Attorney’s Fee

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Attorney’s Fee

Attorney’s Fee

Quick Summary of Attorney’s Fee

The amount billed to a client for legal services performed on his or her behalf. Attorney’s fees may be an hourly, flat (for a particular service, e.g. $10,000 to handle all aspects of a DUI case), or contingent fee (a percentage of client’s recovery, e.g. 33%). Attorney’s fees may be set by an attorney-client compensation agreement or in certain types of cases, by statute or a court.

What is the dictionary definition of Attorney’s Fee?

Dictionary Definition

n. the payment for legal services.

Full Definition of Attorney’s Fee

It can take several forms

  1. hourly charge,
  2. flat fee for the performance of a particular service (like $250 to write a will),
  3. contingent fee (such as one-third of the gross recovery, and nothing if there is no recovery),
  4. statutory fees (such as percentages of an estate for representing the estate),
  5. court-approved fees (such as in bankruptcy or guardianships),
  6. some mixture of hourly and contingent fees or other combinations.

It is wise (and often mandatory) for the attorney and the client to have a signed contract for any extensive legal work, particularly in contingent fee cases. Most attorneys keep records of time spent on cases to justify fees (and keep track of when actions were taken), even when the work is not on an hourly basis. A “retainer” is a down payment on fees, often required by the attorney in order to make sure he or she is not left holding the bag for work performed, or at least as a good faith indication that the client is serious and can afford the services. On the other hand, contingent fees require limits (often one-third) to protect the unwary client. Attorney fee disputes can be decided by arbitration, often operated by the local bar association.

Attorney’s fees are not awarded to the winning party in a lawsuit except where there is a provision in a contract for the fees or there is a statute that provides for an award of fees in the particular type of case.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Attorney’s Fee. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
August 08, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Attorney’s Fee. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 08, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Attorney’s Fee. Retrieved August 08, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Attorney’s Fee are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 22nd November, 2021 | 0 Views.