Q: what will it cast me to get a lawyer to represent me and my family for a court hearing friday march 4,2022 at 9:00 a.m
A: It depends on the type of case, the issues, and what the hearing is for, which determines how much time is needed to prepare for it. A pre-trial scheduling conference takes no more than an hour or so of time, while a 2 or 3 day trial on conested issues can take 40 hours of trial preparation and 10-14 hours per trial day (6-7 hours in actual trial time, the remainder in trial, evidence and witness prep and planning). Most civil cases you pay by the hour, unless it's a personal injury claim in which the lawyer is paid on a percentage recovery basis. Family law cases are handled on an hourly fee basis, and hourly fees can range based on the experience and skill of the lawyer. Typically the lawyer will assess what the case is about, how much time is reasonably anticipated to be needed, and then quote an amount that covers that amount of time as a retainer fee. The retainer you pay goes into the lawyer's attorney escrow account where all client funds are held, then each month the lawyer sends a bill to you detailing the time spent that month on your case, and deducts that amount from your retainer funds. That way, you can see what the representaion is costing you, and how much you have left at the end of each month. Depending on what happens in the case, you may deplete the retainer funds before the case is over and need to pay an additional retainer; or, if the case is resolved before all the retainer funds are spent, then you get the unused portion paid back. Some more complex cases cannot be estimated in full in advance, so retainer fund payments are taken in lump sum periodially throughout the representation in the case to cover each stage of the case as it progresses, which spreads out the time for coming up with all the fees necessary to carry the litigation through to the end. Most lawyers offer an initial free consultation to provide an initial overview and estimate before you retain them.
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