In Michigan the rules of ethics govern how attorneys can charge legal fees. Essentially there are three ways for an attorney to charge for their legal services: hourly, flat fee or contingency fee. Contingency fees are not permitted for criminal cases in Michigan. In other words, a criminal defense lawyer cannot ethically charge a fee that is contingent on the outcome of a case.
The vast majority of experienced criminal defense lawyers charge flat fees. We generally charge flat fees based on the different phases of a criminal case for several reasons. Clients generally prefer flat fees and by charging based upon the different phases of a case, you can be assured that you are not overcharged for services that are not provided. By charging flat fees that will include all the work necessary to represent you, you will know exactly what it will cost you in legal fees to hire our law firm. There will be no surprises and no unforeseen bills.
When we consult with you in person, we will be able to tell you exactly what the fees are for whatever services you require. Generally, we will only be able to tell you the total legal fees after an in-person consultation. Although some lawyers simply provide menu or generic pricing, we know that it is in our client’s best interest to take the time to make an expert determination of the time commitments and legal fee that may be appropriate in each individual client’s case. The fact is that every case is different and although two clients may be charged with the same offense, each case may require a different defense. For example, one client may be looking for a plea bargain or a dismissal and one client’s case may need to go to trial.
Our fees take into consideration the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC). These rules provide that a lawyer must be “competent” and that the fee must be “reasonable.” In determining whether a lawyer is able to provide competent representation in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the lawyer’s general experience, the lawyer’s training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter, and the time commitment that will likely be necessary to handle the case.
Some of the specific factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
- the time and labor required
- the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly
- the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer
- the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances
- the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services
Our fees are based on all of the above factors, and will be discussed with you in detail during a free consultation. Although we do not charge for the initial consultation, we generally ask that you have an adequate method of payment with you at the initial consultation so that, in the event you decide to hire our firm, you will have the ability to do so at that first meeting. Often times, work must be done on a client’s case right away to secure their rights and prepare for their defense. We accept all major credit cards.