Reminder of the rules applicable to lawyers' fees
Determining fees and informing the client
The lawyer may not fix the fee solely based on the legal result. However, an agreement is authorized which, in addition to the remuneration of the services rendered, provides for an additional fee according to the result obtained or the service rendered.
Within these limits, the lawyer must fix the amount of the fees considering the following criteria:
• the time spent on the case,
• the research work to be done,
• the importance of the interests involved,
• the impact of the costs and charges of the firm to which he belongs,
• his notoriety, his titles, his seniority, his experience, and his specialization,
• the advantages and the result obtained for the benefit of the client by his work,
• the service rendered to the client.
• the situation of the client ‘s assets.
The lawyer informs his client, as soon as he is referred to him, about the methods for determining the fees and informs him regularly of the evolution of their amount. He also informs him of all the expenses, disbursements, and emoluments that he may incur.
Finally, fixed fees can be agreed upon.
The conclusion of a fee agreement
Since the law n°2015-990 of August 6, 2015 for Growth, Activity and Equal Economic Opportunities modifying article 10 of the law n°71-1130 of December 31, 1971, the establishment of a written fee agreement between the lawyer and his client is mandatory.
The lawyer must conclude a written fee agreement with his client, which specifies the amount or the method of determination of the fees covering the foreseeable diligence, as well as the various costs and disbursements envisaged.
This obligation can only be waived in exceptional cases: in case of emergency or force majeure or when the lawyer intervenes as part of the total legal aid or the aid for the intervention of the lawyer in non-judicial procedures. It should be specified that in case of emergency or force majeure, the obligation to conclude a fee agreement regains its grip once the emergency is over.
The method of payment of fees
Advances on costs and fees
A lawyer who accepts a case may ask his client to make an advance payment on his fees and expenses.
This advance cannot exceed a reasonable estimate of the fees and probable disbursements involved in the case.