The Cost of Representation
Of course, one of the first questions a potential client often asks is “how much?” This is a very important question, and will certainly be a factor in your decision on who to hire.
In North Carolina, lawyers are permitted to charge flat fees, and most criminal lawyers charge flat fees for their work. A flat fee is just what it sounds like- a certain dollar amount that encompasses the entire representation (or the portion of representation you are contracting with the lawyer for). This is in contrast to the system most are familiar with, where a lawyer obtains a “retain” from the client and then charges the client from this “retainer” (which typically remains the client’s money until earned by the lawyer) using an hourly rate for their services. If the lawyer runs out of the retainer money, he or she returns to the client for more money.
With a flat fee, you know from the beginning how much your representation will cost you. You pay the lawyer, typically all up front, and then the lawyer represents you.
So how does the pricing work? Many potential clients believe I have certain prices for certain charges- a DWI costs X, a Felony Larceny costs Y. That is not entirely how it works. I have general ranges of what I charge for certain types of cases, but a lot of how I quote a fee depends on your specific case. Essentially, I am assessing your case to estimate how many hours I will spend on it to determine an appropriate fee.
Occasionally, a potential client who has already spoken to another lawyer will ask me why my fee is less than or greater than another lawyer’s fee. Every lawyer has their own way of pricing the case. I can never answer why another lawyer priced the case they way they did.
Like everything else in life, the cost of representation is a factor you should consider in determining who to hire. But it should be balanced with other factors- the lawyer’s reputation, the lawyer’s responsiveness to your initial inquiry, the lawyer’s level of experience, and your personal comfort level with the lawyer.
If you are interested in the Law Office of Kellie Mannette, PLLC and would like to know how much it would cost to be represented by us, give us a call!
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