Types of Fee Arrangements
We provide services pursuant to the following types of fee arrangements:
- Billable Hour. Under this arrangement the client is billed at an hourly rate in increments of 1/10 of an hour. The client pays an agreed-upon amount prior to the start of the representation (called a special retainer) that we hold in trust. We then draw from this amount as work is completed, usually on a monthly basis. The client is sent a billing statement each month showing the time billed and the nature of the work completed.
- Fixed Fee. Under this arrangement the client pays a fixed or “flat” fee for the services to be provided prior to the start of the representation. Depending on the fee agreement, the fee is either held in trust until the work for which we were retained has been completed, at which point it will be credited to the firm and drawn from the trust account, or it is immediately payable to the firm.
- Contingent Fee. Under this arrangement the client doesn’t pay any fees up front. Instead, we agree to take as our fee a percentage of any recovery made on the client’s behalf. The percentage we take usually depends upon the stage at which a recovery is made. For example, we may agree to take 30% of the recovery if it is made before suit is filed, 40% if it is made after suit is filed, etc.
- Mixed Fee. This arrangement involves a combination of at least two of the billable, fixed, and contingent-fee arrangements. For example, the agreement may provide that a specified portion of the work is to be done for a fixed fee, while another portion of the work is to be done at a billable rate.
Choice of Arrangement
The type of fee arrangement chosen for a particular case depends on a number of factors, including the needs of the client and the type of matter being handled, as well as its novelty or complexity. For example, in some cases, based upon past experience and the nature of the work, we can predict with reasonable certainty the time required to provide the service -- such as in drafting a simple will or separation agreement. In those cases we will usually charge a fixed fee. In other cases, in which we cannot predict the time required to complete the work (such as those involving litigation), we will simply bill the client at an hourly rate. Contingent-fee arrangements are used almost exclusively in personal injury cases.
We offer free consultations for matters involving personal injury. In all other cases we charge a consultation fee, which is treated as a down payment and credited towards the client’s fee or retainer if the client chooses to engage our services.
We generally require the full retainer or fee to be paid in full before providing service; however, we know that not everyone can afford to make substantial lump-sum payments, so we are willing to work with clients to develop payment options that meet their individual needs and financial situation.