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The Champion

January/February 2006 , Page 57 

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Practice Points- Quoting A Fee

By Denis M. de Vlaming

They teach a lot in law school. When you leave, you can write a contract, interpret the Constitution and research a legal issue. Something is conspicuously absent, however, and that is how to quote a fee, particularly in assessing the criminal case.

How much is a case worth? Do you charge by the hour or do you quote a flat fee? What percentage of the fee is the retainer? Are you charging too much? Or too little? Quoting a legal fee in a criminal case is dependent on many factors. No lawyer, no matter how long he or she has practiced, will always get it right. Experience and time certainly help, however, the quoted fee in a criminal case is different from all other legal services. That’s because, generally speaking, our clients are different. They do not want our services, they need them and, once representation is undertaken, the court is reluctant to allow the criminal defense lawyer to withdraw.

This all adds up to a client that does not want to pay us, cannot pay us or is angry. Tha

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