Can a Lawyer Charge you Without a Contract? What you Need to Know
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The most straightforward answer to this question is yes, a lawyer can charge you without a contract. Accountability is essential in the field of law. And a contract helps to streamline all your dealings with the lawyer. But on the other hand, a lawyer can also charge you without a contract. We’ll elaborate more on this in the sections below.
Furthermore, a lawyer can charge you without a contract if extra fees are needed to compensate any extra lawyers working on your case. Also, you may incur some external charges for legal research if your case is peculiar and demands an expert in that area. But it’s best to speak with the lawyer and know the total bill you need to pay. This will prevent any surprises from springing up while on your case. Come along as we elaborate more on this below.
Why a Lawyer may Charge you Without a Contract
As earlier highlighted, a lawyer can charge you without a contract. Some major reasons for this include:
Payment of hourly fees
The first reason why a lawyer may charge you without a contract is due to the payment of hourly fees. For instance, the lawyer may decide to work with you on an hourly arrangement. At this point, he will need to charge you without a contract. The hourly rates for lawyers in the U.S. typically range from $80 to $600. Furthermore, paralegals who work on will also receive an hourly payment from you. This ranges between $30 to $70 per hour.
Once your arrangement for the hourly fee with your lawyer is set, the next step is to set up a payment schedule. This will help in preventing omissions or confusion along the line.
Fees for contingency
The payment of Fees for contingency can also cause your lawyer to charge you without a contract. This is valid, especially if you are a victim of personal injury. This arrangement provides much relief for underprivileged individuals who are short of funds to make upfront payments to their lawyers. With this arrangement, the lawyer will handle the case. In return, he will get his payment from the portion of funds the client gets at the end of the case. This arrangement usually favors many clients, as the lawyer will do his best to win the case. In addition, he’ll be without any payment if he loses the case.
Before proceeding on the case, it’s best to write out the percentage the lawyer will receive upon winning the case. In the U.S., the fees for contingency spans between 10% to 30%. Your lawyer may modify this percentage if the case proceeds into the trial phase.
Lawyers sometimes charge their clients for services through fixed charges rather than contracts. Through this means, attorneys usually request their clients pay a certain amount, depending on the case. This is usually popular with lawyers who handle diverse cases in a particular field of law.
Furthermore, if it’s difficult for you to handle the fixed charges of your attorney, you need to dialogue with him on a convenient range. If you need help finding common ground with the lawyer, it’s best to get a new lawyer before proceeding with the case.
Your attorney can also charge you without a contract if your case will require the payment of external fees. Some examples in this category include travel expenses, fees for filing the case, fees for witnesses, etc. If your lawyer works for you through contingency, he will deduct this from the final amount you get after winning the case.
A lawyer can charge you without a contract. On the other hand, every professional lawyer will value integrity above the fees you pay for his services. And on special occasions, they can proceed on a case without a contract. At this point, it’s best to proceed with caution. And if you feel uncomfortable working without a contract, you can ask your lawyer to set up one. This will help you to work with a focus.
Furthermore, the field of law is quite diverse. And many disputes usually occur due to financial disagreements between lawyers and clients. A contract usually goes a long way in fixing this issue. This is in addition to permitting only licensed lawyers to handle your case. But in the absence of one, it’s also best to seek advice from other professionals before proceeding. This will help you to avoid getting into legal hassles with your lawyer while working on your case.
- Carr, David C: Attorney Fees: Five Keys to Ethical Compliance: https://web.archive.org/web/20171002072725/https://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_index/solo_lawyer_ethics_fee_client_relationship.html
- Eisenberg, Theodore; Miller, Geoffrey P.; Attorney Fees in Class Action Settlements: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/facpub/356/
I’m a driven and accomplished law graduate and post-graduate, passionate about sharing my legal expertise via my blog. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of London (UK) and a Master’s in Law from the University of Derby (UK). Both gave me the foundational knowledge and skills to excel in my chosen career path.
Throughout my academic journey, I have gained extensive knowledge in various fields of Law, including Corporate and Business Law in the USA, Criminal Law, International Law, US Copyright law, and most importantly, American Constitutional law.