As to the Amount of the Lawyer's Fee, generally:
A Lawyer should not charge or collect more than a reasonable fee, see Comment 1 to Disciplinary Rule 1.04.
Non-Contingent Legal Fees:
- A non-contingent fee is payable in dollars and cents and may be based on an hourly rate or a flat fee.
- An hourly non-contingent fee is billed periodically and the amount is determined by multiplying the agreed hourly rate by the number
of hours reasonably expended in performing services for the client and adding the total amount of expenses advanced by the lawyer
for the client during the billing period.
- For comparison, the State Bar of Texas Department of Research & Analysis 2009 HOURLY FACT SHEET (TO SEE IT CLICK ON THIS
LINE) states average hourly rates of licensed and practicing, full-time attorneys reporting to the State Bar for the calendar year 2009,
including detailed breakdowns of hourly rates by gender, ethnicity, age, law firm size, years of experience, area of practice, and region
of the State.
- Staying within the Client's budget is of the utmost importance in setting the amounts of non-contingent fees for Clients able to pay
- A flat non-contingent fee is determined and billed by agreement between Client and Lawyer.
Contingent Legal Fees:
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A Lawyer's Moral Obligation:
Although a Client must compensate a Lawyer for services and expenses, see the
Restatement, §17(1), the Lawyer should be mindful of deficiencies in the administration of
justice and of the fact that persons sometimes cannot afford adequate legal assistance. A
lawyer has a moral obligation to devote professional time and civic influence on their
behalf, regardless of professional prominence or workload. A lawyer may discharge this
obligation by providing public interest legal services without a fee, or at a substantially
reduced fee, see Preamble to proposed Disciplinary Rules, Par C.5.
(1) Before or within a reasonable time after beginning to represent a client in a matter, a
lawyer must communicate to the client, in writing when applicable rules so provide, the
basis or rate of the fee, unless the communication is unnecessary for the client because
the lawyer has previously represented that client on the same basis or at the same rate.
(2) The validity and construction of a contract between a client and a lawyer concerning
the lawyer's fees are governed by § 18.
(3) Unless a contract construed in the circumstances indicates otherwise;
(a) a lawyer may not charge separately for the lawyer's general office and overhead See the Restatement, §38
(b) payments that the law requires an opposing party or that party's lawyer to pay
as attorney-fee awards or sanctions are credited to the client, not the client's lawyer,
absent a contrary statute or court order; and
(c) when a lawyer requests and receives a fee payment that is not for services
already rendered, that payment is to be credited against,
As to the Lawyer's Fee in the Absence of a Contract, generally:
If a client and lawyer have not made a valid contract providing for another measure of compensation, a client owes a lawyer who has See the Restatement, §39
performed legal services for the client the fair value of the lawyer's services,
- Mr. Aycock does not accept employment from new clients in the absence of a specific written employment agreement, signed by Mr.
Aycock and the Client, providing for reasonable legal fees, and
- In setting the amounts of fees, Mr. Aycock is mindful of the fact that persons sometimes cannot afford adequate legal assistance
and, in appropriate circumstances, is willing to provide, and periodically throughout his career has provided, legal services without a
fee, or at a substantially reduced fee.