Hourly Rate Fee Agreements

Hourly Rate Fee Agreements 

Hourly rate fee agreements are probably the most common type in family law cases. In an hourly rate agreement, the attorney bills the client at a set hourly rate for his or her time. In a family law firm, the retainer may provide different rates for different attorneys. For example, partner rates may be different from associate rates and even associate rates may vary depending on whether the associate is a managing associate or not.

Hourly rates typically range from $250-$300 per hour on the lower end and as much as $600 or more per hour on the higher end. Our experience is most family law firms have cookie-cutter rates for all types of cases rather than customize rates for individual cases.

For example, our family law firm does not charge the same rate for every kind of case. If the case is especially complex and will be very time intensive, the hourly rate will likely be higher than a case that is simple and far less time intensive.

The fee agreement may also include rates for non-attorneys. These rates can also be different depending on the non-attorney’s title and experience.

Hourly rate fee agreements must be in writing if the attorney expects the fees will meet or exceed $1000. Some hourly rate agreements are specific and detailed. We believe these agreements should be both specific and detailed so the agreement answers the great majority of any client's questions. Our family law firm has reviewed retainer agreements by other lawyers and I am rarely impressed by the specificity or detail the other fee agreements provide. It is no wonder clients represented by those lawyers are often confused by that attonrey’s billing practices.

Our firm's hourly rates for attorneys range between $300 per hour to $450 per hour. Our hourly rates for non-attorneys ranges between $100-$200 per hour. Hourly rates are mostly based on the case's complexity and necessary time commitment.  

Hourly rate fee agreements also typically contain a retainer deposit. This retainer deposit also depends on the case's complexity. For example, the case that requires urgent attention and urgent work may include a higher initial retainer deposit while a case without urgent work may require a lesser deposit.

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