Attorney’s Fees – How to Avoid Large Legal Bills

Most attorneys make a good living and they do so by charging attorney’s fees. This begs the question, what exactly are attorney’s fees and what should I know about attorney’s fees before I hire a lawyer? This article describes the different types of attorney’s fees and provides a number of tips for determining which type of attorney fee is best for you.

  • A Few Minutes at a Time: The Hourly Attorneys Fee
  • Most attorneys charge hourly rates. Hourly rates are usually calculated by tracking hours in one, six, or ten minute increments. Some attorneys may even use hour increments. The rate attorneys charge per hour varies greatly based on the location of the attorney, the type of work to be performed, and the time required. It is not uncommon for specialized attorneys to charge in excess of $600 per hour. Most attorneys charge an hourly rate closer to $300 per hour. While hiring an attorney who charges higher hourly rates may sound ludicrous, clients should understand that a specialist may be able to perform work much faster than a non-specialist. This is especially true if the non-specialist will have to bill a significant amount of hours to get up to speed on a legal matter.

  • One Successful Legal Issue at a Time: The Contingent Attorneys Fee
  • Contingent attorney’s fees are also common. These fees are based on the success of the attorney in the legal matter. They are usually calculated using a set percentage. For example, a personal injury attorney may charge a contingency fee equal to 40 percent of any lawsuit recovery. These fees can routinely range from 30 to 60 percent. Contingency fees may encourage the attorney to use his best efforts to resolve the matter. If they extend to settlements reached before the lawsuit ends, contingency fees may also encourage the attorney to settle the matter for any amount in the beginning of the case. In this case the attorney will have performed little work and in exchange for earning a fee – albeit a smaller fee that he may have earned for putting in more effort.

  • One Legal Issue Regardless of Outcome: The Flat Attorneys Fee

Flat fees are less common for attorneys. These fees consist of specified payment or payments denominated in a dollar amount. These fees can vary significantly, but they should relate to the attorney’s estimation of how much time the case will take plus a profit component. Thus, a matter that will probably take ten hours for an attorney whose hourly rate is $300 per hour, might be offered by the attorney at $3,500.

Flat fees can help clients budget for legal costs, but they do have some drawbacks. Because they are not tied to the outcome of the case, the attorney may end up working faster and not smarter. Also, the attorney may be tempted to compartmentalize the job and charge a separate flat fee for each component. This can end up costing the client more than the contingent or hourly attorney fees they would have otherwise paid.

Conclusion

Clients should consider these options in deciding which attorney to hire. Ultimately, it is up to the client to negotiate an attorney fee payment arrangement that they are comfortable with. Most attorneys will be receptive to this type of negotiation.

Common Mistakes Associated With Bankruptcy Attorney Fees

Bankruptcy attorney fees differ when filing for bankruptcy. Different fees will be charged by lawyers for the two types of insolvency i.e. chapter 7 and chapter 13. Moreover, if the debtor can somehow prove financial hardship then the bankruptcy attorney fees can be completely waived off. The most common mistake that many people make when dealing with an attorney is that they simply accept any level of fees that the attorney quote for them in order to secure their services. Many will not ask questions or request the attorney to justify the fee. The efficiency of the attorney in dealing with your case should be questioned and should be in line with the insolvency attorney fees being demanded.

Clients who have filed for insolvency and are looking for a good attorney who will represent them in the best way possible will also make the big mistake of paying the bankruptcy attorney fees using their credit card. This is because they assume that the credit card debt has been wiped out. If the transaction is successful, the creditor might claim that the debtor had the money all along and was even able to meet the bankruptcy attorney fees. He might claim that the debtor filed for insolvency so as to avoid paying the debt and this might impact negatively on your case. The best thing that you can do is to agree on some sort of payment plan with the lawyer so as to avoid such problems.

You should disclose every last detail including all of your assets and financial state to your attorney. There are people who file for insolvency so that they can avoid foreclosures, repossessions, and wage garnishes. Hiding the assets that you would wish to retain from your lawyer will only lead to the eventual loss of these pieces of property. Your attorney will be in a better position to advise you about the situation and give you all the solutions that will help you make a favorable decision if you give him/her more information. Attorney fees will probably incorporate this fact.

The bankruptcy attorney fees should be one of the top priorities of the debtor and he/she should realize that if he/she is able to pay or disburse his debts adequately then the bankruptcy attorney fees will not be difficult for you to manage. You will be able to pay the fee within no time and ultimately be able to service your debts as per the agreement between the debtor and creditors.

Experienced attorneys will normally give the client time to sort out his finances before pressuring him on bankruptcy attorney fees. The less experienced attorneys will want to receive a small deposit of their fees before commencing the job. The major portion of the bankruptcy attorney fees should be retained to pay to the attorney once the job has been done. Any attorney who states otherwise is most often not a very experienced attorney and might not be able to adequately represent you when it comes to your case. Bankruptcy attorney fees can be managed very well if both parties can agree.

The issue of bankruptcy attorney fees is quite sensitive especially if insolvency has left the client in financial ruins. A clear way forward in terms of attorney payment should be agreed upon. The bankruptcy attorney fees might be quite high and it is need to manage it effectively. Most attorneys will want a written guarantee that you will be able to pay them for representing you. If you are unable to pay the insolvency fees, then it is important to discuss it with the attorney so that you can both reach an agreement which is favorable to everyone.

6 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Forclosure Attorney

The 2008 financial crash put a lot of people out of work. It hurt business owners, emptied personal savings, destroyed American home values and lead to massive foreclosures.

What Many Homeowners Don’t Know

The crony network of big banks, financial institutions, government, politicians, the courts, and their corporately owned media have used propaganda, lies and spin doctors to convince Americans that naïve and greedy homeowners crashed the global credit markets in 2008.

They blamed the crash and current economic chaos on homeowners who bought too much house. Yes, some mortgagers made some people believe they could buy more home then they could afford. However, the blame here is often misleading.

Why? Obscene broker commissions were a big part of originating mortgages. Banks were on a tear to bundle, securitize, sell and re-sell mortgages. It lead to irregular mortgage practices.

The bigger truth has been revealed that there are no mortgages to back the mortgage-backed securities. Thus former treasury secretary Hank Paulson told taxpayers, “We must bail the banks out, or else everything will collapse.”

Iceland Let Their Banks Collapse

In fact, Iceland arrested the financial offenders and put in actual safeguards to restore the capital markets and consumer confidence. We in America got the toothless Dodd-Frank bill that makes it appear legislators are minding the store.

Banking and the financial industry needed major reforms. Instead, after the Wall Street financial crash our American banks actually got 38% BIGGER!

Too Big to Fail and Too Big to Jail

Today banks are bigger than before the economic crash and the Dodd-Frank bill does nothing significant to keep Wall Street from trashing the economy again.

Insanity is doing the same thing you’ve been doing but expecting a different result.

Fast forward and today, these quasi-patriotic cronies continue the lies and prop up the fraud on the taxpayer’s dime. They brazenly continue to cover up their partners’ crimes while still receiving a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers without impunity.

Can You Name One Banker That Went to Jail?

By the way, in 2008 that 800 billion dollar bail out has turned into trillions out the back door of the Federal Reserve straight into bank coufers.

What few Americans realize is that crony capitalists who fleeced institutional investors out of $17+ Trillion, clouded the title on all the mortgages they originated and supposedly sold on the secondary market.

They stole our pension money, wiped out savings and now they’re still after your home. In fact, more than 4.9 million homeowners were foreclosed since the Wall Street crash and there’s more on the way.

American’s need help staying in their home. If the banks and servicers won’t deliver then where do homeowners turn for guidance through this financial maze of fraud and corruption?

Many are programmed to think, “Lawyer, that’s what I need to stand up for me, to sort out the fraud, to keep my family from being kicked into the streets.”

Are Lawyers Best Suited to Standup For Homeowners?

As Americans we’ve been conditioned to believe that the only people who can help us navigate, legal matters are lawmakers and attorneys. Fortunately, in the realm of foreclosure law, there are a few good ones.

However, when it comes to ferreting out truth or fraud in your foreclosure, few attorneys (Real Estate attorneys included) are equipped or have any desire to fight as hard as a regular educated homeowner.

It’s a fact that no one will ever care more about saving your home than you. If staying in your home is not all that important, then most attorneys will do. But buyers beware.

How Do You Choose the Right Lawyer in Foreclosure Matters?

I’ve personally talked with hundreds upon hundreds of homeowners all across America who routinely pay from $1,000 to $30,000+ in attorney’s fees plus monthly retainers and still loose their home. This is more common than you’d think.

I ask homeowners, “What was the attorneys strategy? Was it to help you buy time until you are evicted or actually stay in your home?”

Many homeowners had not thought the end game through. How often do we hire attorneys? There are no Consumer Reports on America’s best foreclosure strategies, fighting bank fraud or attorneys.

Most Americans are busy trying to make a living, caring for loved ones, keeping their heads above water and would rather avoid the legal realms. Who can blame them?

So, unless new information is introduced it makes perfect sense that many homeowners don’t know what to ask to hire an attorney or figure out what makes one effective over the next.

When it comes to defending your home, the following basic questions will get most homeowners started.

The following six questions came from an interview with Justin James. He is the founder of The Foreclosure Relief Network, a company dedicated to helping homeowners stand up for their legal rights.

The company with its network of private investigators, paralegals and law firm was developed to educate and arm the American consumer with the information necessary to protect families and property against the unlawful actions of banks.

Mr. James emphasizes that “Every homeowner who suspects mortgage fraud or are in foreclosure or about to be, needs to be educated.

They need to know upfront if an attorney will work on your behalf or instead see you as a tool to collect fees while they stall things off in court. By asking these basic but key questions, this is knowable.”

You want to interview an attorney just like you would choose a doctor, dentist, CPA or a contractor to work on your home. You want a good fit.

Write Your Questions Down

Mr. James suggests that before you phone or visit an attorney in person, have your questions written down and refer to them.

6 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Attorney to Get a Modification or Defend Your Home Against Banks

  1. Do you feel that the banks and their servicers commit mortgage security and/or foreclosure fraud? (Yes) Correct answer.
  2. Do you believe that if a bank shows up with a piece of paper that alleges it’s the original Note-do you still believe there’s a chance of winning court? (Yes)
  3. Are you willing to challenge the banks claim of ownership of the note, mortgage, chain of title, etc.? (Yes)
  4. Are you willing to cross exam a witnesses? (Yes)
  5. Will you challenge and call a robo-signer as a witness? (Yes)
  6. Are you willing to be that attorney at the party that went up against the big bankers or challenged a court that seems to lean in favor of big banks? (Yes)

If you get so much as one “no” to the above questions then be aware, your situation may be at cross-purposes with this particular attorney.

To the few that are actually competent and not bluffing their way into your back pocket, these basic but telling questions are not difficult to answer.

Other than the details of your situation, each question does not require you as homeowner to expound any further. Either they know it or they don’t. Either they believe banks can do no wrong or believe in justice for homeowners.

When to Walk Away

Bottom line is that if the attorney interviewed is…

  • Not comfortable breaking down your chain of title if necessary
  • Does not believe the bank is ever wrong about a note or mortgage
  • Not willing to challenge the bank or the courts
  • Not willing to cross examine a witness…

Then why are you there? Why should they take your money? Don’t give them a dime Pack your bags and find another attorney or other expert to interview. Consider…

Who’s Paying Your Bill?

You are paying the attorney for a service. You wouldn’t go into a car dealership and say…

“I’ve got $400 a month to spend on a vehicle. Just give me whatever you got to drive.”

You’d be surprised how many people would accept poor treatment when it comes to attorneys. Why?

Because some homeowners are intimated and think, the lawyer knows more. That’s usually true about civil law matters. That’s when a good educated attorney makes sense.

But when it comes to foreclosure, commercial law and challenging the banks-think again. I would challenge you to think outside the box.

Defend Yourself? Really?

Others will say, “YES BUT you can’t defend yourself against fraud or a foreclosing bank. You must have an attorney.” Many homeowners felt that way in the beginning. However…

We now know plenty of average homeowners who’ve been educated and succeeded with the guidance of companies like The Foreclosure Relief Network.

But, what few homeowners at first realize is that attorneys are not traditionally schooled in banking and finance.

In fact, I’ve interviewed some well informed average homeowners who educate their attorneys.

You Deserve to Know What You are Getting for Your Time and Money

If your prospective attorney is the real deal, they will understand your need to interview. That’s why it’s important to know…

  • What does the attorney actually believe about banks and foreclosure?
  • Make them lay their cards on the table. Time is of essence.

You simply want to insure that you are investing your energy and money wisely into a winning strategy and NOT prolonging what many attorneys feel is an inevitable foreclosure.

It’s a little known fact that if you, as a homeowner are educated and have a complete and correct strategy then foreclosure is NOT always inevitable.

Follow The Money

If you hire an attorney that did not adequately answer these questions, then be advised you, your family and your home may be taken for a professional ride.

According to Mr. James extensive experience with homeowners, banks and courts across America, rare is the attorney who will answer your call, who will fight banks on behalf of your homeowner and constitutional rights.

Most attorneys will not intentionally do you harm because they genuinely believe what they believe. That banks can do no wrong is just part of their many years of education and training.

As important, attorneys take an oath to protect corporations. It’s what they do.

That said… put yourself in the attorney’s shoes for just a minute. They have a lot of competition. A title, though impressive is no guarantee of success. They are businessmen and women and for many economic times are tough like many homeowners.

Yes, attorneys enjoy a measure of prestige but that doesn’t pay the bills. Like you and I, they have to make a living or find a way to survive. Just make sure it’s not at your expense.

Who Has More Money? Influence?

A homeowner called Mr. James and was livid because he spent over $7,500 on an attorney who believed that his counsel had defected to the bank side.

Even with documented fraud (common today) as the centerpiece of his defense against the bank, this homeowner lost his home.

The homeowner asks, “Who’s got more money here? The Big American Bank or me as homeowner?”

Do you think you’ll ever see this homeowner’s story on the evening news? It’s not likely. Remember who owns and controls media, advertising and reporting.

Of course I don’t expect you to believe any of this. Check it out for yourself.

Bank Walks Away

Speaking of a good homeowner story, while working on this article one of Mr. James clients called about Quiet Title action which forces a bank to produce valid documents.

The banks have to prove they have ownership before they can foreclose. In today’s heavily securtized financial system that’s more and more difficult for banks to validate unless they manufacture documents from thin air. This is known as robo-signing and yes, it’s illegal.

Gary is out of the Midwest. He applied several times for a modification and then found himself in foreclosure. He suspected bank fraud. Gary began looking and found a young and hungry attorney out of law school.

The attorney had not yet adopted “a bank can do no wrong” attitude. However, the first hurdle was overcoming this attorney’s lack of knowledge on foreclosure fraud, banking and securitization, etc.

Remember few attorneys have this profound knowledge, seek it out or even believe it’s possible to help a homeowner to win. It’s not taught in law school.

To compensate, Gary began working with Mr. James to gain the education, knowledge, legal templates and strategies. This also saved him thousands of dollars in attorney’s research fees.

Gary reported that his homework paid off and the bank walked away. Finding a lawyer willing to listen was the exception in this case. However, keep in mind that…

The Courts Are Available to All Homeowners

Remember, you as an American citizen have constitutional rights.

An attorney is not the only way to stand your ground against bad behaving banks. In fact there are far more effective strategies homeowners can and do take every day.

The majority of homeowners do not realize that with the right kind of education they can in fact represent themselves in court. It’s referred to as Pro Se’, a petitioner or simply an American citizen. Often it’s an effective option. Here’s why.

The fact is that the courts cannot hold a regular homeowner to the same standard as they do lawyers. It turns out that with an effective strategy, presented properly, defending yourself against banks often leads to settlements.

Mr. James reports that he sees it everyday and as the courts become more educated, the tides are shifting in favor of homeowners.

Some homeowners combine the idea of Pro Se’ (without an attorney) along with private mortgage investigations to uncover irregularities that stop foreclosures.

Bottom Line-Trust Your Gut

Remind yourself that if your home is worth defending then no one will ever fight for your home like you can.

After interviewing the attorney, if you can’t say yes, then SAY NO FOR NOW.

Keep looking. If the attorney doesn’t feel right-move on. There are viable alternatives. Do your homework.

Finally, if you have a compelling enough why and are willing to do a little legwork, then there are resources that can help you to learn how to stay in your home and prevail even without an attorney.