According to the California State Bar, most legal bills are inflated by at least 10-30%. Largely overlooked, exaggerated legal bills are becoming increasingly common within the US. It won’t be unfair to say most, if not all, legal bills are slightly inflated. A breach of the fiduciary responsibility present between the lawyer and the client, failing to pay attorney fee for any delivered legal services or deliberately misquoting charges, can all become a source of an attorney fee dispute. Known for undertaking unnecessary tasks, overbilling, block billing, and pushing over their own high turn-over costs to their clients, certain attorneys are knee-deep in fraudulent behaviour.
To be unaware of the charges they are paying to their lawyers is perhaps one of the most unwise decisions an organization or individual can take. Familiar with the negligence of their clients, several lawyers take advantage of the given situation. Hence, no matter the scenario, clients must carry out an ‘attorney fee review’ of the bills that are sent over by their attorneys. Diligent enough to slip duplicative billing and several other elements into the bill they send over, organizations need to ensure they stay careful when dealing with any legal counsel.
With most clients unaware of the criteria used by attorneys for deciding a fee, a majority of clients overlook inflated attorney fee bills. Following is the criteria for gauging the reasonableness of an attorney’s fees:
- The amount of time involved in handling the legal matter;
- The degree of time limitations imposed on the Attorney, e.g., need overnight legal services;
- The experience of the Attorney;
- The particular area of law the Attorney specializes in;
- The rate of the fee usually charged by other legal services dealing with the same nature of work;
- The degree of responsibility involved in the legal matter;
- The length or nature of the dynamic present between the client and lawyer;
- The Attorney’s cost of doing business, e.g., rent, firm size, equipment cost, etc.
Distinct factors are taken into consideration for negotiating an attorney’s fee. That said, dishonest lawyers should be held responsible for their actions. Following are the types of attorney fees that are commonly made use of.
Such a fee system is used for any general legal services, such as drafting a will or helping in a simple real-estate transaction. Given that they are handling uncomplicated processes, attorneys typically quote a fixed fee.
In an hourly fee system, attorneys have a fixed hourly rate for the services they provide. Multiplying the number of hours the Attorney is likely to work with their fixed rate can give clients a clear understanding of the costs likely to be incurred. However, this estimated cost will still not include any out-of-the-pocket expenses, such as telephone, photocopying, or several other charges that eventually will be covered by the client.
In cases involving personal injuries, accidents, and auto damages, attorneys can agree to accept a percentage of the compensation secured by the client as their attorney fee. Under the stated rules, the Attorney and client must have a binding written agreement in place prior to initiating any legal proceeding, as it helps sort out matters.
To rule out the possibilities of an attorney fee dispute, clients should make an effort to hold down legal costs as much as possible. Following is the route they can opt for:
- Assemble all information in chronological order;
- Try to gather telephone numbers or addresses of all involved entities and witnesses, if required;
- Make photocopies of each piece of evidence provided to the Attorney;
- Draw up a written statement of their issue and what they expect to be done by the Attorney.
In spite of taking all the relevant measures, disputes can arise. Unable to resolve matters on their own, both lawyers and clients should opt to acquire the services of an attorney fee dispute resolution firm, such as Cooper Law.
How Can Cooper Law Help In Reviewing Attorney Fee?
Each Attorney associated with Cooper Law has more than forty years of experience backing their ability and skillset. They are specialists in providing personalized legal representation, where they assist their clients in providing expert testimonies for both supporting and opposing attorney fee claims paired with litigating matters effectively.
Nationally recognized for the compassion and ethics they integrate within their legal services, Cooper Law is a reputed law firm. Taking minute details into consideration, Cooper Law ensures they evaluate each attorney fee dispute thoroughly. Through assessing the charges incurred and the legal capacity exhibited by an attorney, they make sure their client’s interests are set as a priority. Having worked with multiple entities across the different cities of the US, they are well-versed with varying state and federal laws.