In today’s legal services market, most law firms (both large and small) remain tied to the billable hour. At the Bodenger Law Firm, however, we offer alternative fee arrangements that are designed to ensure that our clients receive the outside expertise that is needed within realistic spending expectations. The following paragraphs summarize the types of fee agreements that we offer to our clients as alternatives to traditional billable hour arrangements to provide cost certainty, whenever possible. Through these arrangements, we share financial risk with our clients, demonstrating our commitment to the delivery of quality, cost-effective legal services in an efficient manner.
Fixed Fees – Fixed fee arrangements involve the establishment of a fee that is set at the commencement of a new matter. The fixed fee quote does not fluctuate, regardless of the amount of work performed. We often use fixed fee arrangements in situations where the lifespan of the matter and the amount of work to be performed are relatively predictable. For example, we have experience in providing fixed fees for health systems that are acquiring physician practices, using template documents. We also have experience in providing fixed fees for various types of opinion letters, and the negotiation of physician employment agreements. In litigation matters, fixed fee arrangements can be established per phase of the case, i.e., a set dollar amount for (1) the first phase of investigation and responding to the complaint, (2) the second phase through discovery, and (3) for the summary judgment motion phase. This type of arrangement can be particularly useful to clients who are making cost/benefit decisions about settlement as the case progresses, because the cost of attorneys’ fees is certain. In addition, we find that fixed fee arrangement challenge our lawyers to be efficient in their use of billable time throughout the life of the case.
Monthly Rates – We also offer fixed monthly fee arrangements, which have proven useful to our clients who have a need for ongoing and regular advice and counseling on legal issues during a particular phase of company development or through a particular business cycle. This type of arrangement can cover a very broad range of topics, i.e., fraud and abuse, HIPAA, Sunshine Payment Act, employment matters, etc., and typically will exclude major transactions and litigation matters. In these types of arrangements, we agree to a monthly amount, in consideration for which we address all legal issues that are brought to our attention (excluding major transactions and litigation matters). On a periodic basis, we review the actual number of hours spent with our clients so as to ensure that each party is getting what it needs from the relationship.
Client Loyalty Discounts – We enter into this particular type of arrangement with clients with whom that we work on a regular basis. In these matters, we establish hourly rates which can be reduced in relative proportion to the volume of work performed. For example, we may offer a 10% discount once we reach a level of $50,000 in fees during a given 12 month period.
Performance Bonuses – Although not really an alternative fee arrangement on its own, we are willing to consider a “performance bonus” under any of the types of arrangements described above. The bonus could be tied to a particular outcome—the closing of a deal or a successful settlement of a case, , for example—or it could be ties simply to our client’s satisfaction with our client service and the value that we are able to add to a matter. We have found that our clients appreciate “performance bonus” arrangements because they are only payable when the client is truly pleased with the Firm’s delivery of value.