Select your state


client fee disputes

Attorneys generally charge their clients in one of three ways: (1) an agreed hourly rate, times the number of hours the attorney spends on the matter; (2) a contingent fee, in which the attorney receives a percentage of the amount recovered or received by the client in the matter; or (3) a fixed-fee in which the attorney charges an agreed amount (often with some or all of the fee paid before work begins). If the attorney is charging on an hourly basis, he may require a fee deposit (sometimes called a retainer) to secure payment of the hourly fees. The client may be required to replenish this fee deposit. The attorney must hold the unearned fee deposit in her trust account until she does the work and is entitled to some or all of the payment. If there is a fee dispute between the attorney and client, and the attorney and client are unable to resolve the dispute, many state bar associations offer optional (and sometimes mandatory) fee dispute resolution procedures.

In Texas, attorneys may charge clients using one of three common methods: hourly rates, contingent fees, or fixed fees. Hourly rates involve billing the client for each hour the attorney works on the case, and a retainer or fee deposit may be required upfront to secure the attorney's services. This retainer is kept in a trust account and is used to cover the hours worked; clients may need to replenish it as the case progresses. Contingent fees mean the attorney receives a percentage of the client's recovery or settlement, aligning the attorney's compensation with the outcome of the case. Fixed fees are set amounts agreed upon before the attorney begins work, and these are often paid in part or full upfront. If a fee dispute arises between the attorney and client, the Texas State Bar Association provides fee dispute resolution procedures, which can be either optional or mandatory, to help resolve the issue.

Legal articles related to this topic