620 Newport Center Drive 11th FL , Newport Beach, CA. 92660
H. R. (Ted) Cromwell, III Attorney at Law
The Cromwell Law Offices
620 Newport Center Drive 11th FL Newport Beach, CA. 92660
O: 949-715-1013 M: 714-404-9622
"Mr. Cromwell really came to our rescue when my husband started harrassing me and my pregnant daughter each evening after drinking. He was able to have the court grant a Restraining Order for both of us and remove my husband from the premises with a court order for him to keep paying all expenses for the house, including the mortgage. We really feel safe now because of Mr. Cromwell".
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Legal services aren't cheap, and you should know how much you are willing to spend up front. Good representation may come at a steep, but not unreasonable, price. When you're shopping for legal services, always ask potential attorneys to fully explain their fees and billing practices. Don't hesitate to ask detailed questions and don't be embarrassed. A lawyer's willingness to discuss fees is an important indicator of client service.
What are typical fee arrangements?
Hourly rates are the most common arrangement. Under this arrangement, the attorney gets paid an agreed-upon hourly rate for the hours worked on a client's case or matter until it's resolved.
It depends on each attorney's experience, operating expenses, and the location of his or her practice. Cheaper isn't necessarily better when it comes to your legal protection. A more expensive lawyer with a lot of experience may be able to handle a complex problem more quickly. Also, an experienced attorney will be able to better estimate how many lawyer hours a particular matter will take to resolve.
Where a legal matter is simple and well-defined, lawyers typically charge a flat fee. Examples of flat fee matters include wills, uncontested divorces and simple bankruptcy filings. If an attorney suggests or has advertised a flat fee, be sure you understand exactly what that fee will and will not cover. The flat fee might not include expenses such as filing fees.
A retainer fee is typically, but not always, an advance payment on the hourly rate for a specific case. The lawyer puts the retainer in a special trust account and deducts from that account the cost of services as they accrue. During the course of legal representation, clients should review periodic billing statements reflecting amounts deducted from the retainer.
Most retainers are non-refundable unless labeled "unreasonable" by a court. If you decide to drop a case that your lawyer has worked on before the retainer has been exhausted, you may forfeit the remainder.
In certain types of cases, attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. Contingent means that the attorney takes no fee from the client up-front, but gets a percentage typically one-third (1/3) of the settlement or money upon judgment. Contingent fee arrangements are typical for:
Plaintiff's counsel in automobile accident lawsuits
Contingent fee arrangements in certain kinds of cases such as divorce, criminal cases, or child custody cases are prohibited.
How much can you expect to pay?
What About Expenses and Court Costs?
Keeping Track of Legal Fees
Get a fee agreement in writing. If an attorney is unwilling to put a fee agreement in writing, cross that attorney off your list. Some states require written fee agreements for most cases.
Ask your attorney to include in the fee agreement a provision for periodic, itemized billing. An itemized bill should list and describe all charges so that you can review them and compare them to your fee agreement.
You might want to arrange for a ceiling or limit on fees. You might also require your lawyer to get your approval before proceeding beyond a certain amount in legal costs. If you've hired an attorney to recover a $10,000 debt, you probably don't want to pay $8,000 in legal fees to resolve the matter.