Lawyer Terms You Should Know

Before you hire a lawyer, it is in your best interest to have a working knowledge of the legal terms you will likely encounter. Hiring a lawyer can be intimidating if you have never dealt with the legal world before; you may be unsure of how fees are calculated or what it takes to arrive at a settlement. Here are some terms that can help you find the lawyer for your case.

Contingency Fee Agreement

You should be aware of the fees your lawyer will charge for his or her services. A contingency fee agreement is one type of arrangement that can be useful for people who have a low income. A lawyer may charge a few hundred dollars for an initial fee. Apart from this, the lawyer only requires payment after you receive an award or settlement. In the typical contingency fee arrangement, a lawyer will take 30 to 40% of a settlement.

Settlement Offer

A settlement offer is a part of legal negotiations. When you are not sure whether you want to proceed to trial for a lawsuit, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer for negotiations. A lawyer can negotiate with the opposing party and may be able to achieve a settlement offer for your case. You can decide whether you want to accept the offer and avoid going to trial. You should be aware that if you accept a settlement offer, it will be binding. You will be unable to reverse your decision. A lawyer can help you decide whether it is in your best interest to accept a settlement offer or proceed to trial in an attempt to increase the award amount you'll ultimately receive.

Billable Hours

Billable hours are used by large law firms to calculate the ultimate fee that you owe for legal services. You should ask a firm for a calculation of billable hours on a regular basis. This can help you stay updated on the status of your case. You can see whether an attorney is doing productive work for your case. If you are not satisfied with your lawyer's efforts, you may want to bring this up with his or her superiors.

Winning a legal case requires a great deal of investigation, and this in-depth research should start with you looking for a lawyer. Understanding legal terms like contingency fee plans, settlement offers, and billable hours can help you in your search.

Last Updated: December 21, 2015