The fees charged by a civil litigation attorney depend on a few factors. They may be based on an hourly rate or a percentage of the settlement. If the case is filed in a different district, the fees charged may differ. The rule that governs out-of-district litigation is called the forum rule.
Lawyer’s hourly rate
Lawyers’ hourly rates vary greatly across states. Some states charge less than half of the national average, while others charge more than double that. The average lawyer hourly rate in the District of Columbia is $380, up 8.4% from the previous year. The second highest is New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. The ninth highest is Florida.
A lawyer’s hourly rate is affected by several factors, including location. For example, attorneys in smaller towns tend to bill at lower rates than those in large cities. On the other hand, attorneys with more experience and a well-known reputation will charge higher rates. In general, the higher the hourly rate, the higher the attorney’s level of expertise.
Hourly rates can vary widely between large and small law firms. Large law firms typically charge more than one hundred dollars per hour. Many attorneys charge a retainer fee, which is like a down payment for their time. The fee is nonrefundable if the client decides not to proceed with the case.
An out-of-district civil litigation attorney charges higher fees than an attorney who represents a plaintiff in the same court in the same district. This is particularly the case if the plaintiff seeks a jury verdict that exceeds $100,000. The Second Circuit has held that an out-of-district lawyer’s fees should be lower than those charged in the same district. However, the Second Circuit has not yet reached a final decision.
In the recent case of Arbor Hill, the court rejected a plaintiff’s claim that out-of-district counsel would be more expensive than the plaintiff’s attorneys. The court stated that a reasonable paying client would have understood that law firms earn substantial non-monetary returns and would have insisted on paying Albany attorneys a lower fee than plaintiff’s attorneys.
There are several factors that should be considered before agreeing to out-of-district fees. The first factor is the lawyer’s experience. The attorney must have the experience to handle complex litigation.
If a contract has a forum selection clause, awarding attorneys’ fees for a breach of that clause is not in violation of the American Rule. The American Rule generally requires that each side bear its own costs, and this rule does not prevent courts from awarding fees when the contract specifies the forum for litigation. In these cases, attorneys’ fees are based on direct damages rather than damages for the cost of bringing a lawsuit.
Under the forum rule, the federal courts must consider the “community” within which the litigation is taking place. Traditionally, federal courts have considered the geographic area of the district where the court is located. However, the Second Circuit has pointed out that the district’s geographic area could skew the results.