The biggest question most people have when encountering a legal situation is, “How much is a lawyer going to cost?” 

It’s understandable that concerns about costs often keep people from seeking legal advice. Learning more about different fee structures can help you decide whether to hire a lawyer for the legal assistance you need.

Lawyers Charge Differently Based on Their Specialty

Most Georgia attorneys focus on one specific area of the law, such as family law and divorce, tax and business law, finance and estate planning, or personal injury. Each legal matter and field of law may charge fees differently because the services provided differ.

Almost all lawyers offer a free initial consultation or one at a lower cost than their usual rate. This isn’t required, though, so confirm the cost of a consultation before your appointment. 

A free consultation allows clients to see if the attorney is a good fit for their legal matter and the lawyer to determine whether the client has a valid case. This kind of consultation is beneficial and free of risk for both parties.

How Different Types of Lawyers Charge for Their Services 

Each Georgia law firm sets its own lawyer fees and determines how those fees will be paid, so if you need to know how much a particular lawyer costs, ask them directly. But here’s a rundown of the most common ways attorneys charge for services:

Contingency Fee

This model is used most often by personal injury lawyers, like those who handle car accidents. Essentially, a lawyer takes a client’s personal injury case, files a suit for damages against the at-fault party (or a claim against their insurer), and then charges the client only if they win or settle the case.

Attorney’s fees in these situations are assessed as a percentage of the final award, about 30-35% in most cases, and the lawyer gets paid only if they successfully settle or win the case. Although one-third of a compensatory award may seem steep, consider that the lawyer provides all resources up front, including:

  • Their time and expertise
  • Court fees and filing fees
  • Paying for an independent investigation and depositions
  • Fees for expert witnesses

And keep in mind that if the lawyer loses the case, they don’t get paid.

Hourly Fees

Many types of lawyers charge by the hour – the more complex and time-consuming your case is, the more work the attorney does on your behalf and the more their services cost. Legal fees may be higher than one would think, ranging from $150 for a new lawyer up to $500 for an attorney with decades of experience and knowledge.

In these fee arrangements, a client pays a retainer, a deposit to the law firm, before the attorneys get to work. The funds are held in an escrow account, and the lawyer’s time is billed against the account. You receive a statement of the work done on your case. 

Some cases, like a divorce, may require only a single retainer deposit, while other types of lawyers, like a tax attorney or business attorney, may have clients who require ongoing legal services and pay monthly retainers.

Flat Fee

Attorneys who have a high volume of the same type of legal matter may have a flat fee for certain services. For example, estate planning lawyers may charge a set fee to draft a will or create a trust. 

Other flat-fee services typically include:

  • Representing a first-time DUI offender or other misdemeanors
  • Filing uncontested divorces
  • Filing a patent or trademark application
  • Conducting real estate closings

Flat fees are mostly for straightforward and uncomplicated legal matters.

Failing To Hire an Attorney Can Cost the Most

Many people are ill-equipped to navigate the justice system alone. The cost of not hiring a lawyer may be higher than you think and can significantly impact your future. 

Fortunately, in the context of a personal injury case, you don’t need any money upfront to hire a lawyer. Further, you’ll only owe them attorney’s fees if they obtain compensation for you.

For more information, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:

Hawk Law Group – Augusta, GA
338 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901, United States
(706) 722 3500

Hawk Law Group – Evans, GA
4384 River Watch Pkwy, Evans, GA 30809, United States
(706) 863 6500

Hawk Law Group – Thomson, GA
146 Railroad St A, Thomson, GA 30824, United States
(706) 361 0350

Hawk Law Group – Waynesboro, GA
827 Liberty St, Waynesboro, GA 30830, United States
(706) 437 9122

Hawk Law Group – Aiken County, SC
156 Laurens St NW, Aiken, SC 29801, United States
(803) 226 9089

We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.