You have a right to discuss the
proposed rates and retainer fee with your lawyer and
you have the right to bargain about the fees before
you sign the agreement, as in any other contract.
You have the right to know how many
attorneys and other legal staff will be working on
your case at any given time, and what you will be
charged for their services.
You have the right to know in
advance how you will be asked to pay legal fees and
expenses at the end of the case. If you pay for a
retainer, you may ask reasonable questions about how
the money will be spent or has been spent and how
much of it remains unspent.
You are under no legal obligation
to sign a Confession of Judgment or a Promissory Note
or agree to a lien or mortgage on your home to cover
legal fees. You are under no legal obligation to
waive your rights to dispute a bill for legal
You have a right to a reasonable
estimate of future necessary costs. If your lawyer
agrees to lend or advance you money for preparing
your case, you have the right to know periodically
how much money your lawyer has spent on your behalf.
You also have the right to decide after consulting
with your lawyer, how much money is to be spent to
prepare a case. If you pay the expenses, you have the
right to decide how much to spend.
You have the right to ask your
lawyer at reasonable intervals how the case is
progressing and to have these questions answered to
the best of your lawyer's ability.
You have the right to make the
final decision regarding the settlement of your case.
You have a right to original
documents that are not part of your attorney's work
product. For instance, if you gave your present
attorney documents from another attorney, you have a
right to those documents. You have a right to ask
your attorney to forward documents to you in a timely
manner as he/she receives them from the opposing
You have a right to be present at
court conferences relating to your case that are held
with judges and attorneys, and you also have the
right to bring a family member or a friend to all
court proceedings, unless a judge orders otherwise.
You have the right to know the cost
of bringing a motion. The cost may vary depending on
the lawyer's rates and circumstances of the case, but
you have the right to a general estimate.
If at any time, you, the client,
believe that your lawyer has charged an excessive or
illegal fee, you have the right to report the matter
to a disciplinary or grievance committee that
oversees lawyer misconduct.