- November 20, 2017
While there are a number of fixed, and thus, very predictable costs associated with a lawsuit (such as filing fees), the great unknown is the total cost it will take you to get from “point A” (the beginning of a lawsuit), to “point B” (a final, non-appealable judgment or order). The largest driving factor of cost is, of course, the attorney’s fee (if you do, in fact, hire an attorney). That total fee most often depends on how long the case takes because for most litigated cases, attorneys charge an hourly rate. The more work that is involved, the more time a case takes, and the larger the total fee. Therefore, the cost of litigation depends on a number of factors including but not limited to the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, the venue, and whether there are any appeals taken in the case.
For many litigated cases, an attorney will usually charge her client an initial “retainer” fee. The retainer fee will vary depending on the location of the attorney’s practice and the attorney’s level of experience. (In our firm’s location, the retainer most often varies from $2500 to $7500.) From that retainer, the attorney will deduct the fees that she charges for her hourly time billed to the case. If the retainer is exhausted before final resolution of the case, the attorney will usually then bill the client each month for the time she has worked on the case.