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How Much Does a Lawyer Cost in Oregon? 

Posted on June 5, 2024 in

If you need a lawyer, one of the most pressing questions is, “How much will it cost to hire an attorney?” The short answer is that it depends on the type of case or legal matter you need help with.

That said, you can get an estimate of how much a lawyer will cost by understanding how different types of lawyers charge clients. There are different systems for billing based on the lawyer’s area of practice. For example, a car accident lawyer bills differently than a divorce attorney. 

To help you estimate and plan for legal expenses, here’s an overview of how Oregon lawyers charge clients. 

Portland Legal Charges Vary Based on the Type of Lawyer 

Lawyers are increasingly specialized. This means that rather than being a generalist who handles all types of cases, lawyers specialize in one area of the law. For example, criminal cases, personal injury cases, divorces, or real estate transactions. 

The type of fees charged varies based on the practice area. There are three common types of fee structures that lawyers use: hourly fees, flat fees, and contingency fees. Here’s a look at each type of fee and the practice areas that generally use each fee. 

Hourly Fees

The traditional fee structure for lawyers is an hourly rate. Lawyers who use this method of billing discuss an hourly rate at the start of representation. The lawyer and client will agree on an hourly fee. In 2023, the average hourly rate for a lawyer in the United States was $327. In most cases, the lawyer will also give the client an estimate of how many hours the case will take. 

The lawyer will then track hours and bill clients periodically. With these fee arrangements, clients will often pay a retainer, which is an upfront fee. These generally range from $2,000-$5,000 and will be applied to fees as the lawyer works on the case. 

Hourly fees are the most common type of fee arrangement for lawyers. Family lawyers, employment lawyers, and corporate lawyers generally use this fee structure. 

Flat Fees

Some lawyers charge clients a flat fee for representation. This fee structure is used when the lawyer provides a specific service that is pretty straightforward. Flat fees can be used for 

  • Filing an uncontested divorce 
  • Handling a real estate transaction 
  • Handling a traffic violation
  • Defending a client in an arraignment 

Flat fees are used most frequently with family lawyers and real estate lawyers, to name a few examples.

Contingency Fees 

The third type of fee arrangement is a contingency fee. Under this approach, a lawyer is paid a percentage of any award the client gets. At the start of representation, the client and attorney will agree on a contingency fee rate. This generally ranges from 33% to 40%. 

The client will not make any payments to the lawyer. However, the lawyer will take a percentage of any award from a settlement or verdict to cover legal fees. 

Under this arrangement, clients don’t make any out-of-pocket legal payments. The lawyer is only paid if the client gets paid through a settlement or jury verdict. Contingency fees are used by most personal injury lawyers.

Most Lawyers Offer Free Consultations

Regardless of the fee structure, most lawyers offer a free consultation. Here’s what usually happens during the free consultation: 

  • The client will discuss their case and specific needs; 
  • The lawyer will determine whether they can represent the client; 
  • The lawyer will discuss fee structure and amounts; 
  • The lawyer will analyze the client’s case, discuss the client’s rights, and give a general strategy; 

After the free consultation, if the client decides to hire the lawyer, the lawyer will write an engagement letter. This will outline representation, including terms, scope, and fees. 

The free consultation is a good opportunity for clients to talk with a lawyer and learn more about their rights. Even if you’re not sure whether to hire a lawyer, it’s helpful to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your case. 

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Costs You Nothing Upfront

Personal injury lawyers use contingency fee arrangements to represent clients. This is a good system for clients because it means: 

  • There are no upfront fees; 
  • Lawyers only get paid if a client gets paid; and
  • Lawyers are motivated to maximize client payments because it will increase their payment. 

At the start of representation, the client and attorney will agree on a contingency fee rate. This is the percentage of the award that will go to the lawyer to cover attorney fees. Once the parties sign a contingency agreement, the lawyer will begin representing the client. 

The client does not pay a retainer or any other fees. The lawyer will cover all expenses and will not be paid until the client gets an award. 

If you’ve been injured in an accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer is an affordable way to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Your personal injury lawyer will: 

Personal injury lawyers understand accident victims’ rights and know how to get the compensation victims deserve. If you’ve been injured in an accident, schedule a free consultation to learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Portland, OR – Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident in Portland, OR, please contact our Portland personal injury lawyers at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer to schedule a free consultation today.

Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
101 SW Main St. #1905
Portland, OR, 97204
(503) 773-3333

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