Not unlike many businesses today, the traditional business model for legal services is under pressure. It strains the lawyer-client relationship when it costs $50 or more to call your attorney for a brief status update. I do not charge for brief calls to “check in”.
My services are priced competitively. I am proud to deliver high quality legal services at my standard hourly rate of $300 or under an alternative fee structure agreement. Since I moved to my current practice structure in 2010, I have worked to deliver my services more efficiently and to keep firm overhead low. A majority of my clients pay for their legal services outside of an hourly rate structure.
Alternatives to the Hourly Rate
For years law firm consultants and some in academia have been opining that the hourly rate is dying or dead. The hourly rate is not dead, but it is in steady decline. This is true especially in circumstances where the scope of needed services can be better defined earlier in the engagement.
Whenever it makes sense, my clients and I work together under an alternative fee structure. Different type of arrangements, summarized below, can be for part of the representation, the entire matter, or for ongoing representation of a client whose arrangement covers a longer time period.
Fixed Fee – the client pays an agreed upon amount for a defined amount of work.
Phased Fee – the client and my firm agree upon fee amounts for discrete stages of work on a matter. In addition to use in a transactional matter with defined milestones, this arrangement can be an alternative to the hourly rate in litigation matters.
Value Fee – in this type arrangement I may agree to a reduced hourly rate with the agreement that the firm will be paid an additional amount if the results obtained exceed an agreed-upon measurement. The additional amount could be a percentage of recovery or a sum certain. This arrangement puts my firm and the client on the same side of a favorable result, and similarly I am adversely affected by a less desirable outcome (but do not assume the entire risk as in a pure contingency fee arrangement).
Contingency Fee – in this arrangement, the law firm only gets paid if there is a financial recovery. This is a typical arrangement in personal injury cases, which my law firm does not handle. Where my client and I might enter into a contingency fee agreement is for collection matters, and in some estate administration matters. Typically my fee will be a percentage of fraction of the total recovery. The client will be responsible for out-of-pocket costs.
If our arrangement is on an hourly basis I will charge you at my hourly rate for substantive legal work, consultation, drafting, research and the like. You can call to check in at no charge.
Contact me via the contract form to the right, schedule a call or meeting online, or call for more information. 804-756-4600.