Understand the lawyers fee structure
The legal fee could be divided into a fixed fee (usually for routine legal work), an hourly fee, a retainer fee (so that the lawyer is always available to handle your case) or a contingency fee (where you pay the lawyer a certain percentage of the money you receive as compensation). Speak to the lawyer in detail regarding the fee structure and what services are included in the fee. If there are any additional charges, these should be clarified beforehand.
What you should ask in a fixed fee case.
A fixed fee is also called a standard fee and is usually chargeable by lawyers in routine cases. An example would be a simple private company formation for which a lawyer may charge all clients $2000. As the same suggests, a fixed fee should be 'fixed', however this should be calrified with the lawyer. There should be clarity about additional charges if any that are not included in the fixed fee.
What you should ask in a contingency fee case.
When discussing the lawyers fee in contingency cases ie. where the lawyer retains a portion of the compenstion paid to the client, you must a number of important questions. Most importantly, what is the percentage of the fee the lawyer will take away. Always make it a point to ascertain the percentage on whether the case has been settled, goes to trial or goes to appeals court. The percentage could vary based upon the outcome of the case, the you must know what the lawyer will take away.