Affording An Attorney: How To Accurately Tabulate Legal Services Rendered

Posted on: 1 September 2016

Unless you have hired an attorney to perform a one-time service, such as send a demand letter for non-payment on your behalf, knowing exactly what it will cost you ahead of time can be hard to determine. There are some attorneys that will take cases on contingency, require retainers, and even prefer to be added to payroll. Estimating the amount you will be billed by your lawyer depends largely on the area of law being practiced, attorney cost per hour, court filing costs, and expert witness services.

Scope Of Legal Services Rendered

Understanding the types of services your attorney is to perform will help you to come up with a ballpark figure, or whats known as a lawyer estimate. This speculative estimate takes into full consideration the scope of the legal services to be performed, as well as the total number of hours your attorney expects to contribute to your case.

Family, corporate, tax, criminal, copyright, and environmental law are a few examples of areas of practice that often become involved with complex legal matters. Less complicated matters, such as small claims and traffic ticket cases, don't usually require many billable hours.

Filing, Copying, Correspondence, And Mailing Fees

More times than not, filing court documents comes with a cost. Filing fees can vary from case to case, and your lawyer may also assess copying, filing, and mailing expenses. Filing petitions and court documents also takes effort and a considerable portion of your attorney's time. You can also expect to be billed for answering all court documents by opposing parties on your behalf.

Expert Testimony And Support Staff Costs

In addition, attorney estimates will include billable hours for expert witnesses, paralegals, and all other support staff that participated during the course of your case. If your case requires extensive courthouse research, private investigation, forensic accounting, or any other forms of specialized services recommended by your attorney, your legal bill will include their respective fees.

For instance, depositions require the services of stenographers, legal transcriptionists, and sometimes videographers in addition to your legal team. Any expert witness called to testify or be deposed during the course of a legal matter on your behalf will also require remuneration.

Total Legal Costs

During a consultation, you can request a total estimated fee for a lawyer's services. Although an attorney estimate only reflects the amount your lawyer predicts to charge you for services rendered, this rough figure can give you a better idea of what you should expect to pay.

For more information, contact local professionals like McKone & Unruh.