Addison IL Immigration Attorney
Steps To Take Before Hiring An Attorney:
Meet With the Attorney – The only way to determine how much your attorney will cost is to ask. Most attorneys will not quote a price before scheduling a consultation, where they can learn the facts of your case. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the attorney, and ideally with the fee. Please remember that a “retainer” is not the total fee. Some lawyers quote a retainer that reflects what they believe the case will cost. Other attorneys quote a very low retainer in order to get the client to hire them, and then bill the client for additional work.
Negotiate – Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower hourly rate – although please be aware that good attorneys tend to have the opportunity to take more work than they can handle, and thus may not be willing to reduce their fees. You can also challenge how you will be billed — if the lawyer bills in 15 minute increments, you can ask to be billed in 5 minute increments. At times, you may wish to negotiate a “flat fee.” The purpose of a flat fee is not to save money — most “flat fee” arrangements will end up costing you more than an hourly agreement. The purpose is to provide peace of mind. If appropriate, you may ask the attorney to quote a maximum fee for the case that is being billed by the hour. This can be a good way to test the
reasonableness of an attorney’s retainer — unless the attorney is working with you because you are unable to pay more, if an attorney quotes you a $500 retainer but refuses to quote a maximum fee, you probably should go elsewhere. While a case may have complexities which render it impossible to quote a maximum fee, such complexities should also be reflected in the retainer – – a $500 retainer ordinarily indicates that the attorney views the case as simple.
Contingent Fees – Many attorneys take certain types of civil suits, particularly personal injury cases, on a “contingent fee” (or “contingency fee”) basis, where they do not charge an attorney fee unless they recover money for you. Please note that there are legal costs involved in litigation, and that ordinarily you will be required to repay those costs even if you lose. Almost every state limits contingent fees for personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. If your case is potentially worth a lot of money, you may be able to negotiate a reduction of the attorney’s contingent fee — however, the best personal injury attorneys are sometimes able to recover substantially more money for their clients than attorneys with lesser skills, resulting in a greater award to you regardless of the percentage taken by the attorney.
What if I hire an attorney, and I don’t like the work he does?
The attorney works for you. You have the right to terminate your relationship with an attorney. Please note, however, that you must still pay the attorney for the services he has performed for you. If the attorney was representing you on a “contingent fee” basis, the attorney may be entitled to a portion of the proceeds of your case once it has been resolved. Usually, before you fire your attorney, you will want to first talk to a different attorney. Sometimes the new attorney will tell you to try to work out your problems with your attorney. If you choose to hire the new attorney, the new attorney should be willing to work out the details relating to any fees you may owe to your prior attorney.
If I get involved in another legal case, or if I want to appeal my case, does my attorney have to represent me?
Generally not, unless your retainer agreement requires your attorney to take on the additional matter. Your attorney will ordinarily only have to represent you on the matters specified in your retainer agreement, and has every right to charge an additional fee if new cases arise. Once a final judgment has been entered, your attorney ordinarily has no further responsibility to represent you or to appeal your case.
What if a dispute arises?
In the event that a dispute arises between you and your attorney, most state bars offer dispute resolution services. These services can be of particular benefit in the event of fee disputes. If you feel that your attorney has acted in an unethical manner, each state has a “grievance” procedure where you can file a complaint against your attorney and have your complaint investigated.