How to Pay for a Lawyer: Top 3 Ways

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| 6 min read Financial Assistance

When you or a loved one need a lawyer, you might find that legal fees can be overwhelming. Your situation is complex and a lot is at stake, so going without the help of a professional is not an option. But what do you do when you don’t have the money to hire a lawyer? These tips for how to pay for a lawyer may help. Before you start a GoFundMe for legal services, please be sure to take a look at our terms & conditions, as restrictions on crowdfunding for legal services do apply.

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How much does a lawyer cost?

The cost of a lawyer depends on a variety of factors:

  • The type and complexity of the case
  • The experience level of the lawyer and law firm
  • Your location
  • The fee structure used

Hourly rate

How much do lawyers cost per hour? The typical hourly rates range from $200 to $400, though they can be higher or lower depending on the factors above and the specifics of your case. The hourly rate is often applied to every aspect of your case—including things like making photocopies or doing legal research.

Flat fee

A flat fee is most prevalent for matters requiring a form such as contract drafting or bankruptcies. This kind of payment arrangement is advantageous for both lawyers and clients. This is due to the fact that the client knows precisely how much they’ll pay for legal services and the lawyer receives a lump sum fee upfront. 

Retainer fee

A retainer fee is an upfront deposit, from which your lawyer will draw funds on an hourly basis as they work on your case. 

Contingency fee

Most common in a personal injury case, your lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingency fees typically range between 30% to 40% of the settlement amount. The American Bar Association’s Rule 1.5: Fees prohibits contingency fee arrangements for divorce cases, those involving family law, and criminal cases.  

3 ways for how to pay for a lawyer

After reviewing the various legal fees, there is no question that the cost of a lawyer can be steep. However, there are ways to get financial assistance for these expenses. Consider the following resources for how to get help paying for a lawyer.

1. Get assistance with legal fees from a legal aid society

How to pay for a lawyer with no money can seem daunting, but thankfully, many resources exist. There are programs that will help pay for the cost of a lawyer, cover other legal fees, or offer legal help. These resources will vary by state. To find out how to get legal help in your area, start by contacting one of the organizations listed below.

Legal Services Corporation

Established by Congress in 1974, the Legal Services Corporation is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide funding for various legal aid services. Currently, LSC funds 132 nonprofit legal aid programs across the United States. Use their national database directory to get legal help near you.

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association provides a list of legal services and other resources by state, designed to help you get the law information and tools you need. They also have a Center for Pro Bono with listings that are searchable by state. 

Additionally, ABA Free Legal Answers is another resource for how to get free legal help. This online legal advice clinic offers help regarding civil legal issues for people who have no money to pay for a lawyer. There is no cost to use this service or for the feedback a lawyer provides. 

2. Consider crowdfunding for legal fees

Another alternative to finding legal help or a pro bono lawyer is online fundraising for legal fees. You can do this easily using crowdfunding, which can help you quickly raise money for a legal defense. Crowdfunding for legal fees can help relieve some or all of the financial burden of paying for a lawyer.

Before you start a GoFundMe for legal services, please be sure to take a look at our terms & conditions, as restrictions on crowdfunding for legal services do apply.

Crowdfunding can offset expensive legal representation fees

For those facing any sort of legal challenge, it can be difficult to ask others directly for help. Crowdfunding provides an alternative that is quick, easy, and avoids those potentially awkward conversations with family and friends. Through sharing your fundraiser on social media, you’re able to expand your network to reach even more people who might be willing to help.

Raise more money with online fundraising

A handful of crowdfunding platforms exist, so it’s important to find one that best fits your needs. Look for a platform that provides customer support and fundraising resources such as GoFundMe. With online fundraising, you’ll be able to put more of the money you raise towards lawyer fees.

Tips for using GoFundMe for legal defense

Starting a fundraiser for legal fees can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting assistance with legal fees means you can stop worrying, and start feeling confident about your future. The following tips will help you create a successful fundraiser on GoFundMe.

  • Write your fundraiser story. Tell a powerful story that connects with your audience. This can mean the difference between someone passively viewing your fundraiser, and someone who makes a donation.
  • Share your fundraiser to increase donations. Maximizing your reach is key to an effective fundraiser. Whether sharing on social media or teaming up with a local business, expanding your network will help you see more donations.
  • Reach your goal with the right fundraising email templates. Email is one of the best ways to raise awareness about your fundraiser. Remove the challenge of asking for help with a compelling email template that inspires others to give to your cause.
  • Take a look at our Terms & Conditions. This is to make sure crowdfunding is a good fit for your particular legal situation.

3. Receive help with legal fees through payment plans

Lawyers are not required to offer payment plans, though many choose to do so. Make sure to ask about a payment plan option before meeting with a lawyer for the initial consultation. Some payment plans use a sliding scale that is based on your income and financial obligations.

Get help paying legal fees 

Finding assistance for legal fees can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Crowdfunding through GoFundMe is a quick and easy way to raise the money you need to lift the financial burden of lawyer fees. When you know you can pay for flat, retainer, or contingency fees you will be able to rest a little more. Start your fundraiser today.

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Written by Brittany Chambers

I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Through informative and heartfelt content, I hope to create change and inspire others to give back to those who need it most.