Look before you leap and know how much you are willing to spend. Ask what the fee is likely to be before you begin. Like any other service, some lawyers charge more than others. A simple service like preparing a typical will or business incorporation filing should have a standard charge. On the other hand, a complicated lawsuit may require a retainer and regular payments for a period of months or years. Some lawyers take cases based on a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the award if the case is successful. Other lawyers charge a flat fee for each service provided.
Be sure you understand the fees before you sign any agreement for representation. Additionally, make sure you know how and when you will be billed. Every attorney should be able to put your agreement in writing. The engagement agreement covers the fees and other costs so you know exactly what you will be charged and when you will be billed. Your agreement should cover exclusions as well. The exclusions are important. Read your contract carefully. You do not want to pay for services you ONLY think you will receive.