Statutory Costs for Lawyers

How much can attorneys bill for their services?

Generally, as much as you two agree on – within good morals. Starting July 2006, the Law on Remuneration of Attorneys (RVG) legally determining the payment of attorneys, determines that attorney and client are to negotiate the fees for out-of-court services. What you can expect is that attorneys will calculate for supposed time needed. Be sure to first negotiate, and then assign. To complain afterward is not only unfair – but hardly of influence. Following §316 BGB, the attorney will be to determine his fees by himself – as far as is reasonable. “Reasonable” is not billing for answering the question on the costs of the assignment.
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I do not have much money, but I do have a claim to be collected. Can I make a deal with my attorney to give him 50% of what he collects?

It is illegal for German attorneys working under German law to exclusively be paid on what he collects. You can agree on a certain bonus on top of legal fees. However, there is the possibility of a loophole: if you are a foreigner and live abroad, you might be able to contend that foreign law controls the contract with your lawyer. If you have a cost efficient attorney, he might find other loopholes.
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I would like to hire an attorney to help me, but neither do I have any money, nor do I have a legal insurance. Is there any way around this?

Germany grants needy persons the possibility of legal aid, which will be granted from the Rechtsantragsstelle at your local Amtsgericht. You will have to prove your financial disability by presenting a copy of notice granting your support (Arbeitslosengeldbescheid, Sozialgeldbescheid, stipend, etc.). Best would be to have the original (and a copy to submit) of your mentioned notice and your rental contract with you. Then when at the office, tell your story in German (or have somebody to speak in German with you!) and you shall receive a "Rechtshilfebescheid (legal aid notice)". Every competent attorney will have to accept this. Be aware not to expect too much because the attorney’s reimbursement is not very much. Best would be to prepare your appointment by having a structured story to tell, timetable (if a lot of events are to discussed).
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My wife and I, both renters of our apartments were sued by our landlord. As I read our attorney’s bill, I read of a surcharge because we were two persons he consulted. That can’t be true because he didn’t have any extra work what so ever, “we” are only one client.

That is absolutely legal and in accordance with §7 RVG! You can count approx. 30% more of the fee per further person to consult in the same matter.
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I need an attorney to collect money because the opposite side refuses to pay. I have legal insurance. How do I process my claim?

First, collect and select all documents related to your claim. Then make an appointment with the attorney of your consent. He might deal with your legal insurance company. Ask your attorney, if he will apply for legal coverage for you. Reckon that this might be charged separately. The value in dispute for this service will be his possible fees in your collection case. Attorneys have done this work as a matter of service for a long time. Especially since the redoing of the statutory fees for attorneys, legal insurance companies have tried to bribe attorney to deals much lower than what the law entitles them. As a rule of the thumb, the bill for obtaining insurance coverage must be significantly lower than the bill for your actual case!
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