7 Ways to Pay For Legal Fees

by Frank

At some point, you may find yourself in a situation that requires legal advice and an attorney’s help. That also means the likelihood of having to pay legal fees for that assistance. Then, you may wonder how to pay those bills. The prospect of paying for a lawyer can be intimidating. Fees can range from hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s daunting to wonder how to get the legal help you need and be able to pay for it.

However, there are a few ways to pay and shoulder the costs of hiring an attorney without compromising the quality of legal representation. When you don’t have a lump sum of capital, or immediate access to a stash of cash, footing the bill for a lawyer’s help requires a broader range of critical thinking. You have to look at a wider pool of options, considering resources that you may not even know you have.

Then again, you could just take a quicker route and take a look at this list that might help alleviate the financial burden of a hefty legal bill.

Here are seven ways to pay your legal fees:

1) Family and Friends

The first thing you may want to consider is turning toward family and friends to help cover your legal bills. Asking the ones you love and trust is a great option because these are the people that have a vested interest in your personal welfare. While you may need to negotiate terms for repayment, getting a loan from the people close to you probably won’t ruin your credit or have skip tracers chasing you down. Also, the generosity of family and friends can be amazing. Some may not expect you to pay them back at all, urging you to consider financial help as a gift.

However, the relationships that you have with family and/or friends is irreplaceable. So, if you are offered assistance, make sure to treasure it. Integrity is utmost and working to pay back a personal loan means a lot. There’s an old adage that says never to mix friendship with money. The personal can quickly sour if all parties are not on the same page about financial arrangements. If someone cares enough about you to loan the money, consider yourself extremely fortunate and extend your gratitude. By all means, don’t take it for granted.

2) Payment Plan

Another way to cover your attorney’s fees is a payment plan. Some lawyers are willing to set up payment plans for incurred legal bills. For the most part, such plans are set up as contractual agreements and are legally binding once you sign the dotted line. The key is to make sure the attorney is willing to accept a payment plan and local bar associations are a wonderful resource to determine who may or may not do so. However, be prepared to cover an upfront retainer fee to secure their services. This is somewhat of a “good faith” payment that suggest you will honor a payment plan agreement in the future.

3) Credit Card

Many attorneys will accept credit cards to pay legal fees. However, if it’s a bankruptcy case, accepting this form of payment for how to pay is not only unethical, it is outside of the bounds of the law. Filing bankruptcy is done to ease or absolve certain legal debts. So, using a credit card to pay off a lawyer’s billing for bankruptcy may be considered fraud.

Still, if the legal issue does not concern discharging debt, credit card payments may be a viable option. It takes you off the instant hook of dealing with attorney’s fees, but you will still have to make payment arrangements with your credit card company.

4) One-Time Payment

A one-time payment fee is also commonly known as a consultation fee. In some cases, a person may be able to present their case to the court ‘pro se’, or on their own without being represented by a lawyer. However, many people seek an attorney’s advice before taking that route. In such cases, getting legal advice from a lawyer may require you to make a one-time payment for their legal guidance. If you are able to represent yourself in a court case, but need legal advice, a one-time payment is significantly lower than hiring an attorney to represent you.

5) Personal Loan

Personal loans can be obtained through banks and lenders. These loans may be secured, backed by a cash deposit or some other type of collateral. These loans could also be unsecured, meaning that obtaining such a loan is heavily based on credit. Personal loans can be used to pay for a wide variety of things, including lawyer fees. If you meet the credit requirements for a personal loan, it could give you the freedom to pay a lawyer to represent your legal issue as soon as the funds are available. However, you would still be liable for paying off the loan based on the lender’s terms.

6) Private Fundraising

Private fundraising sites have become increasingly popular. A person is in need, presents their circumstances and appeals to a sympathetic public to contribute to their cause. While such sites do come with a certain amount of general scrutiny and commentary from the masses, there are contributors that will feel for your financial situation and may be willing to help out.

Be sure to be as honest and upfront as possible when using private fundraising as a financial resource to help pay your legal fees. Do your research, too. Specific fundraising sites actually cater to paying an attorney’s fees.

7) Arrange Contingency Fee

Some lawyers openly advertise that payment will only be due if your case is won. Yet, it doesn’t mean an attorney will not accept this as payment otherwise. If you can arrange a contingency fee, a lawyer will take a percentage of monetary damages for your case as agreed upon by both parties. This could curtail the overall cost of attorney fees, satisfying your representative needs and fairly compensating your lawyer for their time.

If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.