This is always a fair question. But it is not easy to answer. Fundamentally, almost all appellate attorneys use
one of three methods to charge for their services.
First: A few attorneys
will use a contingency fee agreement. This means they pay the lawyer an agreed upon per cent age of what they win.
This is common in personal injury cases in the trial court. This can work if you were the plaintiff in the superior court
and are suing for money. It doesn't work well for a client who was a defendant and doesn't want to pay money. Issues
concern the strength of your appeal, time involved to go through the process, and the "what if" if the Court of
Appeal simply returns your case for a brand new trial.
attorney is one of a minority of appellate attorneys that will take your appeal on a fixed fee. This means that the attorney
and you will agree on a specific amount the attorney will charge you for his services. In addition to his fixed fee for his
services you will also need to pay certain itemized out of pocket expenses that will be listed in your fee agreement. This
option provides the client certainty as to the amount the appeal will cost the client.
The dominant method is the hourly rate method. The attorney and the client agree that the attorney will charge the
client by the amount of time the attorney spends on your case. This makes it more difficult to predict the total
cost. In addition to paying the appellate attorney's hourly rate the client will pay certain out of pocket costs.
In addition to the attorney's fee, the client will incur certain costs. These costs generally are very limited as compared
to the trial court. These costs include
- filing fee for the appeal (the respondent has no
- the cost of the reporter's transcript (usually the most expensive cost): and
of photocopying the documents used in the trial court (called the Clerk's Transcript or Appellant's Appendix).
options: This attorney has flexible payment options. He will work with the client to establish a "fixed fee"
that the client will pay at the start. This will be the total amount the client pays for professional fees. The attorney will
also discuss a "payment plan" establishing a monthly payment schedule. Second, the attorney will
work with the client as to a fee agreement based on a standard hourly agreement. The attorney believes that providing the
client these two payment options assists the clients in making their appellate cost decisions.