Case In Point

How Lawyers Bill

1. Hourly. This is the most common method used by lawyers. Some types of attorneys (such as business lawyers) bill on an hourly basis exclusively. With this method, your lawyer records the amount of time spent on your case, and the total time is then multiplied by the lawyer's hourly rate. Some lawyers keep time in quarter-hour increments, while others keep records of hours by tenths (six minutes).

2. Contingency. A contingent- fee arrangement calls for you, as the client, to pay your legal fees out of your damage award. If you lose your case, you only pay the costs of the suit and not any legal fees. The catch is that the attorney will be taking a large chunk (usually about 33 percent) of any money you collect if you win your case. Be aware that you may have to pay hard costs (such as filing fees, photocopying costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses) in a contingent-fee arrangement.

3. Fixed Fee. Under a fixed-fee arrangement, you hire your attorney to perform a legal task for a certain fee. Many business lawyers will handle routine business law functions, such as incorporating a business, for a fixed fee.

Contact Sources

Altman Weil Pensa Inc., 2 Campus Blvd., Newton Square, PA 19073, (610) 359-9900

Bentley Graphic Communications Inc., 1101 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, PA 19355, (610) 469-0100

Lentz, Cantor, Kilgore & Massey Ltd., 49 E. Lancaster Ave., Malvern, PA 19355, (610) 647-3310

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