Understanding the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

may be less if you settle out of court and more if the case goes into appeals. Sometimes the firm pays expenses, but most often the client pays them. What’s left belongs to you. If a flat fee is charged, it will be easy for you to compare with other lawyers you will be interviewing. If your research has indicated that you are interviewing a well- respected lawyer, expect the fee to be larger. If the attorney thinks your case will likely be settled out of court, an hourly fee may be to your benefit. Here are some additional questions you can ask about fees: • How often will I be billed for expenses, and will the expenses be itemized? • If we enter a contingency agreement and lose, who pays expenses? • What expenses will I be paying for? Court fees? Depositions? Stenography? Paralegal services? Copying? Faxing? How are phone calls charged? • How many depositions do you think will be required? Why? How are they billed? • Do you require a retainer up front? If so, how much? What does it cover? If there is a remainder when the case is finished, do I get a refund? (The retainer usually is not more than 20% to 25% of the expected cost of the case.) If you have no further questions, thank the attorney for their time and tell them you will get back in touch after you have completed all your interviews. Making Your Decision After you have met with several attorneys, you will probably develop a sense about

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