Schwartz & Ponterio, PLLC holds lawyers responsible for legal malpractice.

Did your lawyer charge you excess fees?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Legal Malpractice

When working with a lawyer, you should understand the fees you will incur before signing an agreement. They charge different fees – you and your attorney should agree on a fee arrangement. However, one may charge you beyond reasonable fees.

Here are two signs that may indicate your lawyer overcharged you

Can’t explain the total amount 

Most lawyers explain their fees to clients, for instance, a certain percentage of the amount awarded in a case, an hourly fee or a flat rate for a particular type of case. Thus, when one can’t clarify the total amount, you should be alarmed.

Lawyers who document each day’s work over a billing period can explain how separate tasks are billed. It can be confusing to receive one bill for all work at the end of the month.

Excess hourly rate

Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, which most clients agree to. However, this fee arrangement may become unfair when your attorney makes decisions that increase the hours. 

For example, instead of recording the right time, one may estimate the number of hours spent working on your case at the end of the week or month and then charge you. Further, some lawyers spend hours on matters or files that have little benefit to a client.

It can be challenging to prove such dishonest billing. Thus, if you believe your charge was excessive, a professional can help you determine this. But some unethical hourly billings can be obvious. For example, when a lawyer chooses to drive for hours to meet you to discuss a matter that could have been covered on the phone or by their assistant. 

Fee disputes are a problem in the legal field. If this is your case, a professional can assess your itemized bill and help you make informed decisions to protect your rights.