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What Is a Private Lawyer Likely To Cost?

If you are involved in a court case of any kind, the first thing you should do is hire an attorney. This is very common advice, but it does not take into account that many people feel that they cannot afford to hire an attorney. It is no secret that lawyers can be very expensive. Luckily, there are options available to you, or anyone else who cannot afford legal representation. On top of exploring these options, this short guide will give you a better idea of what a private attorney is likely to cost.

Legal Aid Options

If you simply cannot afford an attorney, what are your options? In most areas, there are several legal aid services offered for little or no cost to the client, including:

  • Public defenders – If you are the defendant in a criminal case, you have the right to a free attorney no matter what jurisdiction you are in. These professionals are called public defenders.
  • Legal clinics – Many areas have establishments that function similarly to health clinics, but for legal advice and simple legal services.
  • Pro bono attorneys – The American Bar Association encourages every attorney to provide 50 hours of free legal services per year. This means you may be able to find an attorney willing to take your case for no cost.

Private Attorney Costs

If you hire a private attorney, there is one last aspect that will affect the cost: Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in the case. If you are the defendant, then you will probably be asked to pay your attorney by the hour, as well as some flat fees.

If you are the plaintiff, however, then it is very common for the attorney to ask for no compensation unless the trial is won. If that happens, the lawyer will take a percent of the amount won, usually about 30%. This may sound like a lot, but you have to remember that the attorney is taking on a huge risk by taking the job with no initial payment. Additionally, the lawyer will often pay for court costs out of his or her own pocket.

Ignoring this possibility, what should you expect to pay for an attorney? The cost varies depending on your location and size of your case. For an average case, however, attorneys can be hired for anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. You will always be able to browse for a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA that matches your financial situation.


Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense and the cost of a private lawyer.



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