How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

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Millions of people ask Thervo for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you. How Much Lawyers Cost: Everything you need to know.

The cost of your lawyer will be base on the reason why you need a lawyer (type of law practice), the level of experience your lawyer has, your geographic location, and more. There are lawyers who cost as much as $1,000 per hour, but the average cost for most people who need legal representation for regular cases will be $200–$400 per hour. Rates can vary dramatically. This pricing guide covers:

Cost Factors: Private practice or law firm?

The more prestigious the law firm is where your lawyer practices, the higher the cost will be, no matter how it is billed. This price is a combination of the age, size, reputation (for winning), geographic location, and caliber/wealth of the firm’s clients.

Going with the cheapest lawyer possible is never an advisable path to pursue. It’s like shopping around for the cheapest heart surgeon.

Depending on the consequences, should a case not go in your favor, getting a lawyer with a more expensive hourly rate could end up costing you less because the lawyer’s experience might bring a quicker resolution than a lawyer with a less-expensive hourly rate because of his or her level of experience and the firm’s years in practice.

Typical Fee Structures

In most civil cases, an attorney will be paid under one (or a combination) of the following fee arrangements:

  • Percentage

Sometimes, when a lawyer thinks it’s likely you’ll get a significant payout in the case because it looks like it will go in your favor, the lawyer may choose to defer payment until the case has been settle.

In this situation, the fee will be a percentage of that settlement amount, and it is not uncommon to see that structure in real estate or probate cases. In the case of a will for a decease relative, the law firm can make draws on the estate at different stages.

  • Fixed or flat fee

Lawyers will generally charge a flat fee for representing your legal interest in a simpler legal case—like the creation of an uncomplicate LLC or a simple estate plan—because matters are well define and the case is relatively straightforward. This fixe or flat fee could be anything from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Other examples of cases that would fall into this category include simple bankruptcy cases, wills, divorce cases that are unconteste, or trademark filings. But if the scenario has the potential for any biçim of litigation, then it is unlikely that it will be given a fixe fee arrangement.

In most situations, a flat fee will not include the court filing fees, so check the documente details that call out exactly what is covere and what is not covere, so you can avoid any unexpecte costs.

  • Hourly


Of all the different fee structures, the one most commonly use by lawyers is hourly fees, because it is often next to impossible to determine exactly what level of effort will be require to either defend or prosecute the case.

Each time the lawyer works on your case—whether it is a phone call or e-mail, drafting written communications which need to be maile to the other parties, or time spent attending meetings with you—the hours will be recorde and documente so you are aware of exactly where the expenses were incurre.

Generally, the lawyer will let you know before you retain counsel what increments or portions of an hour are use for billing so there won’t be any misunderstandings when you get a bill for services. Some of the more expensive lawyers will charge for an hour for doing a five-minute call while others charge in fifteen-minute increments.

  • Contingent


With bigger cases and larger payouts, lawyers have an option to work on the basis of what is referre to as a contingent fee. Under this structure, the lawyer is only paid in the eventuality of a particular outcome from the case, such as either your case concluding in your favor or a settlement being agree in your favor.

The most common case types where lawyers work on this basis include lawsuits where you are seeking a financial reward such as a class action case, medical malpractice case, or a personal injury claim.

For example, Downtown LA Law Group in Beverly Hills, CA, is a personal injury firm with a “no recovery, no fee” policy. You do not pay anything until the case is resolve. They say, “We have $40,000,000.00 in recoveries.”

  • Success


The success fee is a combination of elements from a contingent fee structure and an hourly fee structure, resulting in a lower hourly fee with an agree payout amount or percentage in the event that the case concludes with a result that is in line with your desire outcome for the case.

  • Pro bono


This is a Latin phrase that means “for the common good,” and lawyers can choose to do the work for no fee at all.

Most lawyers set aside a portion of time each year to do pro bono cases. And for those in need of pro bono representation, organizations like legal aid societies or assistance groups. Including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will generally have a list of lawyers that you can contact.

Experience level of your lawyer

The cost of your lawyer will rise with his or her years of experience. Depending on the seriousness of the case and the degree to which you are invested. Either financially or emotionally—in the outcome of the case. You may choose to not select the junior members. Of the team but instead opt for one. Of the more senior members at the firm to get a positive result.

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At some law firms, you could be paying $200. An hour for a junior associate and $800 an hour for a senior associate or partner. While that sounds like a lot more, the more senior member could get results faster. Or develop a no-lose strategy that could elude the competence of the junior associate.

Given that a standard work week is 40 hours. A brand-new partner in a law firm will typically have at least between 24,000 to 25,000 hours. Of experience under the belt versus roughly 4,800 hours for a lawyer finishing up a second year as an associate. That amount of experience (of a partner) could alter the outcome of your case for the better.

What type of lawyer do I need?

There are many areas of specialty in law. Which allows you to select a lawyer who knows as much as possible about your particular type of case. And how to either defend you or fight for you best in front of a judge and jury.

You won’t want a divorce lawyer representing you in international business matters. Likewise, the hourly rate for a lawyer to represent you in a straightforward individual bankruptcy. Case would not be the same rate if he or she was representing your company. Because of a copyright infringement dispute.

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