10 hours of service. The cost would be $1,250.00. If you started with a retainer of $1500, there would be $250.00 ($1500.00- $1250.00=$250.00) left on the retainer balance.

Flat Rate:


Most of the time, attorneys will accept a Flat Rate Fee for common legal cases. This means the attorney will take on the case for a single rate that will not change. Often, if the case requires going to court there will be additional flat fees involved, like a flat fee for each day in court. Some examples of flat fee legal matters include wills, uncontested divorces and other fairly simple legal matters. As a member of Community Legal Solutions, you are entitled the flat rates for the services below.

Legal Service Member Rate Non-Member Rate
Traffic Ticket Defense $89.00 $199.00
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy $750.00 $1,500.00
Name Change $155.00 $365.00
Simple Will and Trust $250.00 $530.00
Non-Support (Spouse or Child) $275.00 $1,490.00
Simple Divorce $275.00 $1,100.00
Real Estate Closing $250.00 $675.00
Business Incorporation $295.00 $585.00

Contingency Fee:


Contingency Fee arrangements are when the attorney does not take any funds up front in exchange for a larger percentage of any settlement or monetary judgement achieved on behalf of the client. Contingency fees are difficult for both lawyers and clients. Sometimes the lawyer spends too much time based on the outcome, other times there is a quick settlement, and the client feels the lawyer took too much money for the effort provided. Contingency Fee rates depend on each case, but typically range from 20-40%.


Most common cases that are taken on contingency include:

  • Personal Injuries
  • Auto Accident
  • Boating Accident
  • Slip and Fall
  • Wrongful Death
  • Motorcycle Accident


Cases that are NEVER taken on contingency include:

  • Adoption
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Formation
  • Criminal Defense
  • Divorce/Family Law
  • Drafting of Agreements
  • Immigration

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