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Frequently Asked Questions in Age Discrimination

How to Hire Your Age Discrimination Lawyer

Warning Signs of Age Discrimination

Legal Fees for Age Discrimination Cases

Kramer + Crone AgeRights

Legal Fees for a Federal Employment Discrimination Case

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much are attorney’s fees?

The exact fee will vary with the services you require. Discrimination cases require many services and activities. Issues may include: the employer’s discriminatory intent, the reasonableness of its investigation, the pretextual nature of its proffered reason for an adverse employment decision, the effectiveness of its anti-discrimination policies and procedures, the discriminatory effect of downsizing and layoffs, as well as your damages, backpay, front pay, mitigation of damages, the value of your employee benefits, such as pension and health plans, and the recovery of your attorney's fees and costs. Services may include: court appearances, research, investigation, correspondence, conferences, settlement negotiations with the opposing party’s attorney, preparation of pleadings and other legal documents, pre-trial discovery, trial preparation, and trial. If a trial is necessary, the court has the authority to order your employer to pay your attorney’s fees. The amount awarded by the court may not cover the full amount of the attorney's fees. Attorney’s fees do not include expenses associated with your case.


2. How are attorney’s fees calculated?

You have several options on how to agree with your attorney to calculate what his fee will be.

  • Hourly Rate: By far, the most common method of calculating fees is charging for the amount of time required for each service. Hourly rates can differ dramatically. A greater hourly rate does not guarantee a superior service. Typical hourly rates range from $75 per hour up to $300 per hour. Some lawyers have different hourly rates depending upon the complexity of the case. The more time it takes to complete your case, the more it can cost under this arrangement.
  • Contingency Fee: This method is used to award the attorney an agreed-upon percentage of your total recovery regardless of how much time the attorney spends on your case. This method is used most often when a case can be easily and quickly evaluated with regard to liability and damages. This method is most often associated with personal injury claims, such as slip and falls and auto accidents.
  • Blended Fees: This method is a modern combination of the more traditional hourly rate and contingency fee options. You and your attorney agree on a cap for the hourly rate component with a percentage of the recovery payable to the attorney in the event of recovery. This method compensates the attorney for the work done in the early stages of the case when neither you nor he can clearly understand the likelihood of recovery and encourages the attorney to quickly resolve the matter. Feel free to negotiate the terms of this arrangement. Hourly rates, the amount of the cap, and the percentage of the contingency fee are often adjusted to fit each situation. Many busy attorneys will charge a hefty retainer or deposit just to compensate them for taking on your case along with the rest of their case load.


3. How much are court costs?

The Federal District Court charges approximately $150 to file a case. State courts have their own cost structure. The courts, both state and federal, charge fees for filing legal pleadings and other papers. If there are many motions or other hearings, the court cost could reach as much as several hundred dollars.


4. Are there any other expenses?

Yes. Attorney’s fees do not include your out-of-pocket expenses to pursue your case. Lawyers are ethically prohibited by most state supreme court rules from paying those expenses for you. Examples of expenses can include court reporter fees, copies, subpoena service, experts’ fees, court costs, deposition transcription costs, telephone toll calls, travel costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.


5. What is a reasonable fee?

Each case is different, with fees ranging from several hundred dollars to over $100,000 in contested matters.


6. I went to one lawyer who said that he would charge a percentage of the settlement. Isn’t this a good deal for someone without access to financial resources?

It can be. Sometimes a contingency fee in a discrimination case makes sense. Contingency fees by themselves do not always provide incentive for your attorney to aggressively pursue your case. Sometimes a percentage of your recovery will grossly over compensate your attorney. Sometimes it will bankrupt him to do everything that must be done to properly represent you. The best fee in a discrimination case is one that fits your circumstance after consultation with your attorney.


7. The lawyer I selected asked me to pay a retainer. Is this appropriate?

Absolutely. Lawyers are compensated for their time and advice. There is an old saying that when a client pays a retainer, the client knows he or she has a lawyer, and the lawyer knows he or she has a client. Always make sure, however, your agreement with the lawyer is in writing.


8. How do I know if time charges are accurate?

Two very important things to look for are a written agreement or contract and detailed monthly billing statements or invoices. The written agreement should spell out in detail how time is billed and fees are calculated. The billing statements should be generated generally on a monthly basis and be detailed. There is no iron-clad way of knowing whether time charges are accurate, but insist on an itemized statement and compare the charges to time you know that was spent. For example, if you spoke to the lawyer for 15 minutes on February 20, make a record of the call and compare it with the invoice. If you are concerned, call your lawyer and ask questions. If you dispute the fee or are not satisfied with the response, put your reasons in writing and mail it to the lawyer. The lawyer is required by the ethical code of his profession to respond to your concerns and answer all questions directly. If the lawyer is evasive, hire another lawyer. If there is a major dispute that is not resolved, all states have boards that have the authority to discipline lawyers.

Information provided by Alan G. Crone, employment discrimination attorney in Memphis, courtesy of


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For more information on Overtime Pay and Employment Law, please visit the main Overtime Pay Law website and our network of law information web sites: American Work Rights, Medical Overtime, Memphis Divorce, Overtime Pay Law, State Overtime Law, Overtime Scams, FLSA Class Action, and the Tennessee Employment Law Center. Notice: Kramer + Crone attorneys provide legal advice and practice law for clients in federal district courts throughout the United States and in state courts where we are licensed to practice. Copyright ©2010 Kramer + Crone PLC.