How Much Is A Typical Retainer For Legal Services?
First of all let's cover what a retainer actually is. A retainer is a fee paid in advance for legal services that may or may not be used. This being to help reach a half way point when engaging in a legal process or for a business that doesn't want to fay for a lawyer full time. Usually a small to medium business or person with a higher than average income status will have a lawyer on retainer. Anywhere from $1000- $5000 per month is paid on retainer. Are you able to get your retainer back? Typically a lawyer will either keep what wasn't used that month or let it roll over however you are able to get the retainer back if, for example. You are quoted $10,000 for legal work to be completed and are asked to pay a $2,000 retainer fee and at the end of the work it only cost $1,000 then you are entitled to the difference.
How Much Does A Lawyer Cost Per Hour?
If you are looking at hiring a lawyer one of the first things you will end up asking yourself is, how much does a lawyer cost?
Typically it's around $250 -450 per hour. So let's break that down and understand why they cost so much? First off, they're lawyers that give a free initial consultation and others that offer a no win, no fee agreement. On the other spectrum you have firms that can charge upwards of $1,000 per hour for a legal team to work a case. There are many reasons as to why these costs can be justified but the main take away here would be that if you need a lawyer be prepared to be expected to pay a decent amount of money to resolve an issue.
Do You Have To Pay A Lawyer Upfront?
The great news here is that for most law firms you will have a variety of options in how you would prefer to pay. This includes upfront, staggered payments, retainer or after completion of work. Some also do community work for free or at a heavily reduced rate called "Pro Bono". They also can agree to a variety of different payment methods from the typical payment of invoices, credit card, paypal or sometimes checks; to the more uncommon payment methods such as cryptocurrency. It's best to first speak to them first about what options you have and what would be suit your arrangement
What Is The Difference Between A Solicitor And A Lawyer?
In Australia someone who goes under the term "Lawyer" is anyone with a certificate to practice law. This would be someone who meets the prerequisites such as passing the bar, having practiced for the appropriate amount of time and be recognised as a legally practicing professional. This includes barristers, solicitors, judges and corporate counsel, the term is commonly used in reference to the first level being a solicitor.
Solicitor - A person who has a current certificate to practice law. This includes tasks such as providing legal advice, work in their specific field of study, preform legal tasks on your behalf, negotiate on your behalf but usually does not represent you in court. They are perfect for helping manage family related matters, drafting and signing wills and estates
and providing useful advice.
Barrister - A more advanced level of training in their specific area of law and has passed the bar examination. This type of lawyer is usually well versed in the area of representation in front of a judge in court. They are usually the next step up from a solicitor.
Judge - A judge will have risen up the ranks from solicitor to barrister and runs the court proceedings.
Corporate Council/ Queens Council - These are the top of the top lawyers that are seasoned professionals that have many decades under their belts. These are the sort of lawyers that are very highly respected and charge a price to match.
Why Is Self Representation In Court Not Recommended?
While the most basic cases in the court system (Small Claims) are by far the easiest for self representation it is the only one that you might seriously consider not seeking legal advice. This is because the outcomes aren't usually life changing, they aren't too expensive if you loose and you can do all the legal paperwork yourself. With this in mind, if you are going to court for any other reason such as for a civil or criminal case that can have a serious effect on your life, business and monetary situation then the best decision you can make would be hiring a lawyer. With all the benefits of hiring a professional to do the job such as managing time and legal documents, providing sound and accurate legal advice, understanding the lingo and court proceedings and knowing how to address the court and the almost guaranteed outcome of getting a better result. All of these upsides while also making the proceedings go 5 times faster
than if you were to be self represented. While yes, legal fees can quickly add up they are usually justified with heavily reducing potential fines, keeping your record clean and even keeping you out of jail.