The legal service invoice is used to be paid for any type of counsel that is hired to provide advice, consultation, and representation. The client will generally pay a retainer to the attorney after an agreement has been made for services. The retainer acts as a commitment for the attorney to begin working, commonly a preset number (#) of hours, which may be sent to the client with this invoice and any additional receivables to the client.
Table of Contents
- What does an Attorney do?
- Popular Types of Attorneys
- Difference between a Lawyer and an Attorney
- Separating Funds (Trust/Escrow Accounts)
- 50-State BAR Search
- Attorney Salary & Hourly Rate ($/hr)
An attorney acts as an individual’s legal counsel by representing their best interests while advising and providing guidance. Due to most attorneys specializing in a specific type of legal field, a client will commonly have a loyalty to a law office or a network that offers a full range of qualified representation.
Attorneys usually work with co-counsel or paralegals that assist in a lot of the administrative items such as writing contracts, schedule making, and handling matters at a lesser rate ($/hr).
- Criminal Defense
- Estate Planning
- Intellectual Property (patent, trademark, etc.)
- Family Law (divorce, child custody, etc.)
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate (landlord/tenant, purchase and sale, etc.)
There is no difference between a lawyer and an attorney. They are the exact same thing sharing the common qualification of passing the State BAR exam and being allowed to practice law within the State (except New Hampshire and Wisconsin do not require admission to the State BAR).
An attorney, if accepting money or property on the client’s behalf, may not place the funds in the same bank account as the attorney’s property. All monies and property given to the attorney must be placed in a trust or escrow account in accordance with State law.
The escrow or trust account, if interest is collected, shall be returned to the client (except in New York where the account may not collect interest).
Available in all fifty (50) States, attorneys may place funds from clients into an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) account to help the poor and for charitable purposes.
- How does an IOLTA Escrow Account work?
The IOLTA was established in 1981 to handle small deposits or funds that are to be kept in an escrow account for a short-term basis. Prior to 1981, attorneys would place a client’s funds in a checking account that was pooled together with other clients’ money that was not collecting interest. Also, if the client wanted to collect interest on the money the fees associated with setting up the account wouldn’t justify the accruing interest.
Therefore, the IOLTA was created to collect interest on these smaller or short-term deposits for the benefit of a charitable cause and for the poor.
Use any of the 50-State Bar portals to conduct a search of an attorney and verify the status of their license.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Salary: $117,118 (source: glassdoor)
Hourly Rate: $35/hr for a new attorney up to $800/hr for 30+ years experience (source: upcounsel)