Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our services. Because the answers may vary depending on your unique circumstances, we suggest that you contact our offices for more information about your specific legal needs.
Attorney fees are charged in three different fashions: hourly, fixed, and contingent. For most legal work, you will be charged on an hourly basis for the time spent by the attorney on your case. This includes meetings, phone calls, researching case law or regulations, preparing documents, and time spent appearing in court. For some services, such as will preparation, incorporations, contracts, and real estate closings, a fixed fee will be charged for the job. If your case involves personal injury, the attorney fees will be paid out of any judgment recovered. In most cases, the attorney’s fee equal 1/3 of the amount recovered.
Depending on your situation, the expense of an attorney may prevent or avoid unnecessary litigation costs due to improperly prepared documents. Like other professionals, attorneys are required to complete several years of schooling and be certified by a state licensing agency. In Michigan, attorneys are required to graduate from law school and pass a bar examination before they are certified by the State Bar of Michigan to practice law. Although there are computer programs available to prepare legal documents, failure to comply with Michigan law and execution requirements could render these documents useless and unenforceable. Hiring a qualified attorney is the best and safest way to protect your legal rights and assets.
In most cases, you are responsible for your own attorney fees. Unless a specific statute authorizes the awarding of attorney fees, or sanctions are awarded for rejecting a mediation award or settlement offer, each party must pay its own attorney fees. Usually attorney fees cannot be added to damages, unless there is a specific provision in a contract in which each party agrees to be responsible for the other side’s attorney expense.
Every case is different. Depending on the complexity and position of the opposing party, most cases that are litigated take between 18 months and 3 years to resolve. For this reason, mediation is often recommended as an alternative to trial litigation.