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Attorney Fees

This page discusses the most common types of attorney fees used in lawyer-client agreements today.

Contingency Fee - an attorney fee based on the outcome or results obtained by the attorney for the client, usually expressed as a percentage (%) of the total recovery obtained by the lawyer.

Flat Fee - an attorney fee based on a set job or total services to be performed by the lawyer for the client, expressed as a flat or set total amount.

Hourly Fee - an attorney fee based on some set hourly rate, which is to be paid as work is performed by the lawyer for the client.

Hybrid or Mixed Fee - an attorney fee based on a combination of fees (above), which can include

- some hourly or flat fee in combination with a contingency fee
(for example, a reduced hourly rate plus some contingency fee)

- some hourly fee in combination with a flat fee
(for example, an houly fee with a maximum/cap, or a minimum flat fee for some services with hourly rates for others)


Note: Attorney fees should not be confused with "Retainers."

Retainers - an amount deposited with the attorney in order to secure payment of fees (above) as they are earned, or the lawyer's undivided "on-call" attention. Retainers are deposited and held in a special client trust account, which every lawyer maintains at a bank as required by the State Bar. Monies from the retainer are usually withdrawn as they are earned, after the lawyer sends the client an itemized statement of charges for services performed.


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