Attorneys Bill In One Of Three Ways
By: Adam Burns – TKO Timeshare Solutions
Attorneys can bill on an hourly basis, a contingent basis, or for a flat fee. Most of you are familiar with or have heard of the hourly model. It is what it says. They bill per hour for work performed by the attorney and their staff at varying rates.
The contingent fee happens when attorneys collect a percentage of what is collected. Typically, if there is no money collected through a trial or settlement, no fee is paid. This is the typical billing arrangement in personal injury actions and some other types of cases, including employment law and consumer law. There may be a graduated percentage depending on how much work goes into the matter. Fees may increase as the case progresses through depositions and goes to trial.
In addition, there are statutory actions and breach of contract actions that provide for hourly attorney fees even though there is a contingent fee in place. How the fees are divided is governed by the attorney/client contract. This is common with various employment discrimination actions and violations of consumer statutes.
The third type of fee is a flat fee. This is common with run-of-the-mill traffic and transactional work like trusts and wills. Attorneys will typically give a flat fee quote based on the amount of work they expect the project to entail. It is rare to see a civil litigation case handled on a flat fee because the amount of work would be unknown when agreeing to the representation. How much the other side fights the case is an essential factor. However, it is permissible for an attorney to charge a flat fee on almost any type of matter, but it would be at the attorney’s risk as they will be stepping into the unknown.
Exit Companies Pay Attorneys on a Flat Fee Basis
When an exit company tells you they’re going to retain the services of a lawyer on your behalf, don’t be too impressed. Exit companies pay attorneys on a flat fee basis to negotiate the release of your timeshare. This is important because the engagement letter will spell out that it does not include filing any pleadings in court (a lawsuit). Any further action beyond the scope of the initial engagement will have to be a separate agreement.
The days of having an attorney send a harshly worded letter on their letterhead and making a phone call or two to negotiate the release are pretty much over. Timeshare companies know the odds of this attorney filing suit are slim to none when working with an exit company. That is not to say that lawsuits against timeshare companies are never filed. Cases are routinely filed for violations of consumer law statutes and common law fraud.
You can go out and find an attorney yourself without paying an upfront fee to a timeshare exit company. There are plenty of accessible referral sources to start, like AVVO. Typically consumer protection lawyers can help timeshare owners.
There is no question that an attorney can certainly bring value to your situation under the right circumstances. If you think you are getting a bargain by going through a timeshare exit company to get to an attorney, it will most likely cost you more in the long run. You’re better off with an attorney that outlines the scope of his or her representation with a fee schedule that makes sense for both of you.
Most attorneys bill in excess of $400 an hour. Exit companies act as middlemen between you and a lawyer and take their piece of the legal fee as part of the transaction. As with any business, you get what you pay for. Out of the money, someone pays an exit company, advertising costs, expenses, and general overhead must also come out. As a result, not every dollar you spend with an exit company is going to the lawyer. It makes more sense to hire an attorney yourself and cut out the middle man.