There are a number of ways that your attorney fees may be determined:
Attorneys usually charge fees to clients based upon an hourly rate arrived at between the parties and reflected in an Engagement Letter or a Contract for Services. If the client decides to base payment on an hourly rate, the hourly rate charged for my legal fees will take into account my experience, the degree of difficulty, and estimated time to be spent on the assignment. Also, the presence or absence of a long term relationship with the client and the prospects of a future relationship will be factors for consideration.
Another way of determining fees is to project the value of the assignment to the client, the degree of difficulty and the experience that I will bring to resolving it over an agreed term and then to determine a lump sum amount for those services during the term of the agreement.
A third alternative is a contingency fee based upon the outcome for the client. The best example being a contingency fee based upon the amount of recovery in a lawsuit. Contingency fees can also be based upon the value of a percentage of the amount of a successfully completed transaction. A variation of this is to determine in advance that a contingency based bonus will be given for a successful outcome in return for a lower hourly rate being charged.
Fees can also take the form of a retainer, assuring availability of advice on a matter or a variety of general matters for the client can also be agreed by the parties.
Finally, fees need not always be paid in money. For example, services rendered as a lawyer to a startup business can be paid in an interest in the ownership of that business.