What do attorneys charge in Los Angeles?

Depending on their experience, expertise in the area of law in question, the kind of case, the location, and several other factors, the rates charged by attorneys in Los Angeles (and neighboring counties such as Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, etc.) and California in general varies greatly.

Below is a discussion of fees charged by California attorneys in various areas of the law.

Contingency work: How much do personal injury (car accident, slip and fall, etc.) attorneys charge in California?

Plaintiff's side: Personal injury attorneys who represent injured individuals in court generally work on a contingency basis. At the end of your case, they will generally take between 30% and 50% of your total recovery as their fees (but probably most commonly in the 33.33%-40% range). The fee should be arranged with you before you hire the attorney. Some attorneys will charge a certain percentage if the case settles before trial, but then will charge a higher percentage if your case goes to trial. If you lose, the attorney usually will not recover anything (but if a plaintiff loses a lawsuit, the plaintiff may be liable for costs).

Defense side: Defense attorneys' rates will vary greatly depending on the type of case. For a fairly straightforward personal injury case, defense attorneys charge relatively low rates (often around $200/hour). This is because these defense attorneys get a large number of cases from a handful of clients (typically insurance companies). Insurance companies often have an obligation to defend their insureds (for example, when their insured is sued because of a car accident), so they seek out attorneys who charge fairly low rates for high volumes of work.

Non-contingency work: How much do attorneys in Los Angeles charge?

Hourly rates for attorneys in Los Angeles: For some kinds of work, attorneys will charge hourly rates. For example, defense attorneys representing clients who are sued will often want to charge their clients an hourly rate. Depending on numerous factors, hourly rates vary from as low as around $150/hour to more than $1000/hour. The rates, as explained above, vary depending on the attorney's experience, expertise in the area of law in question, the kind of case, the location, and other factors.

However, note that many attorneys charge significantly less than their stated rates. They will provide their clients with discounts, they may do some work without charging the client, and they may have staff do some of the leg work in order to cut down litigation costs.

Flat fee arrangements: For certain kinds of legal work that attorneys do frequently, they may be willing to work on a flat fee basis. They agree to do pre-defined legal services at a single price. Flat fee arrangements work best where the amount of work that needs to be done is approximately the same from case to case, so the attorney can set a fair price before doing the work. For example, bankruptcy attorneys may agree to handle the entire bankruptcy matter for a few thousand dollars. Our firm offers flat fee arrangements for specific kinds of cases, such as the defense of the sale of alcohol to a minor before the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Cases where attorney's fees are available: In some cases, attorney's fees can be recovered against the prevailing party. In these types of cases, the client often does not have to pay the attorney anything at all. In California, attorney's fees are available in cases where the parties involved in a lawsuit entered into a contract that had an attorney's fees provision or where the law specifically provides for attorney's fees. The law specifically provides for attorney's fees in cases like Lemon Law cases and some employment cases.

How to pay for an attorney?

Where firms agree to provide services at their hourly rate, they will often ask for a retainer up front. A retainer agreement is a work for hire contract where the client pays in advance for work that will be done in the future. In other words, the client gives the attorney a set amount of money before any work is done. The attorney puts those funds in his client trust account and as the attorney does work for the client, the attorney will charge against the retainer at his hourly rate. Attorneys who work on an hourly basis for clients who they do not have a long-standing relationship with will often require retainer agreements to ensure timely payment of their bills.

Some firms will accept payments over time. Some firms will also be willing to accept other forms of compensation, such as equity in a client's newly formed business (that the attorney helped organize).

You can reach an attorney at Theta Law Firm by calling us or sending us an email at law@thetafirm.com. Theta Law Firm can represent clients all across the State of California, including in any of the following counties: Alameda | Alpine | Amador | Butte | Calaveras | Colusa | Contra Costa | Del Norte | El Dorado | Fresno | Glenn | Humboldt | Imperial | Inyo | Kern | Kings | Lake | Lassen | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Modoc | Mono | Monterey | Napa | Nevada | Orange | Placer | Plumas | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Luis Obispo | San Mateo | Santa Barbara | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Shasta | Sierra | Siskiyou | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Tehama | Trinity | Tulare | Tuolumne | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba