Are Two Really Better Than One? How could I have waited this long…
Offering General Counsel Services on a Flat Fee Basis

Why Lawyers Won't Take Risks With Thier Clients

Not every case is ripe for an alternative billing arrangement.  Litigation is more challenging to bill on a non-hourly basis than most other matters.  Defense litigation is perhaps the most challenging of all.  On the plaintiff’s side, we often work on an alternative billing arrangement, sometimes a monthly flat fee and sometimes a blend of reduced hourly rate plus contingency fee.  On virtually everything else, we bid projects on a flat fee defined deliverable basis.  There are lots of advantages to flat fees including the fact that costs certainty allows many more clients to say “yes” to a project which they might otherwise punt or handle on their own on an hourly fee proposal.
A key issue which is often overlooked in the world of six minute increments is the concept of return on investment.  Too many legal cases are handled by hourly lawyers which should never be legal projects in the first place.  They are losers from the get-go.  The chance that any reasonable outcome will actually provide satisfaction to the client is minimal right from the beginning.

The lawyer knows this.  Most of the time, the client doesn’t.  But when a lawyer is billing by the hour, the only incentive is to get the client signed up and obtain the retainer.  The outcome is largely irrelevant to the lawyer beyond the opportunity to generate fees. 

Clients should be wary about lawyers who aren’t willing to take risk with their clients on many different types of cases.  Is it because the lawyer knows the matter is a loser from the get-go? 


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