There are several ways that lawyers get paid. The first is through a retainer. The lawyer will bill you for every hour that he spends working on your case. He will also bill you for any expenses incurred that are directly related to your case.
Retainers are obtained in advance and the lawyer keeps making deductions on the account. If the matter is settled before your money runs out, he will give you a cheque for whatever is left over. If the money runs out before the case is settled, you will be asked to put in some more.
The second way with which lawyers get paid is through contingency fees. This is mostly done in personal injury cases. The lawyer tells you how much of the award he gets to keep, with the balance coming to you. It can range from 25% to 40% (what he keeps). Any expenses that he incurs during the process are paid for by him; he recovers his money through the contingency. With this method of payment, it is in the best interests of the lawyer to win cases.
The third and last way to pay a lawyer is using a flat fee. This method is usually used for work that does not vary – a will or business incorporation are good examples.
It is important that before you contract a lawyer you agree on the terms of payment so that there are no surprises for you in the end.
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