In the personal injury, wrongful death, and denied life insurance cases I handle the attorney fee is a percentage of the final recovery. It’s called a “contingency fee”. It means I only get paid if you recover, and I don’t get paid for my work until the end. If the case settles out of court or if there’s a jury verdict and final judgment, a part of that is used to pay the contingency attorney fee.
If I advance expenses (for things such as records, filing fees, court reporters or expert witnesses, etc.) those are paid back at the end in addition to the attorney fee. Sometimes, clients pay the expenses as the case proceeds.
In some cases involving business disputes or when I give insurance advice, I keep a time record and get paid by the hour. A retainer is paid and put into trust, and bills are sent each month.
The fee will be clearly spelled out in the contract we sign.