In today’s legal services market, most law firms (both large and small) remain tied to the billable hour. This Firm, however, offers alternative fee arrangements that are designed to ensure that clients receive the outside expertise that is needed within realistic spending expectations. The following paragraphs summarize the types of fee agreements offered to clients as alternatives to traditional billable hour arrangements to provide cost certainty, whenever possible. Through these arrangements, I share financial risk with clients, demonstrating our commitment to the delivery of quality, cost-effective legal services in an efficient manner.
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. I 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, I have experience in providing fixed fees for health systems or large physician groups that are acquiring physician practices, using template documents. I 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 attorney fees is certain.
I also offer fixed monthly fee arrangements, which have proven useful to 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. In these types of arrangements, I agree to a monthly amount, in consideration for which I address all legal issues that are brought to our attention (excluding major transactions and litigation matters). On a periodic basis, I review the actual number of hours spent with each client so as to ensure that each party is getting what it needs from the relationship.
Client Loyalty Discounts
I enter into this particular type of arrangement with clients with whom that I work on a regular basis. In these matters, I establish hourly rates which can be reduced in relative proportion to the volume of work performed. For example, I may offer a 15% discount once I reach a level of $50,000 in fees during a given 12 month period.
Although not really an alternative fee arrangement on its own, I am 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 a client’s satisfaction with our client service and the value that I am able to add to a matter. I 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.