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Legal Insights Blog

THE SIMPLEST WAY TO LOSE A CASE IS

NOT HAVING AN ATTORNEY

Simple Pricing 

A set price for every legal service ​

Personal Civil Cases
Personal Civil Cases
Family, Divorce, Child Support, Landlord-Tenant & Evictions
$249*
Includes:
  • Consultation with an Attorney
  • Your First Legal Service such as Make a Court Filing for You* or Appear In Court For You*
Criminal Cases
Criminal Cases
Criminal Defense, DUIs & DWIs
$249*
Includes:
  • Consultation with an Attorney
  • Your First Legal Service such as, Negotiate For You* or Appear In Court For You*
Personal Finance Cases
Personal Finance Cases
Personal Finances, Debt Relief & Unemployment
$249*
Includes:
  • Consultation with an Attorney
  • Your First Legal Service such as, Negotiate For You* or Create a Debt Relief Plan*
Business Cases
Business Cases
Business Matters, Finances & Loans
$399*
Includes:
  • Consultation with an Attorney
  • Your First Legal Service such as, Review and Revise a Contract for You* or Draft a Legal Demand Letter for You*
Save with Court Buddy

Court Buddy makes finding and working with a lawyer easy, organized, and affordable. You’ll know exactly what you are spending your money on before you move forward, every step of the way. Need legal help? Connect with a lawyer through Court Buddy today.

How much do lawyers cost?

When people think about how much a lawyer will cost, they often immediately think it will be expensive. There's a good reason for that. In most cases, hiring a private lawyer is expensive because the way that lawyers and law firms traditionally charge for their services is designed to serve the needs of business clients who are negotiating and entering large-scale business transactions or years-long court cases.
 
Lawyers and law firms usually charge a “retainer” before they will start working with you.  These retainers vary between $5,000 and $100,000 (typically, $15,000-$25,000). While the point of a retainer is that an attorney will make themselves available to work with you, it essentially consists of an amount you have deposited with the law firm for them to hold as security and bill against. Lawyers charge anywhere from $100 - $1000 an hour (typically, $225-$550 an hour). Hourly fees vary depending on where the attorneys are located, what type of law they specialize in, what clients they serve, and their experience. 
 
Lawyers and law firms have increasingly begun to realize that the traditional billing model puts the cost of legal services out of reach of many clients -- clients who attorneys would like to help. Indeed, most clients, especially families, individuals, and small businesses, need greater cost certainty when they consider hiring an attorney than the traditional law firm hourly billing model affords.

Court Buddy offers a new business model for acquiring legal services, one that is designed to be mutually beneficial for both the clients – who need cost certainty and value – and the lawyers and law firms – who need to remain profitable even if they are not paid for every single hour spent on a case. Court Buddy attorney members break their work down into specified services that clients purchase for fixed rates. So, for example, a client can hire a Court Buddy attorney to draft a single agreement or make a single court appearance for a pre-negotiated, set price.

Keep reading to learn more about how lawyers and law firms typically charge their clients outside of Court Buddy, and how Court Buddy makes working with lawyers easy, organized and affordable.

How lawyers and law firms bill clients outside of Court Buddy

When hiring a private law firm to represent you, there are a number of fees and costs you will usually be asked to pay. You will pay an upfront retainer to have the lawyer available to work with you. Then, you will be charged for every hour an attorney spends working on your case. It is difficult to know in advance how much time it will take an attorney to complete a service for you, so it is difficult to know in advance what your monthly legal bill will be, or how much you can expect to pay for an attorney to help you with an entire case. The amount of time spent on a case can vary wildly, making it difficult to budget and plan for the expenses associated with hiring a lawyer.
 
Typically, if you hire a lawyer to take a case to trial or try to resolve it before trial, you will pay fees and costs that fall into some or all of the following categories: retainer, hourly rates, miscellaneous costs, and expert witness fees. 
 
RETAINER

A retainer is an initial payment you make to hire the lawyer and convince them to work with you. You provide the lawyer a relatively steep upfront deposit, usually $15,000-$25,000, and the lawyer will draw from that lump sum to pay for fees and costs related to your case. Once that retainer is used up, you will either need to give the attorney the same amount of money all over again to replenish the retainer (an “evergreen retainer”) or be billed separately for all additional charges. Think of a retainer as prepayment you give to your lawyer for whatever they need. 
 
HOURLY RATES

Most lawyers charge their clients by the hour. This means: if you have a question and give your attorney a call? You will be charged for that conversation at your attorney’s hourly rate. If you have a meeting to prepare for your case? You will be charged for that meeting at your attorney’s hourly rate. Anything your lawyer does for you -- research legal issues, write letters, review and revise agreements, prepare for your case, meet with other attorneys or witnesses about your case, file papers with the court, appear in court, etc. -- will result in an hourly charge. The amount of time spent, and thus the amount of hourly fees you pay your attorney rises if you prepare for trial, go to trial, or file appeals. Your lawyer should be able to offer a rough estimate of what you should expect to pay at each stage of your case, but ultimately, this is just an estimate, and what you will actually pay can vary widely from case to case.
 
MISCELLANEOUS FEES

Most lawyers and law firms pass along all the extra fees and costs associated with handling your case. This can include, but is not limited to, document preparation and copying fees, filing fees, postage and mailing fees, process serving fees (if someone needs to be notified they are a party to a case), and sometimes travel costs, parking fees, the fees and costs of paralegals, court reporters, transcripts, support staff, and any other miscellaneous fees and costs related to your case. 
 
EXPERT WITNESSES

If your case is one in which an expert witness needs to be hired to appear on your behalf, to prepare a report on a specialized topic or give “expert” testimony, you will have to pay for them to prepare the report, be examined by the other side, and appear in court and testify on your behalf. Expert witness fees can be significant. While they do not usually spend as much time working on your case as your attorney, they often bill at a higher hourly rate than your attorney.

How lawyers bill clients using Court Buddy

Hiring a lawyer using Court Buddy is different. Court Buddy makes it easy for you to budget and plan for expenses related to your case because each legal service your attorney provides has a set, defined price. We do things differently: we ask attorneys to “unbundle” their services and then provide you each service at a fixed rate, without regard to how many hours your attorney happens to spend on the project. You can purchase just one service (for example, a single agreement or a single court appearance), or several, all at pre-negotiated rates. The lawyers that we work with know our pricing model is streamlined and simplified, and they have agreed to use it as part of becoming Court Buddy attorney members.  
 
You deposit funds sufficient to pay for each service in advance, but at specified, set prices that are more affordable than what you would pay outside of Court Buddy. We securely hold the money for you in the CB Direct Pay™ system until the work has been completed and you authorize us to release it to your attorney. This relieves you of the burden of paying a steep upfront retainer in the $15,000-$25,000 range. With Court Buddy, you pay for just what you most need without unnecessary fees and costs, making Court Buddy an affordable option for legal services. 
 
TRANSPARENT, UP-FRONT COSTS

With Court Buddy, you never need to worry about what a legal service will cost. You will know in advance exactly what your attorney will do for you and at what price, so you can plan and budget appropriately. You won’t end up with a surprise, high hourly bill after the work is done.
 
NO RETAINERS

With Court Buddy, you do not need to pay a steep upfront retainer to begin working with your attorney. Rather, you pay only for the specific service you need most. Introductory consultations and services on Court Buddy cost $249 for civil and criminal work, and $399 for business and financial services. You can stop there, or purchase additional services, but you never have to pay a $15,000-$25,000 retainer to get started.  When you purchase a legal service, we securely hold your money for you in the CB Direct Pay™ system until the work has been completed and you authorize us to release it to your attorney.  
 
AFFORDABLE, FIXED-RATE PRICING

Our pricing model is designed to make legal representation more accessible to the average person. Most of our clients are individuals, families and small businesses, and our attorney members are willing to offer their services in a manner that works for these clients. We make obtaining legal help less complicated, easier to understand, and easier to afford.

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*Disclaimer: This first service is priced at a low introductory rate, that covers your legal consultation with an attorney and the first piece of work they perform on your case. In the event that you hire the attorney to do more work for you, each additional piece of work done will be at a set rate, in keeping with Court Buddy's fee schedule.
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Call us toll-free at (866) 653-3017 to speak with a Client Success Specialist today.

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