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Fees and Costs

An attorney’s advice and time are his stock in trade.
                                                                  - Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s words are as true today as they were back then. Each case is different when it comes to attorney’s fees. One person’s divorce may cost three times another person’s. The difference is generally attributable to the time and energy required of the attorney to represent the client in their specific case. Although each case is different, there are some general guidelines that we hope you’ll find helpful.

CONTINGENCY FEE CASES

  • A contingency fee is a fee based on the outcome of a case. The attorney receives as his fee a percentage of what is recovered for you.
  • Contingency fees are prohibited in family law and criminal law matters, and are typically seen in accident related cases.
  • The Florida Bar limits the percentage of recovery generally to 33.33% if a case is settled before a lawsuit is filed.
  • If a lawsuit is filed and an answer to the suit has been served by the defendant, the fee is typically limited to 40%.
  • The percentage in most contingency cases is based on the gross amount recovered.
  • Our office represents accident victims on a contingency fee basis so that there are no out of pocket costs or fees unless we achieve a recovery for you.

FLAT FEES

  • In many cases a flat fee may be quoted for a specific case.
  • That fee may include all or part of a case and generally must be paid in full in advance before the attorney will represent you in your case.
  • At our office, we will often handle your case on a flat fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about monthly invoices that stretch an already tight budget.
  • Ask us about our Flat Fee’s and whether it is appropriate for your family law, criminal, or probate matter.

HOURLY

  • Perhaps the most common of fee structures is the hourly fee structure where the attorney charges an hourly rate for the time he puts into your case.
  • There is no standard hourly rate, nor should there be. An attorney’s hourly rate is generally established based on the attorneys experience and areas of practice.
  • In most hourly rate cases, a retainer is required up front (the amount of the retainer will vary based on the type and complexity of the case) and the attorney draws from the retainer as time is expended on your case.
  • Additional retainer payments may be required if the retainer paid is exhausted before the case is resolved.
  • Often times, the attorney will agree to bill monthly for the time expended on your case once the retainer is paid. The monthly bill has to be paid on time in order for the attorney to continue his representation.

FEE DISPUTES:  Like most things in life, disputes and disagreements arise from time to time regarding attorneys fees. The best way to avoid a dispute is to have a WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT with the attorney that clearly sets out the fee amount and how it is to be paid. The Florida Bar prohibits any attorney from charging an excessive fee and offers arbitration services for fee disputes.

 
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