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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Woodlands Criminal Defense Lawyer - Why don't lawyers put their prices online?

When you buy something you can typically look up how much it costs. I know when I shop for something if it says, "Call for price." That means I won't be buying it. But this is true when the thing you are buying is specific and uniform. Like a chair. A chair is going to be the same cost, it can be reproduced readily, and it doesn't change depending on the life circumstances of the person buying the chair.

A lawyer doesn't sell chairs. They sell their time, experience, expertise, and persuasiveness. How much trouble you are in, the circumstances of your case, and other factors all affect how much of the lawyers time, experience, expertise, and persuasiveness will have to be leveraged on the client's behalf. A simple marijuana case for someone without criminal history is going to be a very different type of case than an Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer where the client has had two prior trips to the penitentiary.

It is extremely rare for a criminal attorney to publish a specific rate for a type of case because no two cases are the same. Lawyers unlike chair manufacturers cannot simply train someone else to do their job for them. It takes years of experience and training to become and effective lawyer. What may take an experienced lawyer a few minutes could take the average person days. What may be impossible for someone on their own could be routine for a good lawyer.

Lawyers have established rules about how to determine a reasonable fee in the Texas Disciplinary rules of Professional Conduct.

(b) Factors that may be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include, but not to the exclusion of other relevant factors, the following:

(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;

(2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;

(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;

(4) the amount involved and the results obtained;

(5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;

(6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;

(7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and

(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent on results obtained or uncertainty of collection before the legal services have been rendered.

Some lawyers charge a contingent fee, meaning a fee depending on the outcome of the case. This is specifically prohibited for criminal lawyers by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. 1.04(e) (A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement for, charge, or collect a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case).

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