The Lalloway Law Firm has implemented fixed fees as an alternative to the traditional hourly fee arrangement between you and your lawyer. We will work with you to develop a plan so that you know exactly what your fee with be for each phase of your case. That way, you will know exactly how much your divorce will cost.
This alternative method is extremely unique in the practice of divorce and was designed to have our clients as happy as possible by removing the uncertainty in your finances.
We are focused at the Lalloway Family Law Firm on results for our clients and not charging more than is necessary for our work. In short, the flat fee method puts the client and the attorney on the same side for the duration of the client’s case.
Divorce Cost With Traditional Fees
Most lawyers charge based on the hourly fee method. In this form of client fee arrangement, the attorney will bill you for each specific task that he performs in increments of a quarter of an hour or more commonly one-tenth of an hour.
At the end of each month, he will send you a bill based on the total time spent working on our case each month multiple by his normal hourly rate. For example, if your attorney has worked on your case for 3.2 hours and his hourly rate is $300, then you will receive a detailed bill for 3.2 times $300 or $960.
Often, attorneys request an initial “retainer” from the client. This “retainer” is placed in a client funds account and the attorneys charge for their time against the retainer until it is exhausted. Once the retainer is exhausted, clients might be asked to replenish the retainer or pay the remaining monthly bills from the attorney upon receipt.
On occasion, clients misunderstand that the “retainer” is not the total cost of the case, but only an initial deposit. While our firm has employed this method in the past, we believe a better method of pricing exists in the form of what we call flat fee billing.
This method has been criticized by the American Bar Association as potentially creating a conflict of interest between the client and her attorney. The client would like to pay as little as possible for the attorney’s work while at the same time the attorney would like to continue the case as long as possible in order to charge as much as possible.
A conflict can exist when the client would like to wrap the case up as quickly a possible all the while the attorney would like to drag out the case for as long as possible.
After over 25 years of experience with clients with legal problems, we believe that clients care about how they are served and about the results that are being achieved rather than what amount of time was spent. As a matter of fact, many people, both in and outside of the legal profession, believe that the billable hour method creates incentives for delay, unnecessary procedure, and increased expense.
Flat fees are better:
Customized Price. Our firm works with each client to carefully determine the options available, and the costs and benefits of each course, and works with the client to develop a clear goals. Once the goals are developed, the price is developed in careful consultation with the client, to make sure the price fits the client’s goals, the value to the client, and the resources necessary to complete the project successfully.
Certainty. Our firm will customize a price for specific work which specifically lists the price for the work.
Clients are Not Misled. Our experience has proven that neither clients nor attorneys fully grasp what the final cost of a case might be when the hourly billing method is used. Thus, even though an attorney might warn a client that the cost is unpredictable, the client is mislead into thinking the cost is manageable because the initial retainer is often low compared to the final cost of the case.
For example, attorneys charging under the hourly billing method might ask for a retainer of $5,000 but the total cost of the case when it is finished could be more than ten times that amount. Each hourly-based bill the client receives can become somewhat of a shock or a surprise. With value pricing the charges to the client are clear. This gives clients the opportunity to better assess–at the outset–if the matter is worth the resources that will have to be applied.
Goal Orientation. Prices are customized with results in mind, not time and procedures. These prices, along with the “caps” create strong incentive to our team to act with a clear mission in mind and to get results expeditiously and efficiently.
The Cap. Our firm places a cap on the total amount of charges under the contract. The client will never receive a bill for services which is unexpected or beyond the amount set forth in the contract.
At the conclusion of our initial meeting, we will present you with a traditional fee model for payment, if you request it. And remember, you may be able to get your spouse to pay your legal bills.