The terms lawyer and attorney are often confused and used inappropriately to describe the individuals in these positions. The difference between an attorney and a lawyer is their ability to represent a client in court whether they are pleading or defending a case. An attorney has also taken and passed the bar exam, which dictates whether or not an attorney is able to practice law in court and act as legal representatives for clients. Anyone who studied law is considered a lawyer, however without passing the bar exam they are unable to provide legal aid and act as an attorney. The requirements of the attorney are to protect their clients’ interests and case by offering representation on their behalf. If their client has come against any legal issues it is the duty of the lawyer to defend the reputation and actions of there client in the case at hand, minimizing their clients’ difficulties as best they can.
Attorney’s are fairly expensive, as they are well aware that their professional knowledge and experience is not a matter of choice for a client. The rates they’ll charge, however, will gradually vary depending on the difficulty of the work and the amount of overtime they will have to spend on the case. An attorney will often charge their client one of three ways; with an hourly rate, a set fee or a contingency fee. Hourly rates are their most preferred method of payment, and each lawyer will have a set price they charge for each hour spent on the clients case. The more expensive the attorney the better their reputation and obviously work ethic. If the case is more matter of fact and the workload is predictable, such as in loan closings or drawing up a will, the lawyer will quote a flat fee for all of their work. Contingency fees are used in cases where the attorney is representing the party which is filing the suit in a civil case, otherwise known as the plaintiff. In these terms, the attorney doesn’t receive payment unless they have won the case, in which case they take an agreed upon percentage of the plaintiff’s recovery. Prior to any other payment methods will be a retainer, which is the up front cost the client is required to pay as a deposit for the upcoming work.
The average costs for an attorney is in the hundreds of dollars, and as a customer you’ll want to be paying a fair amount and making sure you are receiving the best possible representation. There’s no use in trying to save your money by looking for the cheapest attorney, as you’ll most likely end up wasting your money and losing your case. Instead, it is far more worth your time to meet with a few different lawyers and determine which one is the best suited for yourself and your case. Take note of the little things in these initial consultations as well, such as how thorough and detailed the attorney is and if they’re being honest about the prospects of your case.