An attorney loan is a loan that can be used to pay for legal services. No matter who you are, you may need a lawyer at some point and you may need loans to pay for attorney fees. If you don’t have a lot of money you can put toward hiring a lawyer then you will need help and this is where attorney loans come in. In order to get an attorney loan, you need to consider several important things.
Things to Consider With an Attorney Loan
One of the things you will need to consider when deciding to take out loans for attorney fees is whether or not you can qualify for this type of loan. Loans that you use to just pay for legal expenses may be a risk for lenders. People with higher credit scores are more likely to be approved for a loan. However, there are still options for those with poor credit.
You may also want to consider the likelihood of winning your case. For civil cases where you are expecting a payout, you may not be able to pay back the loan unless you win. In a case where the judgment awarded is less than the loan, the borrower is still held responsible for the total sum of the loan. Even though loan lenders usually won’t ask what you will be doing with the money, you will be responsible for the end result of whether or not you will be able to pay back your loan. You don’t want the outcome of your case to affect whether or not you can pay back the loan or you could end up in more legal trouble.
But you will want to know how much the lawyer is going to charge you before you get a loan. You don’t want to take out more money than you need since there will be interest on the money you take out. It could help to choose a lawyer who has a payment plan that allows you to pay a predetermined amount so you will know how much you will need to pay overall. When you are working with lawyers who get paid by the hour, it can be challenging to figure out the amount you will need since you aren’t sure how many hours the case will require.
How to Find Attorney Loans Online
The first step toward getting an attorney loan online is to shop around. You want to look at the fees and interest rates associated with different third-party lenders and then compare them carefully. Then, once you find one that will work for you, apply for an amount that will cover attorney fees. It’s best to not ask for more than what is needed since you don’t want to put yourself in more debt.
Reasons for Attorney Loans
There can be a number of reasons why you need an attorney loan.
High legal fees are nothing unusual and good lawyers will often charge even higher fees. An attorney loan can help you pay for your lawyer bill and allow you to split the cost out over time. An attorney loan can also help you pay for the costs associated with a lawsuit. This doesn’t just include the attorney fees but also the associated court fees.
When someone you care about is in jail and you want to get him or her out as soon as you can, you may not have the money for this expense. A lawyer or bail loan can help in this case.
If you are charged with a crime, you want the best lawyer available to avoid any jail time. This is not the time to cut costs so it’s necessary to get an attorney loan so you can move on with life.
Advantages of Attorney Loans
If your financial state is dire and you need funds to pay for a lawyer, an attorney loan can give you the opportunity to get these funds while still being able to pay other expenses such as rent, automobile loans, and other living expenses while the lawsuit is pending. Many times, individuals will settle a personal injury case outside of court because they can’t afford a lawyer. With this, they could be missing out on judgments that could greatly improve their lives.
Disadvantages of Attorney Loans
The main disadvantages of legal loans are high-interest rates. A personal injury case can be quite lengthy and it can be years before the parties come to a settlement agreement. The interest rate on the loan can vary depending on the terms and you still have to pay back the loan whether you win or not. The lender is not the only party at risk with these loans and the borrower also shares some risk. Since legal loans are fairly new in the financial industry they aren’t regulated the same way other types of loans are. There are little restrictions on the amount of interest that can be charged or other terms in the agreement. It’s important to make sure you are reading the agreement fully and understand it so you know what you are getting into.
Can You Get a Personal Loan to Pay for a Lawyer?
A personal loan to pay for an attorney is available for the right type of cases. Some cases, such as legal contracts or divorces, can be basic as long as parties are in agreement but you may still want the help of a lawyer.
When shopping for a personal loan, one of the first things you want to do is check your credit score. A strong credit score will give you a better chance of qualifying for a loan and getting a lower interest rate. If you can, take steps to build up your score before you apply to have the best chance. By knowing your credit score, you can get a better idea of the interest rate you will have and then you can estimate the payments.
When you prequalify for a loan, you can get a sneak peek at the offers you are getting. If you have prequalified offers, now is the time to shop around for personal loans. And when shopping for personal loans, you want to compare the loan amounts, the interest rates, and the monthly payments. When you use a loan site online, it’s easy to loan shop. Once you have picked a loan, be sure to read all the fine print. You want to know about any surprises to your APR, if there are any prepayment penalties, and if there are any flexible payment features.
Hiring a Lawyer with Little or No Money
Besides getting a loan, there can be other ways to pay for a lawyer with little or no money. For a criminal case, if you are demonstrating financial hardship then the court will assign appointed counsel for you. This is part of your constitutional rights for an attorney. However, even when you aren’t arrested and don’t need a lawyer to avoid jail time, there can still be other instances when you need a lawyer to help you out.
Getting help from organizations
There can be options for help through nonprofits in your state. There are different organizations that can help you with no fee at all. Not everyone will qualify to get legal aid. The type of services you could be eligible for will depend on your annual gross family income. However, most people will have to have little or money in the bank after paying for monthly essentials. If your income doesn’t meet the qualifications for low-income services then look for sliding fee programs. These programs modify legal fees based on income to help people with moderate incomes.
Getting help from a university
You can also utilize services at a law school. If you are a student then you can get help from your university. Many different universities have student legal services that are free to students. Even if you aren’t a student, you may still be able to go to a law school for help. Law schools can offer pro bono work to low-income individuals. In this event, a law student or a recent grad handles your case. Many law schools actually encourage students to complete a certain number of hours of pro bono work during each law school year.
Requesting a payment plan
Another way to pay with little money is to ask your attorney about a payment plan. You may never know until you ask. Many attorneys will not make you pay the full fees upfront and many can be willing to discuss a payment plan with you. It helps to know what kind of lawyer you need when figuring out fees. Some personal injury attorneys will work on contingency, which means they will only get a fee if the case is successful. If the case wins then the fee they will get is determined by a statute that determines the set amount they recover. However, a criminal defense lawyer will need to be paid regardless of what happens in the outcome. These lawyers aren’t able to promise a specific outcome on the case. There also aren’t any damages awarded where they can make up their fees.
Utilize the service of legal self-help clinics and legal hotlines. Many states will provide legal services through self-help clinics. These types of clinics are set up to connect people who have knowledge of the law and are working on putting their own cases together. Check with your local courthouse to see what days your specific issue can be addressed by the experts and show up early to make sure you are seen on that date. Those that need legal help for certain situations like domestic abuse can call a legal hotline for advice. Since the laws can vary from state to state, it’s important to call the legal hotline in the state you are in to make sure you receive the correct information.
Understanding How to Pay a Lawyer
There are different ways to pay your lawyer and understanding how to pay your lawyer can help you when you are taking out an attorney loan.
Upfront Fees and Retainer: The most common way to pay is with an upfront fee. This fee is called a retainer. The retainer will cover the lawyer’s time for several hours of work. Once that money is used up, you will be charged an hourly rate. If the hours start to add up then so will your fees.
Hourly Rates: This is the simplest to understand. Your attorney establishes an hourly rate. So, you are billed depending on the number of hours that are spent on your case.
Contingency Fees: It helps to know if your lawyer will work on a contingency basis. This cannot be for every type of case. This is usually only for personal injury cases. These cases will yield higher payouts, which makes them worth the risk.
Fixed Flat Fees: Fees for certain cases may be simpler. You can pay items like contract negotiations with a flat fee since the lawyer knows how much time this will take. A prenuptial agreement or an uncontested divorce is another example of a case that can be paid with a flat fee. Getting an attorney loan can be a great way to pay for a case where there is a flat fee.
The majority of lawyers don’t take credit cards. Instead, they want to find another way to get you help with paying. Some lawyers are starting to accept digital payments but many prefer upfront payments for services. This means that the money is available for them. This can mean they use it to pay for the business and to pay other clients.
How to Save on Legal Fees
Saving on legal fees can help you reduce the amount of money you will have to take out for a loan. This makes it easier to pay back and can lead to paying back less interest over time. There are different ways you can save on legal fees.
Prepare and Research
In order to save, before you contact any lawyers, do as much research as you can. Use any free online help tools and brochures that many organizations have online to help you. You want to be able to understand your case and the entire legal process. This will tell you what kind of lawyer you need and what a lawyer can do for you. It helps to have all the documents you need for the case organized so they are easy to find when you need them.
Lower Billable Hours
Some lawyers will bill by the hour. If you want to save then you will need to reduce the hours the lawyer is spending on the case. In order to do this, don’t call them first and wait for them to call you. The time spent on a phone call will be added to your bill. Unless something is very important, you don’t want to bother with unnecessary time on the phone.
If you don’t understand something, be sure to ask questions. You don’t want to sign anything you haven’t read or understand completely. When you first realize you don’t understand something, ask questions to save time and money. If you let a lot of time pass before you ask questions then you will have to catch up on the knowledge of everything that happened when you first became confused. There are other ways to save on legal fees, but these several tips can also help you immensely.
Attorney Loans for Different Cases
The best outcome for attorney loans will depend on what type of case you have.
Divorce: If you are taking out an attorney loan to pay for the legal fees during a divorce, it does require some special consideration. Finances can deteriorate when a family breaks apart, making paying back the loan more challenging. If needed, each spouse should be borrowing in his or her own name. The amount should be based on individual income instead of household earnings. A non-working spouse may find it hard to borrow without an income source.
Adoption: Taking out an attorney loan to cover legal fees of child adoption may only address a portion of the financial problem. The average cost of adoption can exceed what most lenders will approve and give, even for the most qualified. They can still borrow for this to ease some of the financial burdens.
Criminal Defense: Getting an attorney loan to pay for criminal defense should be the last resort. These individuals could be facing jail time. Lenders also shy away from any borrowers with a criminal record or anyone without an income.
If you need help paying for legal fees, attorney loans can help. There are some things you want to consider when getting an attorney loan. It helps to know a little bit about your case and how much the lawyer is going to be charging. There are advantages and disadvantages of attorney loans. It helps if your credit score is higher but there are options for personal loans for those with bad credit. There are ways to save on legal fees so you don’t have to take out as much with a loan. But you also need an understanding of how lawyers charge in order to make the best decisions with attorney loans.
Kevin Strauss is a personal finance writer and homeowner based in the Los Angeles area. Being in one of the most expensive markets in the country, he’s learned to maximize resources to plan for both his monthly expenses and future financial needs. Kevin has a passion for helping those in a similar situation navigate the complex world of personal finance so they can pay down debt, plan for the future and live out their dreams. In addition to covering personal finance in depth on Loanry.com, Cashry.com, Debtry.com, Budgetry.com, Billry.com, Creditry.com and Taxry.com. Kevin shares his expertise with readers who want to create budget-friendly habits across the web.