Attorney's fee is a chiefly United States term for compensation for legal services performed by an attorney for a client, in or out of court. It may be an hourly, flat-rate or contingent fee. Recent studies suggest that when lawyers charge a flat-fee rather than billing by the hour, they work less hard on behalf of clients and client get worse outcomes. Attorney fees are separate from fines, compensatory and punitive damages, and from court costs in a legal case. Under the "American rule", attorney fees are usually not paid by the losing party to the winning party in a case, except pursuant to specific statutory or contractual rights.
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