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Types of Legal Costs

The amount a lawyer charges you for legal services may include the lawyer's fees plus additional expenses and costs. If the lawyer will represent you in a court proceeding, you may have to pay a filing fee or other court costs as well.

There area number of costs that may appear on your lawyer's bill. Some lawyers may charge for these costs separately. Other lawyers may lump the expenses together as a separate item on your bill, while others may include some of these costs in their fee. Be sure to find out before you hire your lawyer if these types of costs are included and whether they will be itemized on your bill. Costs in addition to the lawyer's time may include:

  • Filing Fees and Court Costs
  • Photocopying
  • Telephone and Postage Charges
  • Paralegal Time
  • Messengers
  • Computer or Research Related Costs
  • Secretarial and Staff Time
  • Deposition and Court Reporter Costs
  • Facsimiles (faxes)
  • Experts, Consultants, and Witness Fees
  • Investigators
  • Process Servers (delivery of legal documents relating to case)
  • Travel Expenses
There may be other charges not listed above. It is a good idea to ask the lawyer for a written estimate of anticipated costs to make sure you understand all the different costs that you will have to pay. For example, you will want to find out if there is a set rate for some costs (e.g., $0.15 per page for copying costs). If you are concerned about the costs building up, you can also tell your lawyer that any costs over a certain amount have to be approved by you in advance. You also may be able to negotiate in advance the amount charged for many of these costs.

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