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Signing an Attorney Fee Agreement: What You Can Expect?

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | May 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

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When you decide to retain a lawyer, you may wonder what you can expect from signing an attorney fee agreement. Lawyers expect to be paid for their services, but they may offer different fee structures and different rates. Fee agreements (also called retainers) include other information about clients' relationships with the lawyers too.

What Is an Attorney Fee Agreement?

An attorney fee agreement is a contract between a client and a lawyer that explains the scope of the relationship. It lays out which services the lawyer will perform for the client, and it says how much the client will pay in return. Most fee agreements also detail:

  • How the lawyer's fee will be calculated
  • Who pays for costs (such as postage or filing fees), and when they need to be paid
  • What the client must do when working with the lawyer (allow the lawyer to make strategic decisions, provide the lawyer with new information or change of contact information, etc.)
  • When and how the legal representation will end
  • What the lawyer and client should do if there is a dispute over fees

Each attorney's fee agreement is slightly different and includes different information that the client needs to know. You should read the agreement that your lawyer gives you carefully.

What Can You Expect After You Sign an Attorney Fee Agreement?

After you sign an attorney fee agreement, you have agreed to pay your lawyer for the services that he or she provides. Your lawyer should begin working on your case within the scope described in the fee agreement. You will need to uphold your end of the bargain, just as your lawyer should put in the work on your case that is described in the agreement.

For example, you may have agreed to pay a flat fee in exchange for your lawyer preparing several documents for your business. Or you may have agreed to pay your lawyer hourly for defending a lawsuit filed against you. Request an invoice explaining the fees that your lawyer is charging so that you understand what you are paying. Finally, if you have questions about the fee agreement – even after you sign it – be sure to speak to your lawyer.

To find out more about legal representation and fee agreements in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon the information contained in this website.  This website is designed for general information purposes only and the information provided should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

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