Posts Tagged ‘attorney’

For lawyers, the mystification regarding the laws surrounding lawyer referral fees can be a common complaint.  As I mentioned in an earlier article, only lawyers can receive referral fees.  Many attorneys think this is an outdated practice, as it completely goes against how most other businesses operate. Giving someone an incentive to help you bring in new business should not be considered a crime. And yet, referral fees to non-lawyers is considered attorney misconduct. Today I ask you – should it be? (more…)

Joshua Just Lawyer Fee Structures

For anyone searching for information on how much a lawyer will cost, the lawyer fee structures seem like a complicated and often misunderstood process. However, rest assured that the number one lawyer fee structure (hourly rate) is pretty straightforward. Here is an explanation of how the different types of lawyer fees are generated.

Lawyer Fee Structures #1: Hourly Billing

Hourly billing is the most common way lawyer fee structures are set up and how most attorneys make their money.  The lawyers typically get paid an agreed-upon hourly rate for the hours he or she works on a case until it is completely resolved.  This is the most common practice of lawyer fee structures because it adequately assesses all the “behind the scenes” work that goes into the majority of cases – phone calls, research, analysis, etc – that are accomplished whether a case is won or lost.  Rates vary considerably per attorney. From lawyers.com:

“Rates may vary anywhere from $50 an hour to a $1,000 an hour or more…Hourly billing rates can often depend on a combination of the lawyer’s professional experience and reputation.”

In addition, law offices may also charge for the time of other legal personnel. For example, hourly billing rates for senior paralegals and legal assistants vary significantly.

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As political robocalls get flak from the FTC lawyers, who claim they’re in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, I’m reminded of when TASC sent an open letter to the FTC last fall after FTC lawyers gave testimony before the U.S. Senate on abusive telemarketing.

According to the FTC lawyers, consumers who signed up for the debt settlement services were charged money up front and promised it back if the callers failed to deliver at least $2,500 in interest rate savings. Instead of arranging reduced interest rates, the complaint states, the defendants sent consumers instructions to pay down their credit card debts early, thus saving money on interest. Consumers who complained and demanded refunds allegedly were denied outright, got the run-around, or had a $199 “nonrefundable fee” deducted from their refund.”

At the request of  FTC’s  government lawyers, a federal judge shut down the three debt settlement companies in question. Then the FTC lawyers went on to argue for stricter telemarketing laws, specifically for the marketing debt relief services.

The Joshua Just take? Joshua Just, an attorney and debt settlement specialist points out that those companies definitely weren’t acting on the up and up, and deserved to be shut down. But debt settlement telemarketing helps reach those who need help getting out of debt – it’s a viable way to let people know about services that are helping thousands of citizens with financial struggles. According to TASC’s letter, a recent survey by the organization yielded results that show that:

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