If you are the victim of online harassment, defamation, or another internet-related issue, you may be worried about how to afford the legal representation that you need to get that damaging content removed or put an end to the internet abuse.
Prospective legal clients are often concerned with the costs of legal representation, and it is quite common for them to consider financing options as part of the solution. At Minc Law, we aim to be as transparent as possible so that our clients are on the same page and know what to expect when hiring us. Your financial decisions are personal and meaningful, and we do not take this topic lightly.
If you hire Minc Law, you have the following options available to you to secure financing for the retainer fee that covers your legal needs:
Obtaining a loan,
Using credit cards or opening up a personal line of credit,
Sourcing the matter through crowdfunding,
Reaching out to family and friends.
In this post, we will cover your legal fee financing options and how to obtain a loan, the benefits of using Minc Law’s financing option, alternatives if that choice is not right for you, and a few frequently asked questions about retainer financing.
How a Retainer Fee Works
While your attorney will discuss the exact terms during your initial consultation, the three most common pricing structures used by attorneys are a retainer fee, a contingency fee, and a flat fee.
Flat fees are charged upfront and usually do not change regardless of what happens during the processing of the case. Contingency fees are generally used in lawsuits where the client expects to receive a payout; the attorney does not get paid for their services until they secure a favorable settlement or win a judgment.
In aretainer fee structure, the retainer is a deposit or down payment for future legal services. It compensates an attorney for their time and expertise. If the full retainer is not used, the balance of retainers is often refunded to the client.
For example, you might pay your attorney a retainer of $2,000 for your case. If his or her hourly rate is $200 and they work five hours on your matter, a $1,000 fee will be deducted from the retainer balance. The remaining $1,000 can be applied toward additional services.
After a retainer is used (depleted), most attorneys will bill their services at an hourly rate or sometimes request an additional retainer. Attorneys usually send legal invoices to clients to keep them informed of the work that has been done on their behalf and how much of the retainer has been used.
At Minc Law, we usually use a retainer structure for litigation and non-litigation services. Guaranteed content removals, on the other hand, work on a flat fee basis.
Regardless of your matter’s pricing structure, it is possible to use financing to cover either a retainer or a flat fee for a guaranteed removal.
Make sure to check out our comprehensive article explaining what a guaranteed removal is and how much a guaranteed removal costs. We also recommend reading up on Minc Law fees and services.
Financing Options For Your Minc Attorney Retainer Fee
Hiring an attorney to help you with a legal issue can be very expensive, but it does not have to break the bank.
Your financial situation should not hinder you from taking legal recourse. If you cannot afford your lawyer’s legal fee, there are ways to obtain financing for the cost of legal representation.
That is why Minc Law now offers a financing option through a third-party called iQualify Lending. Our financing process allows clients to find third-party financing options quickly and easily.
If approved, our financing option requires little to no money down and low monthly payments. Loan applicants with FICO credit scores as low as the 500’s have been approved in the past. The application and approval process includes a soft pull of your credit and an examination of your:
Foreclosures and bankruptcies (if applicable).
How to Get a Loan For Your Attorney Retainer Fee
Since many legal matters can be costly, it is common for clients to need outside funding to afford their retainer fees. Often, clients apply for loans such as personal, bank, credit union, title, or home equity loans to use for legal fees.
One way to apply for a loan for a retainer is through your bank or credit union. Many people turn instead to an online lender like LightStream, while others choose lenders that specialize in financing legal fees, such as Legal Loans.
Whichever option you choose, remember that your application for a loan for a retainer is not guaranteed to be approved. Whether it is denied or approved depends greatly on:
Your financial history (on-time payments, no bankruptcies or foreclosures, etc.).
Minc Law’s Financing Process
When you decide to hire Minc Law, the financing application is conducted through our firm and is a part of our onboarding process to make your experience as convenient as possible. We do the hard work for you by providing you with a list of lenders who can assist.
To begin the financing process, you will first start the application with a paralegal and get pre-approved for a loan.
Then, you will have a consultation with a Minc Law internet defamation attorney to discuss your matter in more detail and create a plan of action. If you decide to move forward, you will sign the engagement and fee agreement and accept a loan offer from a lender at that time.
Once you receive funds from the lender and hand them over to Minc Law, we can begin work on your matter right away.
Minc Law Financing Tip: The difference between a hard pull and a soft pull on your credit comes down to whether it impacts your credit score. A hard pull (or hard inquiry) occurs when you actually apply for a new line of credit. It shows up on your credit report, and too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can damage your credit score. A soft inquiry should not appear on your credit report or affect your score.
What Are the Benefits of Minc Law’s Financing Option?
Video: The Key Benefits of Using a Retainer For Your Legal Matter
While using Minc Law’s financing is far from your only option, there are a few benefits of using our financing option to fund your attorney fees.
Simple application process — Loan funding with Minc is fast, easy, and painless.
Multiple financing options and offers — You may receive a variety of financing offers so that you can choose the right one for you.
Rapid funding— You will receive the funds within a few business days after accepting an offer.
Fixed rates and payments — All interest rates are fixed, and monthly payments never increase.
No waiting to start your case — With financing, you do not have to wait to hire our law firm until you have saved up the funds for the retainer fee. Our attorneys can begin working on your matter as soon as the loan funds are received.
An alternative to using your life savings — You will not have to drain your savings or retirement account to pay a retainer fee.
Strictly regulated — Law firm financing is regulated by the American Bar Association to ensure certain ethical standards are maintained.
How Do You Know if You Should Choose an Attorney’s Payment Plan or a Loan?
We provide every potential client with an informed consent form spelling out our relationship with iQualify Lending and the responsibilities of all parties. Everyone must sign this informed consent form before they apply for financing through our process.
Consider your personal financial situation carefully when deciding on and agreeing to a loan, because this option may not be the right choice for everyone. For example, if you have a high debt-to-income ratio or have recently become unemployed, it is probably not a good idea to take out a large loan.
Minc Law Tip: As with any large financial decision, we recommend consulting with a financial advisor or attorney for accepting any offers from a lender to pay for our services. We encourage our clients to explore all other financing or payment options that may be available.
4 Alternatives to Minc Law’s Financing Option
If you are not approved through Minc’s financing option (or if it is just not the right fit for you), consider one of the alternatives listed below.
1. Taking out a Personal Loan
Taking out a personal loan through a bank or credit union can be extremely helpful in financing your legal action. You can pay this loan back in monthly installments over a period of time.
A personal loan is beneficial when you know ahead of time how much you need to spend, like payment for a cut-and-dried case or for a flat flee matter.
However, be aware that there may be fees and penalties if you miss a payment. A lender can even sue you if you are late or if you stop making payments all together on your loan.
2. Using Credit Cards or Opening Up a Personal Line of Credit
Many law firms, including Minc Law, accept credit cards or a personal line of credit as a form of payment. You can pay with multiple credit cards depending on your credit limits.
A personal line of credit is a good option for drawn-out legal proceedings when you are not sure how long you will need to pay legal fees. Instead of borrowing a set amount of funds, a personal line of credit allows you to borrow from that line of credit at any time.
With a personal line of credit, you only have to pay interest and fees on the amount you withdraw, meaning that you can avoid paying interest on the whole amount offered to you from the start.
One note, however: if you choose to use a credit card or personal line of credit, be sure to pay your balance off quickly before the amount due gets out of control — especially if your interest rates are high.
With crowdfunding, however, keep in mind that you may need to provide updates on your case to your followers or contributors, making your legal matter and any sensitive details more public and easily available to the world.
4. Reaching Out to Family & Friends
Finally, another option is to ask your family and friends for help. They may be willing to help you finance your legal fees by gifting money or loaning it to you with little to no interest. This option is best when you have lower legal fees.
Of course, if you choose to ask family and friends for help, do not forget to pay them back if they loan you money. Not doing so could damage your personal relationships.
How Do You Know Which Payment Option For a Retainer Fee is Right For You?
There is no right or wrong way to pay an attorney. The best advice we can give you is to pick the option that makes the most financial sense to you and is best for your situation.
Take into account the amount of money you need. Do not forget that your needs may change; often, the initial amount for a retainer is not enough to cover the cost of the entire case.
When in doubt, discuss your payment options with the attorney you are working with so that you have an idea of how much your matter may end up costing in total. Then, you can choose a financing plan that affords you the flexibility and funds you need, with the best repayment situation for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Minc’s Financing Options
Weighty financial decisions such as these are no small matter and should not be taken lightly. To get a better understanding of our financing process, take a look at a few of our most frequently asked questions listed below.
How likely am I to be accepted for a loan?
Applicants have been approved for loans with scores as low as the 500’s, but each loan is different. Approvals are based on three major factors: credit, income, and debt-to-income ratio.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply for financing?
Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen with a social security number.
Will they need to pull my credit report?
Yes. The application and pre-approval process is done through iQualify and will include a soft pull of your credit. iQualify will match you with lenders, who will offer you financing deals.
If you decide to proceed with an offer, that lender will conduct a hard inquiry of your credit, confirm your income, and confirm your identity to verify that you are qualified for the loan.
Do you require a down payment?
No. Most loans require no money down. However, there is a 2.5% transaction fee that you can pay separately or as a part of your loan.
What are the interest rates?
Interest rates vary from person to person. They generally start at 3.99% and go up from there, based on your financial situation (such as your credit score).
Are there any fees?
Yes. There is a 2.5% transaction fee that you can pay separately or as a part of your loan.
How long do I have to decide if I want to accept an offer?
The loan offers are good for 30 days. After that, you will have to reapply if you are still interested in the loan.
Which lender or bank do I choose?
We cannot advise you on which offer or lender you should pick. We recommend you consult with a financial advisor to discuss your options.
How quickly will I receive the money?
It typically takes 2–4business days for the funds to be processed and deposited into your account.
What happens if the attorney bills exceed my loan amount?
You will be responsible for any fees Minc Law bills to you. Your legal fees may exceed the retainer. In that case, you may want to accept an offer over the original retainer amount to cover those fees. However, you should not accept any offers without consulting with a financial advisor.
Do I still need to make payments even if my matter is not successful?
Yes. You are contractually obligated to make your payments even if the outcome is not what you hoped for. After all, it is a loan like any other. If you do not pay it back, your credit score will be affected — and your loan will likely go into debt collection.
Are there any alternatives if I am denied?
Yes! See our above section titled “Alternatives to Minc Law’s Financing Option.”
Contact Us Today to Get Started With Your Internet Issue & Discuss Your Financing Options
Resolving your internet-related legal issue should not depend on how much money you have in your savings account. While it can be difficult to decide how to finance legal services, you should know that there are options to get the help you need, even if you cannot pay for it yourself right away.
At Minc Law, we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality service possible — but our goal is to be accessible to those of all financial situations.
“Melanie was amazing! I had to have her help several times and each time she was kind, professional, speedy, and just overall very compassionate. I have never felt more reassured that things were being handled swiftly and correctly. I was very pleased with the services I received!”
Anonymous, Mar 18, 2020
Schedule your free, initial no-obligation consultation to discuss your financing options by calling us at (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat representative, or filling out our online contact form.