Many people come into my office every day wondering how exactly an attorney gets paid for the work they do. There are three main types of fees that attorneys charge in order to get paid. These types are the contingency fee, the flat fee, and the hourly fee.

In all of these types of fees, costs may or may not be included. So a question that someone speaking to an attorney needs to ask is, "Am I going to be responsible for costs on top of your fee?"

A contingency fee means that the attorney does not get paid unless he collects for you. You hear of these a lot of times on commercials during late night TV and see them on attorney websites and in the Yellow Pages. A contingency fee is the type most-used in a personal injury case.

The second type of fee is the flat fee. A flat fee is where the attorney charges a flat amount to represent you in your legal problem. This takes some of the guess work out of how much you are going to owe the attorney for his services. Again, you need to ask if costs are included because those can be a surprise when you see them on your bill.

The third type is an hourly fee. An hourly fee is where the attorney charges a certain rate per hour that he works on your case. This could be a little, or this could be a lot depending on the amount of work involved, so it could be a big surprise when you get a bill for more than what you think it should be.

There are variations on these three types of fees, but these are the main types of fees that attorneys charge. The important thing to remember is that before your retain an attorney, have them explain to you exactly how their fee is going to be calculated and how much you are going to owe for representation.