There is a common misconception among many people in need of representation that they can't afford an attorney, so they simply take no action. You owe it to yourself to at least find out what representation will cost, and when the fees will be paid.
To boil it down, fees generally break down into three catagories: hourly, flat fee, and contingency. In some cases, the fees will based upon a combination of some or all of these.
The attorney simply works on an hourly basis, and bills the client accordingly. In many cases, the attorney will ask for a sum of money up front (sometimes referred to as a "retainer"). The hourly rate and retainer depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Also, in California, the fees that are paid to an attorney who represents a probate estate are set by law.
This is simply a flat fee to be represented in a matter. It is typical in the criminal defense context. It is generally not used in the civil litigation context.
In this arrangement, you pay no fees unless you obtain a recovery. The attorney then gets paid out of the final recovery, usually a percentage. The contingency fee cannot be used in certain cases. For example, it may never be used in the family law context. In the probate context, a contingency fee must usually be approved by the court.
The contingency fee may be a solution where you have little or no funds to pay an attorney up front. The attorney bears all of the risk of a recovery: in the event of no recovery, the attorney receives no fee. In the event of a large recovery, however, you may end up paying more than an in an hourly fee agreement.
I have a very flexible approach to fees. I am sensitive to the need for attorneys to do what they can to allow access to the courts to all persons from all backgrounds. I will usually be able to structure a fee agreement that is fair, and that will not cause undue financial hardship, and will result in a "win-win" resolution. In some cases, I will also work on a "sliding scale" based upon need. Call or email for a consultation today.