Detention Fees

Detention Fees

Before hiring an Illinois attorney, you should always have an honest and frank discussion about how they will be paid. The attorney’s billing method, as well as rates, depend on the time spent working on your case, as well as the nature of your legal problem and the reputation and experience of the attorney. Fee types are hourly, fixed or contingency.

A retainer fee is a set amount of money that you pay upfront and upfront to an attorney. The attorney places this money in a special trust account and deducts service costs from that account as it accumulates.

This type of fee is usually used when the legal bill is high and the lawyer needs to do ongoing work. Common practice areas that use retainer fees are family law and criminal law, although many other hourly cases also use them. Basically, the retention fee works like a debit card. You pay an upfront amount and the lawyer takes that money when they do work. For example, if you give an attorney $2,500.00 and they charge $250.00 per hour, you have paid up front for 10 hours of their time. Usually after they work enough hours to get through the retention fee, they will ask you for more money. Holding fees are usually refundable. In other words, if you fire your attorney or the case ends, any money that wasn’t billed must be returned to you.

Be sure to ask lots of questions and read the written agreement you have with your attorney so you know exactly what its terms are. For example, the attorney may add interest or other charges to unpaid amounts in the future. Likewise, if you decide to drop a case your attorney worked on before the retainer fee has been spent, you can forfeit the balance. If your matter needs to go to court, additional fees may also be required.

In addition, I strongly recommend that you ask your attorney to provide a monthly statement of the work they do. We’ve seen too many cases where a client doesn’t talk about the work their attorney billed for for many months, only to get a call or email one day saying the retainer is missing and the client has to pay several thousand any more or the Illinois attorney they hired will withdraw from the case. By receiving a monthly invoice, you can keep up with the work your attorney is doing and track what their work is costing you.

No matter how you choose to compensate an attorney, we cannot stress enough that you should get any agreement you have with them in writing.

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