How Much Does Hiring a Lawyer Cost?

How much does hiring a lawyer cost? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Hiring a lawyer can be astronomically expensive, particularly if they charge an hourly wage or retainer. Upfront attorney’s fees may leave you with nothing but a hefty attorney’s bill if you lose your case.

However, not all personal injury attorneys charge upfront. Morgan & Morgan’s fee is free. You only pay us if we win and recover compensation for you. There are no out-of-pocket fees or unexpected legal expenses. We understand that our injured clients have enough on their plates with bills and expenses stacking up while they may be unable to work and earn a living.

Morgan & Morgan believes you deserve the best legal representation and should not have to pay a dime upfront for it. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.

How Do Lawyers Bill Their Clients?

Law firms can bill their clients in various ways, including hourly fees, retainers, and contingency agreements. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, a “no-win-no-fee” agreement. Read on to learn how much it costs to hire a lawyer.

Hourly Rate

Charging an hourly rate is a common way for attorneys to bill clients. Typically, the lawyer and client agree on the hourly rate before the lawyer starts working on the case.  
Attorneys working with an hourly rate bill their clients for the time they spend on the case, which can include:

  • Reviewing case files
  • Filing papers in court
  • Gathering evidence
  • Time spent on discovery
  • Preparation work for depositions and hearings
  • Phone calls, emails, and correspondence
  • Filing a lawsuit
  • Preparing your case for trial

Depending on the complexity and length of a claim, hourly fees can quickly become unaffordable for clients. Moreover, rates can vary depending on the attorney’s expertise and location, with the most successful lawyers commanding a high hourly rate. While some attorneys charge $100-$400 per hour, highly specialized attorneys and prestigious law firms can charge up to $1000 for an hour’s work.


Many attorneys require clients to pay a “retainer” up front, a large down-payment, before they begin working on the case. Once they start working on your behalf, the attorney will deduct their hourly fees and expenses from the retainer. The size of such down payments can vary from one law firm to another. However, they are typically sizable and can be $3,000-$5,000 or more.

In complex cases, fees and expenses quickly exceed the initial retainer, and you may have to pay another considerable sum. If you lose your case or have to walk away from your lawsuit, you may not get any money back, even if some of it is unused.

Contingency Fee

Many personal injury firms offer to handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning the client does not pay an attorney’s fee until the case is resolved in their favor. If you lose your case, you do not have to pay any attorney fees. However, if you win, your attorney is entitled to a percentage of the final recovery amount, which is typically around a third of the settlement. A contingency agreement allows individuals who may not have the funds to pay upfront attorney’s fees to hire an attorney and fight for justice and compensation.

Beware of Legal Expenses

While contingency agreements can be advantageous, some attorneys ask claimants to pay for legal expenses out of their own pockets. Such costs can be considerable and include:

  • Court filing fees
  • Pulling official documents
  • Expert witness fees
  • Deposition expenses such as transcription costs
  • Travel expenses

Depending on the length and complexity of your claim, legal expenses could become burdensome and amount to thousands of dollars.

Flat Fee

Some attorneys handle simple and well-defined claims for a flat fee. Examples of cases involving flat fees can include immigration proceedings, bankruptcy filings, uncontested divorces, and estate matters. The flat fee typically covers the entire case from start to finish.

Can Paying Upfront Attorney’s Fees Be a Mistake?

Attorneys working with hourly fees or retainers get paid either way and may lack the motivation to fight vigorously for what you deserve. Moreover, they may take on your case despite unlikely success. Paying upfront fees could leave you with the worst of both worlds if you lose your case: sitting on your injury costs and attorney’s fees.

However, if a law firm agrees to take your case on a contingency basis, you most likely have a good chance of winning. Attorneys working with contingency do not accept claims they believe have a low probability of success. After all, the attorney is prepared to work for free until and unless they win. Moreover, they take the financial risk, not you, as your lawyer could end up working for free.

Ask Which Costs You Are Responsible for If You Lose the Case

Perhaps the most crucial question to ask your prospective attorney is what costs you have to shoulder if you lose the case. Losing your case can be a blow. However, getting landed with an unexpected attorney’s bill can be an even bigger shock. Before agreeing to hire an attorney, make sure you know all potential costs, whether you win or lose the case. Walk away from an attorney who evades your questions.

Morgan & Morgan Charges Nothing Upfront

At Morgan & Morgan, we care about you and want you to win. Our biggest motivation is seeing you receive what you deserve so you can put your life back together. We know that injured victims may not have the means to pay thousands in fees or legal expenses. However, that should never stop them from demanding justice.

When we take your case, you do not have to worry about how much hiring a lawyer costs because you pay nothing out of your pocket. Contact us now to find out in a free consultation how we could help you win the compensation you deserve.