I kind of have multiple questions under the scope of lawyer fees. They're about a federal white collar criminal case of this friend of mine. I won't get into details as these are rather general questions. Thanks in advance for your help!

So the attorney has a certain flat fee rate. My first question is, if the attorney were to be terminated, **how should the fees be calculated? **By hours/minutes, or by blocks of work completed?

Second question: Are lawyers even allowed to have 'after hour' fees. For example, a lawyer working on a case charges one fee when he/she works during the day (9pm-6pm) and another higher fee if he/she works on it during the night/weekend. Are they allowed to do so? Some lawyers haven't even heard of this system so I just want to confirm. The mentioned friend (the client) retained a lawyer that purposely work after hours to make more money, and does not make any form of communication during the day. Should that be allowed?

My main question: When a client has terminated a lawyer, and they request a detailed bill of the fee for the hours/work completed so far, can the lawyer refuse to provide it? The client wants some of the money back as a refund, as not alot of work was completed. Whether the fee was calculated by mins/hours or by blocks of work completed up until that point, the lawyers are required to provide that information when requested by the client right?

I would be glad to clarify/edit anything that may not make sense. Thank you once again for your help.

  • 1
    It's all up to the lawyer's Terms of Engagement that you would have seen and accepted.
    – Greendrake
    Oct 31, 2017 at 0:58
  • @Greendrake I guess that's fair enough but can the attorney refuse a bill document?
    – user14142
    Oct 31, 2017 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


If the client terminated the contract pursuant to a clause of the contract then that clause will deal with how much the lawyer is paid.

If they terminated the contract for cause then they can sue for damages. If they repudiated the contract (i.e. terminated without cause) then the lawyer can sue for damages.

Unless the fee is calculated with relation to time worked, there would be no need for a bill based on that.

  • So the client did terminate the contract for cause, however they do not want to sue for damages. How would the refund be calculated? It was a flat fee, however I feel like it's reasonable to demand a bill based on amount of work completed, or at the very least by hours/minutes. The lawyer refuses to provide either. That's not right, right?
    – user14142
    Oct 31, 2017 at 21:35
  • 2
    What refund? The obligations under a terminated contract cease from the point of termination on, they do not affect prior obligations. If the client was to pay $X first and the lawyer was to then do work, if the contract is terminated before the work is completed the lawyer can keep the money.
    – Dale M
    Oct 31, 2017 at 22:50
  • I've been under the impression that clients can request an amount of money back. The lawyer has not done any work at all, he/she was meant to be a placeholder until a more suitable lawyer was found. A very substantial amount was payed...
    – user14142
    Oct 31, 2017 at 23:01

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