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How Our Pricing Works

The key to a successful attorney-client relationship often hinges on the kind of financial arrangement the parties choose.

At Smith & Lo, we accept two types of payment arrangements:

  • Contingent fee agreements, or
  • Hourly rate payments.

These kinds of agreements are explained in more detail below. If you have questions, please feel free to call one of our employment attorneys at (310) 340-7677.

Contingent Fee Agreements

Most clients choose to hire us on a contingent fee basis. Under this kind of arrangement, our fee is contingent on us winning money or some benefit on your behalf. If we win, our payment usually takes two forms: the attorney fees that compensate us for our time, and repayment for any litigation expenses we advanced.

Attorney Fees

Put simply, in a contingent fee arrangement we only get paid a percentage of what we recover on your behalf. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.

This type of agreement is popular with our clients because it ensures that our pay is tied to their recovery. Meaning, we have an incentive to seek a favorable outcome on our client’s behalf. Also, in most contingent fee agreements, we require no upfront attorney fees, which can make the process of retaining our services easy.

If we choose to accept your case on a contingent fee basis, our attorney fees are 35% of the recovery if your case resolves before a lawsuit is filed or arbitration takes place. If your case resolves after that time, our attorney fees are 40% of the recovery in your case.

Other Expenses

The costs of pursuing a lawsuit are not limited to attorney fees. Many cases require the payment of a variety of legal expenses. In certain cases, we ask our clients to share their cases expenses with us. In others, however, we might be willing to advance many of litigation expenses.

If we choose to advance litigation costs in your case, those costs are deducted from any recovery after our attorney fees have been paid. Because we do not profit from these expenses, we deduct only the actual cost we advanced. Litigation expenses can include, among other expenses, the following:

  • Court Filing Fees. Every lawsuit involves a number of court filings, each of which cost money to file. For example, courts in both Los Angeles and Orange County charges $435.00 to file the initial lawsuit documents.
  • Process Serving Fees. In most cases, the opposing party needs to be formally served by a process server. These fees can be several hundred dollars or more depending on the number of people you need to sue and how difficult they are to locate.
  • Deposition Fees. A deposition is a type of recorded interview that attorneys conduct when preparing for a trial. It allows us to question important witnesses in your case. The fees to conduct a deposition vary depending on how much time the deposition requires.
  • Mediation or Arbitration Fees. In some cases, forms of alternative dispute resolution must be pursued. These situations often arise when, as part of an employment contract, the employee has signed an arbitration or mediation agreement. Mediation and arbitration can be costly.
  • Expert Witness Fees. Expert witnesses can help support certain aspects of a cases. Hiring them as consultants or witnesses is not free. The most common expert we consult are medical professionals in wrongful termination or disability cases.

Hourly Agreements

Some of our clients prefer to pay our hourly rate upfront. Under this kind of agreement, you would pay a retainer deposit in a pre-agreed amount. We would then deduct our hourly rate from the retainer deposit as we earn it.

Our hourly fee is $350.00 per hour. Depending on complexity of your case, the time required to assist you could be just a few hours, or a few hundred hours. The time required in each case depends on the tasks required, how strong the facts of the case are, the defenses raised by the employer, and the state of the controling law. Additionally, some employers may choose to vigorously fight even small matters, while others are interested in settling quickly for a reasonable amount.

Our hourly agreements are usually a good idea for clients who require assistance with minor issues in which no substantial monetary recovery is likely to be obtained.


The costs and expenses of every employment law case will vary from case to case. The best fee arrangement will depend primarily on what you are most comfortable with and what you can afford. Fortunately, our fee arrangements make representation available for many aggrieved employees.

If you are interested in learning more about the costs of hiring an employment lawyer, please call us at (310) 340-7677 to schedule a consultation today.

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