What Does the Attorney’s Fee Cover?

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  • April 28, 2014

What Does the Attorney’s Fee Cover?

Many clients ask, “When I pay the attorney’s fee, what can I expect in return?”

An attorney’s fee is the compensation paid to an attorney for his or her legal services.

What are “legal services?”

Legal services are the professional services rendered during the course of representation, including time spent on research, investigation, telephone calls, office meetings, reviewing documents, court appearances, preparing and filing documents (called pleadings) in court, and may include some or all of the following:

Attorney’s fees do not include expenses, such as the cost of copying documents, long distance telephone calls, expert witness fees, investigator fees, and others.  Such fees and expenses are separate and may be advanced by the attorney during the pendency of the case.


Below is a list of tasks that I may perform during the course of a typical criminal defense case.  This is not a list of every task that I perform in every criminal defense case.  This is simply a list of commonly performed tasks in some criminal defense cases.  Every case is different.  In any given criminal defense case, I may not perform any of these tasks, I may perform some of these tasks, I may perform all of these tasks, or I may perform these, plus additional, tasks.  Do not rely on this list in your case.  This list is intended to illustrate the variety of tasks that may be performed in a criminal defense case.

1. Initial meeting/consultation with the client or representative, e.g. parent

2. Answering initial questions about court procedure and law without making any promises or guarantees about the outcome

3. Preparing initial file documents upon being retained

4. Advising the client/representative about legal issues such as bail, etc.

5. Reviewing documents provided by the client

6. Docketing court dates on office calendars

7. Obtaining copies of the Clerk’s files from the client’s previous cases, if any

8. Reviewing pleadings and other documents from the client’s previous cases, if any

9. Preparing pleadings, such as motions, and filing them in court

10. Researching current statute for each criminal charge

11. Telephone calls and office meetings with the client

12. Attending arraignment, in court or otherwise

13. Attending motion hearings in court

14. Communicating with the prosecuting attorney (with the Client’s approval)

15. Preparing and filing motions for continuance, if necessary

16. Advising the client about mitigating factors

17. Obtaining copies of discovery material

18. Reviewing and analyzing the discovery material

19. Providing the client with an objective analysis of the discovery material and the risks associated with going to trial, if any.



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