04 Dec 18

What if I can’t afford to pay the legal fees up front?

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The law is complicated and can be highly confusing. Any kind of dispute from a divorce to the decision to write out a will may require multiple meetings with law enforcement officials. Under such circumstances, all parties in question may be best served with help from a lawyer. Lawyers serve many functions. They offer legal counsel pertaining to the person’s specific issues. They help provide specific documents that are legal documents and can be enforced in the courts. They also help with other aspects of the legal system. For example, they can explain in plain language what a judge meant with a certain ruling. Working with a lawyer is often a crucial part of working within the court system. However, sometimes, even though the person really need legal help, they may not have the funds on hand right now. In that case, it’s important to keep in mind the kind of options that might be available for help from the legal community.

How Lawyers are Paid

While there are many forms of payment for legal service, in general the way lawyers are paid breaks down into only a few types of payment. A lawyer may agree to take on a case in return to funds after it is won. This is common in cases where monetary issues may be at risk. For example, a person may have a lawsuit against a corporate for discrimination. The lawyer may agree to take the case up front for no money right now. However, they will take a share of any award or court settlement. The lawyer may also be paid via what is known as a retainer. A retainer is a sum of money the person agrees to pay up front. The lawyer draws on the retainer as they continue their work. A lawyer may also agree to work for a client on an hourly fee basis. Any form of legal counsel should make it clear what kind of fees they charge up front. They should also make clear what other kinds of fees may be charged as any case continues such as fees for a private investigator and the use of a paralegal.

Delayed Payment Methods

Delayed payment methods are quite common when it comes to legal help. For example, someone may be involved in a serious divorce case that requires a great deal of legal help to settle. The divorce may have multiple issues at stake such as child custody, help with the dividing of existing property and assistance with deciding how to divide any existing pension funds. One party may be have far better access to legal resources than the other party. One person may be a doctor with lots of ability to pay for legal help up front while their former partner has been a stay at home mom. In that case, the stay at home parent may not have the immediate resources they need in order to get effective legal counsel. However, once the case is ultimately settled, she will have access to all kinds of funds that can be used as she sees fit. Under those circumstances, the lawyer may agree to work with her right now for reduced funds that she pays in small installments until she’s able to pay them back the lawyer in full with the money she gets in a divorce settlement.

Many Types of Solutions

For those who need help but cannot pay right now, there are lots of potential solutions. A lawyer may agree to a plan that allows the client to pay small amounts over time until the case is resolved. A lawyer may also agree to work pro bono. A pro bono case is a case where the lawyer chooses to work for the client for free. Many law firms have a specific part of the practice dedicated to this kind of case. The goal is to give back to the community and make it a better place. Under all circumstances, it is best to be up front about any fiscal issues. The lawyer should know that the person does not have the funds to pay them right now. In that case, it may be helpful to consider shopping around. A person in search of legal counsel should investigate their options. Many lawyers are happy to consult with potential clients for a small initial fee. This allows both parties to see if they can offer the legal help the person with their case.

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