What Should I Expect Where Legal Fees Are Concerned
Understanding Legal Fees Can Be a Challenge
One of the first questions people charged with a crime often ask is “how much will my defense cost?” You may be wondering whether you should hire the most expensive attorney in town or if you can get a high-quality defense from a lawyer who charges comparatively lower rates.
When trying to understand legal fees, it is important to note that the rate an attorney charges may not be an effective gauge of the level of service he or she provides. Also, a highly experienced lawyer who charges a higher hourly rate may be able to resolve a complex case more quickly; the result being fewer hours and a lower overall bill. On the other hand, a less experienced attorney who charges what appears to be a low hourly rate may bill significantly more hours to accomplish the same task or may charge more for expenses.
The Truth About Legal Fees
In some areas of life, you really do get what you pay for. Very few high-volume, low-quality plea attorneys have the nerve to ask for a substantial fee for their sub-par legal services. Similarly, very few competent lawyers who charge substantial, but fair, fees for the quality representation they provide have the nerve to let their caseload and their hard-earned reputation slide.
If you have read ” What to look for when hiring a lawyer” you probably are looking for an attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive, who knows to limit the number of open files he or she is willing to maintain at any given time, and who will handle your case personally as opposed to handing the matter off to an inexperienced associate. These qualities are expensive. You should be prepared to pay a substantial fee in order to secure quality legal representation.
How Much Will Your Defense Cost?
All cases arise out of unique facts, and all cases present unique defenses. It’s difficult to know in advance everything that will be required in order to present a complete defense to any given case. However, as the client, it is completely reasonable that you need to know what representation in your case will cost before you can make an informed hiring decision.
You first scheduled an initial consultation with me. In this meeting, we will discuss the factual details of your case as well as the legal defenses that may be available. We will discuss the procedural options and requirements that may affect the strategy and commitment of resources to your cases. There is no charge for this meeting, and no obligation to continue.
Fixed-Rate Commitment Fee
At the conclusion of your initial consultation, I will be able to quote a fixed-rate commitment fee that will cover all legal services necessary for the various procedural stages of your defense. You will know exactly what your legal fees will be no matter how long the case continues, or how many court appearances are ultimately required.
In addition to the time that I may ultimately devote to your case, the fixed-rate commitment fee also represents compensation based upon, but not limited to the following factors:
- The relative severity of the charges and the potential sentencing risk that you face and the responsibility I must assume in accepting your case
- The novelty and complexity of the matters involved in your case and the specialized skill, experience and knowledge required to perform the legal services properly
- The range of fees customarily charged by practitioners of comparable skill, ability and experience in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area for representation in the same or similar matters
- The reputation and ability that I offer in handling this matter
- The likelihood that the efforts and resources devoted to your case or conflicts of interest inherent in said matter may preclude me from accepting other engagements
If you decide to hire me to represent you in your case, I will provide a written Fee Agreement confirming everything you can expect from me as your lawyer during your case. I do require that the fees associated with my representation are paid in full prior to filing an entry of appearance in any case. For your convenience, I do accept payment via most major credit cards.
What If You Can’t Afford To Hire a Lawyer?
Under certain circumstances, the court can appoint an attorney — either a public defender or a court-appointed attorney — to represent you at no cost. The good news is that many public defenders – particularly the lawyers in the 10th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office for Johnson County Kansas have extensive criminal defense experience and are excellent lawyers. The bad news is that many public defenders are overworked and underpaid. While they may have unquestionable legal abilities, they may be admittedly unable to provide the same amount of one-on-one time and personal attention to each individual client that a private attorney can.
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