Criminal Defense in Orange County

Case of the Month: Attorney Fees

One of the most important considerations confronting people searching for legal counsel is the attorney fees. The amount of fees as well as the payment schedule varies from attorney to attorney. A client must fully understand these financial considerations in order to retain the best representation as well as to avoid any future misunderstandings.

Unlike the purchase of tangible goods (e.g., cars, televisions, or the like), all attorneys are different. The old saying "you get what you pay for" is true, but only partially. Many factors are taken into consideration when an attorney quotes a fee. Some of these factors are: time involved, special knowledge and severity of the case. These are logical considerations. However, there may also be more obscure reasons. One may be the attorney's time availability. That is, if an attorney is very busy and has little time to spare, he/she may quote a very high fee because he/she doesn't care if he/she gets the business.

On the other hand, if a lawyer is new with a relatively low caseload, he/she may charge a very low fee to get the business. On occasion, an attorney with no experience in a particular field will charge a very high fee because he/she knows that it will take extra time to get knowledgeable in the field. Also, some high volume law firms charge a low fee because they need a high turnover rate to make a profit. These high volume offices are often called "mills".

It can be very difficult for a person seeking legal assistance to know which of the above is going on. It is, therefore, important for a person to take a few precautions to avoid any financial miscues.

  • First: Ask about the attorney's knowledge and experience…the more, the better.
  • Second: Ask about the length of representation. Is it through negotiation or through trial? Some attorneys charge through trial, which is good if you go through trial; if not, this may be a waste of money.
  • Third: Are there any motions included? Most attorneys do not include motions because not every case requires a motion.
  • Fourth: Will this attorney be doing the work? If you're paying for them, maybe you want them handling your case personally and not an inexperienced attorney.
  • Fifth: Is all of the money needed up front or can there be some type of payment plan?

In these times of extreme economic turmoil, everyone wants to get the most out of their money. Attorneys are expensive. The amount spent on an attorney should be high enough so competent counsel will want to undertake representation, but low enough to avoid undue economic hardship. Although the value of good counsel will always be readily apparent at the end of a case, these few suggestions will allow you to see it at the beginning.

Contact the Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. Put his 30 years of experience and knowledge to work for you.