How high are legal fees for high-profile cases?

Hunter Biden and Rudy Giuliani are both struggling to pay for the expensive legal representation they need in their high-profile cases.
Posted at 7:09 PM, Oct 05, 2023

High-profile cases can come with high legal fees. 

Even the son of a president, or a former elected official may be facing challenges to pay. 

The president's son, Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to allegations he lied about drug use to buy a gun. Allies are now reportedly strategizing to see how Hunter Biden can raise money without crossing ethical lines. 

Defense attorney David Schoen said legal fees range from $40 to $2,000 per hour. 

"Often, in criminal cases, the lawyer takes on a flat fee, but that still has to be high, in a sense to account for the lawyer's overhead and time away from other cases," said David Schoen, a defense attorney. 

In the Georgia election interference case, Rudy Giuliani's lawyers want to withdraw from the case. Judge Scott McAfee has granted at least one of those requests. 

Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to 3 federal gun charges
Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to 3 federal gun charges

His lawyer said he plans to file a motion to dismiss the case, challenging the constitutionality of the charges.


Legal experts say there's a possibility Giuliani can't afford the attorneys, and this is coming just weeks after other members of his legal team sued him in a New York court for allegedly failing to pay more than $1 million in legal fees. 

Nineteen people, including former President Donald Trump, have been charged in the racketeering case and some co-defendants tried for days to find lawyers because firms didn't want to take-on the financial risk. 

"Firms imploding over a particular case is something that happens enough that it's not rare. It's not unheard of by any means. Big cases are so stressful; there's so many new pressures that firms can implode," said Josh Schiffer, a Georgia based attorney. 

When defendants hire lawyers, the financial relationship could last from the moment they're charged all the way to appeals. 

"The average person who's a defendant in that case simply doesn't have discretionary resources to now all of a sudden come up with cash, or even mortgage the house to pay a lawyer, and once that money is spent, it's gone; they have no way of recouping that money," said Schoen. 

Some people will weigh risks and choose to take plea deals. 

In the Georgia case, one of the co-defendants has already taken a plea deal. 

Accepting a plea deal is a calculation some defendants make in order to avoid a drawn-out legal process that could drain them financially.