When you hire a lawyer to represent you, it is important to have a clear written fee agreement. This agreement should spell out the cost of the legal representation, other expenses and cost of work to be done. This article and subsequent ones will discuss aspects that should be found in a lawyer’s fee agreement – other issues.
Most of the disputes that exist between lawyers and clients are over money. Specifically, it is over how much money the client owes the lawyer. In order to avoid these problems states require that there be written fee agreements between lawyer and client. Whether it is a requirement or not in your state you should get a written record. This should show what you have agreed to pay the lawyer to clarify the agreement.
Elements that must be present in a fee agreement include the following:
- Litigation costs
- Other issues
Other issues that should be addressed in the agreement include the following:
- The extent of representation – there needs to be clarity with regards to how far the lawyer will represent you. Will it be in all legal proceedings up to and including the trial? Or does the lawyer not handle appeal cases or other post-trial proceedings? As such the agreement should clarify the legal representation the lawyer will provide.
- Who is going to do the work? – the agreement should specify who will be the “lead counsel” in the case. And what will your lawyer handle personally?
- Working together – some agreements provide an explanation as to how the client and lawyer are expected to work together. For example, as a client you may state which decisions the lawyer can make alone and which require your approval. Or, the agreement may state that you will be honest and forthright with the lawyer always.
- The breakup of the relationship – some agreements provide information how each party can end the relationship. For example, it may say that the lawyer can quit at any time. Or that the lawyer can quite under specific circumstances.
Discuss extensively with an experienced lawyer about their fee agreement and the relationship to follow. Contact the Vinson Law Office today for a free first consultation.