Hourly Rate Fee Agreements Between Attorney and Client

Learn about hourly rate fee agreements between an attorney and a client

Hourly rate fee agreements do not have to be complicated.

The hourly rate agreement should be well written, easy to follow and the attorney should provide the client time to carefully review it and ask questions.

On this page, we will provide you with an overview of hourly rate fee agreements in family law cases.

How much are typical hourly rates for attorneys?

Hourly rates may significantly vary.

We have seen some lawyer's rates range from $200 to $1000 per hour. In 2021, our family law firm's hourly rates for attorney time range between $350 to $450 per hour. That is subject to change.

We are not cheap. Be careful of lawyers who advertise cheap hourly rates. As the expression goes, cheap is not good, and good is not cheap.

We are also not expensive. We have highly skilled attorneys and our senior lawyers come with over two decades of experience. Their rates as of the date we write this page are $450 per hour. We are aware there are other firms who have lawyers with the same or similar experience and charge more (sometimes much more) than that.

With our family law firm, it is value - reasonable rates for excellent work.

And our hourly rates for the non-attorneys at our firm (usually a paralegal or secretary) range between $100-$200 per hour. Such persons assist the lawyers with the documents and save our clients money.

Hourly rate agreements should be in writing

Graphic of signed contract

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. Unfortunately, some are not.

We believe these agreements should be both specific and detailed so the agreement answers the great majority of any client's questions.

An attorney should encourage his or her potential client to carefully read the retainer agreement before asking him or her to execute it.

Our family law firm has reviewed retainer agreements by other lawyers and I am rarely impressed by the lack of specificity or detail the other fee agreements provide.

It is no wonder clients represented by those lawyers are often confused by that attorney's billing practices.

Our family law firm's retainer agreements are specific and clear. If a potential client ever has questions, we are happy to answer them and we provide detailed answers to every question.

Hourly rate fee agreements also typically contain a section for a retainer deposit

This retainer deposit depends on the case's complexity.

For example, a 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.

We will use an example

If the retainer deposit on a case is $5,000, then that $5,000 is typically set aside in the client-trust account.

Think of the client-trust account like a secure piggie bank where the retainer deposit goes.

As the attorney or law firm work on the case and bill for their time, they will deduct money for their billing from that client-trust account.

The client should receive an itemized statement of the billing and how much is deducted from the client-trust account. A client typically receives this statement once per month.

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Do you need advice regarding your California family law case? Contact us by phone or email.

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