If you find yourself suddenly in need of legal services, this article can help you understand various options that may be available:
- Employment Contract or Retainer agreements- It is common (and is recommended) that Texas attorneys have a client sign a written contract between the lawyer and client. In this document, the terms of the lawyer/client relationship are spelled out. A “retainer” is an amount of money paid by the client towards the case, usually at the beginning of the case. Some clients (usually businesses) may even choose to pay a monthly retainer to have an attorney available to answer their business questions.
- Costs of the case: There can be many costs associated with a case, especially when there is a lawsuit that is filed. Some common costs that law firms charge to a client are: filing fees, costs of filing documents, costs of ordering certified copies, costs due to a government agency on behalf of the client, and any other costs that the attorney/law firm pays on behalf of the client. The cost is paid by the firm, but then billed to the client, which saves time.
- Legal Fees: Legal fees differ from costs because they are services performed. The services may be performed by a lawyer or staff.
- Hourly vs. Flat Fee: Some cases may be billed on an hourly fee, based on the time spent on the case. Other cases may be a “flat fee”, which means that the client will be charged a specific amount, no matter how much (or how little) time it takes to complete a matter. There are also situations in which a combination of the two types of billing is used.
- Payment plan: Some firms may allow payment plans for certain cases and if so, the client will usually make payments of specific amounts on certain dates, agreed upon in writing.
- Consultation fee: This is a fee for the initial visit, which is often lower than the hourly fee and is intended to compensate for some of the time spent by the attorney in the consult.
It is important to make sure that you understand the arrangement between you and your lawyer. Make sure that you know and understand your payment arrangements, when you will be charged, and what will initiate a charge. Make sure that you do your part to keep costs down. For instance, responding to your attorney and the law office staff promptly, providing legible information when requested, making sure that your contact information is up to date, and making sure you meet deadlines will go a long way towards keeping costs down.
At the Kalish Law Office, we understand that nowadays many people are struggling to make ends meet. All the same, most everyone needs legal services at some point. If you have a legal need, it is worth a consultation to find out what your options may be. Discuss all concerns with your attorney at your first consultation, and don’t be afraid to voice any concerns that you have. We often have special discounts on consultations to help people afford a consult. Check our home page to see those.
If you need legal services, please schedule a consultation with the Kalish Law Office today at 281-363-3700!