Chapter 3: Aren't You Afraid to Deal With Those People?

How do we set fees? Most "real" lawyers charge by the hours. They bill the clients for their faxes, mailing, e-mails, lunches, telephone calls, and God only knows what else. Criminal lawyers generally do not follow this model. We tend to charge a flat fee. Most often the criminal lawyer will ask for a retainer for all his efforts up to trial, and then another feel for going tot trial. I usually charge just one fee. It covers everything: phone calls, court appearances, hearing, motions, and a trial if none is called for. I have found that clients would rather pay a lot of money right up front and that this is the whole deal, rather than be surprised as the bill keeps getting bigger. The proliferation of lawyer jokes is proof positive that we are not the most trusted group of people in society. Clients are skeptical of our charging them so much money per hour while we bullshit in the courthouses hallways with our friends, all on our client's dime. I try and take this fear off the table by telling the client that if I want to delay the case or come back to court another day to shop for a different judge, it is not costing them a penny more. I also like the ideal of allowing people to decide to go to trial without factoring in a large fee.

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