What about fees? Will I be able to afford the legal help I need?

Fees vary according to the lawyer’s experience and time expended on your case. In general, fees are lower at smaller firms than at large ones. In most cases you will work with one lawyer, not the whole firm, and the fees you agree to should reflect that fact.

In some situations, such as accident claims, the fee can be contingent on the settlement. That means higher fees for higher settlements; and may mean no fee at all if there is no settlement awarded. After the initial consultation, ask your lawyer to confirm your fee agreement in writing.

Remember, it is not just price that determines value. Just as high fees do not guarantee success, low fees are not necessarily a bargain. In general, the best value is a lawyer whose experience in situations similar to yours will minimize the time spent settling your case . . . both your time and the lawyer’s.