Here in the Philippines, when you think of seizing legal services, the first thing that citizens would ponder about is the amount of money that would be involved. The moment you think about hiring a lawyer, the things that are supposed to be considered first ought to be the lawyer’s expertise, strengths, records, and his or her experience in the field you need assistance with, however, that is just not how it works in a third world country.
In a country where the majority of individuals does not have the capability to pay for a handful of things, money and the fees matter the most when talking about a service – no matter if it is very much needed or not. Legal assistance and lawyer services is an important service that the citizens must find accessible to be able to know and fight for their own rights. In the following paragraphs, the basic fees lawyers usually charge for will be discussed so as to prepare anyone (who thinks about hiring an attorney) with the right amount of knowledge.
How Much is the Standard Rate of Lawyers in the Philippines?
In the legal service field in general, there is no such thing as a standard price or rate. A lawyer’s professional fee greatly depends on:
– The difficulty and nature of the case (some cases are way more complicated than others)
– The number of hours and amount and scope of work they would be required to process (if they need a substantial amount of evidence, paperwork, moving from places to places to find a witness, and many more.)
– The financial potential of the client (some lawyers consider this, however, some lawyers who are well experienced and already famous may still charge with rates that are higher than normal.)
What are the Most Common Lawyer Fees Being Charged in the Country?
First is the Consultation Fee. Based on the term itself, it is the fee being charged for consultation which is a professional assessment or analysis of the case and client’s situation. The initial consultation is critical since this is where the lawyer determines whether or not he or she will be the best person to handle your situation, how much time and effort she would need to invest in, the amount of money that may be needed, and how good your chances of winning the case is. A few lawyers offer consultations for free, on the other hand, a couple of them may bill this by an hourly rate (standard or reduced) or by consultation because again, there is no standard basis for a lawyer’s rate in the country. If you are not prepared to pay a consultation fee, it is best to contact your potential lawyer or his agency first either through email or phone call.
There is also an Acceptance Fee being charged by a handful of lawyers in the country. You are right, basically, it is the fee imposed for simply accepting your case. As implausible as it may seem, there is actually an explanation behind this. The thing is, once the lawyer accepts to represent a certain client, he technically misses the opportunity to handle cases for the other individual and could mean that he is sacrificing a potential job for another person. Not all lawyers charge this fee so make sure to ask your potential lawyer about it.
Retainer Fee. Once you found a lawyer that would represent you, you have to make sure that his services will be retained for as long as you need him. In return, he would also need a down payment for the services he would provide and all the expense he would potentially incur for the client. For example, in a company or corporation, a general retainer fee would include charges for contract drafting, board resolutions, certifications, and the likes. Retainer fees vary greatly depending on the client’s situation and most lawyers require a retainer agreement or contract. This document generally includes the type of work the lawyer is going to do for the client, all other fees associated with it, and the general rights of both the lawyer and the client entering into this arrangement. There are specialized retainer fee arrangements which understandably costs higher than the average ones. Because there are so many things that can be included in this contract, it is always best to ask your lawyer for a full-detailed explanation of what is in it, what you want to be included, and all of the conditions that you and your lawyer require.
The fourth and the last most common fee lawyers in the Philippines charge for is the Contingency Fee. A contingency fee is a percentage that the lawyer gets if he wins the case and is usually could be around 30 up to 50 percent of the property or money involved. Yes, you have indeed read it right. It is admittedly very risky for the lawyer since he or she would not get paid if he/she does not get to win the case. Most of the time, this kind of arrangement is being utilized by clients who do not have the ability to pay for the services of a lawyer. Most lawyers who agree to this fee are confident enough of their skills and capabilities so know that if a lawyer agrees to this, you are in good hands and that the lawyer’s motivation to win is really high.
If you think hiring a private lawyer may be too much for you, you may also check if you are qualified for free legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) since the four fees listed above are just among the most common charges you would have to pay for a private lawyer. You must keep in mind that there are other fees lawyers may charge and that inquiring about these is always best for the both of you. If you do not qualify for PAO’s services, however, do not hesitate to contact Yap, Kung, Ching & Associates Law services at +632 790-0112 to help you with any legal assistance you may need.