How Are Employment Lawyers Paid?

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Employment lawyers are lawyers who specialize in helping people whose workplace rights have been violated by an employer. When someone is experiencing discrimination at work, has been wrongfully fired, or has been denied leave to care for a sick child or family member, an employment lawyer can help them.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about how employment lawyers’ payment works.

How Are Employment Lawyers Paid?

Some employment lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis. That means that they don’t get paid upfront and you don’t have to pay any kind of a retainer to get their help. When your case is settled, and you receive a monetary award the employment lawyer gets a portion of that money. The percentage that goes to the employment attorney varies based on many factors. But, in most cases, the average percentage for a contingency fee is 33%. When you receive a monetary settlement or award, 33% of the money that you receive would go to the employment attorney for their work.

Other employment attorneys may require payment in the form of an hourly fee. This means that they may charge you for each hour spent on your case. The average cost is about $200-$650 per hour. Some may also ask for a ‘retainer’ upfront. This is like a down payment for their services. They’ll then withdraw fees from the retainer and bill you once they withdraw from the full retainer.
In addition, there are some employment lawyers who may do a combination of contingency fees and hourly fees. You may pay a smaller retainer fee as well as pay out the lawyer with a smaller percentage of your settlement.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Lawyer?

If you need to talk to an employment lawyer because you’re experiencing discrimination or some other violation of your workplace rights, you can talk to a lawyer for free. Many lawyers may offer a free consultation to assess if you have a valid claim. Here, you can ask how their firm expects payment and may even be able to negotiate if needed.

How Much Will An Employment Lawyer Charge Me For My Claim?  

It’s very common for people to not be sure if they have a legitimate claim against an employer. If you think that your workplace rights were violated but you want to get some expert legal advice from an employment attorney, it can cost you nothing to talk with a lawyer. This is because many employment law attorneys offer a free consultation. When you make your appointment for the consultation, ask if you will be charged.

While working with an attorney who charges by the hour, along with an hourly fee, you may be charged for things like:

  • Court filing fees;
  • Witness fees;
  • Any other fees associated with your claim.

Attorneys working on a contingency fee basis will only charge for the percentage of your settlement that is determined ahead of time.

The best way to know what your employment lawyer will charge is to ask right away. This can help paint a clear picture of any future payments as well as negotiate if needed.

How Do I Choose The Best Employment Lawyer For My Claim?  

When choosing your employment lawyer, look at reviews for the firm. Places like Google, Yelp, and other online directories often have honest reviews of what it was like to work with your lawyer. If you have friends or family that have worked with your lawyer in the past, ask them about their experience.

Another factor to consider is your case and what the attorney’s payment structure is. If your claim is going to be more difficult to win, then it may take longer, resulting in more fees when paying by the hour. In certain scenarios, you may want to make sure your attorney will be paid on a contingency fee basis if you are unable to afford the hourly fees.

How Much Does It Cost to See if I Have a Claim?  

In most cases, there is never a fee to talk with an employment lawyer about what you’re experiencing to see if you have a legitimate claim against an employer. Many attorneys will offer free consultations to determine if you have a claim. When meeting with an employment lawyer for the first time, ask beforehand if the consultation is free.

The Free Case Evaluation form on this page can connect you with an independent, participating employment lawyer who subscribes to the website and may be able to help you with your claim.

When You Should Hire an Employment Lawyer

At the first sign of discrimination or any type of workplace rights violation, you should speak to an employment lawyer. Discrimination, harassment, and bullying can escalate quickly so the sooner you get some expert legal advice the better off you’ll be. Don’t wait until the point of being ready to quit. Talk to an employment lawyer about your claim right away.

Why You Should Hire an Employment Lawyer

Hiring an employment lawyer is the best way to make sure that your claim against your employer is successful. The advice that an employment attorney can provide may help you file your claim and choose the right supporting evidence to make sure that you prove your claim. An employment lawyer can also negotiate for you with the employer or the employer’s attorneys to make sure that you get the best possible settlement.


When your rights are violated at work you should stand up for yourself and for other workers and make sure that your employer is held accountable. Fill out a Free Case Evaluation now and get connected with an independent, participating employment lawyer who subscribes to the website.

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