FAQs About Lawyers
How much does hiring a lawyer cost?
- The cost of hiring a lawyer varies a lot depending on the type of case you have, how much help you want from the lawyer, and where you are located. Sometimes the cost of hiring a lawyer could be as low as $100 to have a lawyer review a document or spend a half an hour talking about your case. Other times, the cost may be thousands of dollars to handle a complicated case.Also, there are different ways of paying a lawyer. Here are some common ways to pay a lawyer:
- Flat Fee-This is when you pay a lawyer a set amount to help with your case, no matter how many hours the lawyer spends on the case. This type of fee arrangement is common for divorce and criminal cases. Sometimes a lawyer will let you break the flat fee up into a few payments made over time.
- Hourly-This is when you pay the lawyer for the amount of time they spend working on your case. This way of hiring a lawyer often includes making a deposit up front called a retainer. The lawyer will then bill against the deposit (retainer). Sometimes when paying a lawyer hourly, you will pay a bill at the end of the month.
- Contingency-This is when you hire a lawyer to handle your case, but whether the lawyer gets paid or not depends on if they get money (or some other result) for you through a settlement or winning at trial. This type of fee arrangement is common for personal injury cases. Be sure to ask the lawyer what percentage they get and what other costs they may deduct from what they get for you. This type of fee is not allowed in criminal cases and certain kinds of family law cases.
Can I get a reduced-cost lawyer?
Maybe. Arkansans with limited income may qualify for a reduced-cost lawyer through Community Legal Access. Click here to learn more about their program and to apply.
Do I have a right to a lawyer?
- Generally speaking you always have a right to hire a lawyer to represent you. One exception is in small claims court, if a lawyer tries to represent you in small claims court, your case will be transferred to a different part of district court.The right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you is different and applies only in certain cases. This right to an appointed lawyer generally applies in criminal cases where the defendant (person charged with a crime) cannot afford to hire their own lawyer. However, there are some exceptions.In most civil cases (non-criminal cases, like divorce, custody, eviction, etc.) there is not a right to have a lawyer appointed for you. Your options in civil cases are to hire a lawyer, represent yourself, or apply for legal aid.
How do I file a complaint against a lawyer?
- Lawyers have rules that regulate how they act. These rules are called the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rules of Professional Conduct govern things like: keeping certain client information private, being respectful of the Court, appropriately handling client money, and charging reasonable fees. Below you can read the Rules of Professional Conduct and/or file a complaint against an attorney you believe violated the rules.
Can I argue for someone else in court?
- No. Arguing for someone in court can only be done by the person involved or their lawyer. Appearing in court to represent someone else is called the unauthorized practice of law and is not permitted. Additionally, you cannot prepare legal documents on behalf of someone else to file in court unless you are a lawyer.
I own a company. Can I argue on behalf of my company in court?
- No. The law considers a company to be a separate person from the owner(s). You must hire a lawyer to represent the company in court. This applies to many kinds of cases involving companies, including eviction where the rental property is owned by a company.
How do I find a lawyer?
- The Arkansas Bar Association (an association of lawyers) offers a find-a-lawyer service that you can use to find a lawyer in your area. Click here to search for a lawyer. You can also find lawyers by Googling the name of your city or town and the type of lawyer you are trying to find. For instance, “Pocahontas, Arkansas Divorce Lawyer” or “El Dorado Criminal Defense Lawyer”.Tips for Hiring a Lawyer:
- Talk to multiple lawyers before hiring one. Lawyers charge different fees and have different levels of experience. Calling around can help you find the best fit.
- Ask about fees. Be sure to ask not only how much the lawyer’s services cost, but if they will charge you for other things, like making copies, hiring an expert witness, etc.
- Come prepared. Before calling a lawyer or going to a consultation, collect all the documents and information that is important to your case. This will help the lawyer give you advice and a fair view of if you have a good case or not.