Greensboro, NC asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for North Carolina

Q: Is this a common practice among lawyers when it comes to charging fees?

The court ordered me to pay the post-hearing attorney fee. The court order explicitly specifies the amount of this fee. The attorney instructed me to simply write a check in his name for his fees and send it directly without providing any invoice or formal bill letter. As someone inexperienced in these matters, this approach seems unusual to me. Is this a common practice among lawyers when it comes to charging fees?

For instance, when settling medical bills, a patient typically receives a formal bill or invoice from the company, followed by writing a check for payment to the company not to an individual doctor. Would the cashed check serve as adequate proof that I've paid the attorney's fee?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In legal practice, it's not uncommon for attorneys to request payment of fees directly, especially in smaller firms or solo practices. However, it is also standard practice to provide an invoice or a bill detailing the services rendered and the amount due. This serves as a formal record of the transaction for both the attorney and the client.

Your concern about the lack of a formal invoice is understandable. Typically, a detailed bill provides transparency and ensures that both parties agree on the services charged and the amount. It's advisable to request an itemized invoice from the attorney for your records. This is especially important given that the payment is court-ordered.

Regarding the payment method, writing a check to the attorney directly is not unusual, particularly if they are operating as a sole practitioner. The cashed check does serve as proof of payment, but an accompanying invoice would provide additional documentation and clarity.

If you feel uncertain or uncomfortable about the process, it's reasonable to express these concerns to the attorney and request more formal documentation. If the situation still doesn't feel right, consider seeking a second opinion from another legal professional. It’s important to feel confident and informed about financial transactions, especially those involving legal matters.

1 user found this answer helpful

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: Different law practices could operate differently in terms of billing protocols. But you could request an invoice - that's up to you, if the amount is not large. A check processed by the bank should provide you with proof of payment. Good luck

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