Alex came to my office to “thank“ me for getting rid of DCF. I asked her if there was anything else she liked about us representing her. She launched into how she hated the hourly bill from her previous lawyer.
Alex explained that the cost was tough to swallow. She loved the flat fee agreement we used. She knew what our cost was for a DCF lawyer up front. She lamented that the hourly billing each month was unknown.
Alex explained some crucial factors about why she felt “milked like a cow”. What she said blew me away.
Alex stated how she always was looking at the clock with the hourly fee. The hourly billing caused a break down in her relationship. The hourly billing made a conflict. Alex further said she felt mistrust and distrust of the lawyer’s billing. This led to the trust evaporating .
Alex valuable lesson is that hourly fee agreement establishes from the onset a “conflict”. When trust is gone so is any relationship. The flat fee gives the client a known cost and certainty.
When looking into hiring an attorney, Alex told me that price is likely to be a concern. Alex told me how she shied away from hiring a lawyer due to the price. Can’t say I blame Alex.
Alex stated that she would have liked it if she knew how much her first lawyer was doing to cost. Alex further stated that cost is not known and the surprise of her getting bill each month with no end in sight. Alex final statement was that the previous lawyer with the hourly fee had no incentive to end her case. When the case ends so does the billing so why end the case she said.
Alex explained that the “unknown” of the monthly bill which was a complete “surprise “ as to how much the bill would be did not allow her to budget .
Alex preferred the predictability of what a fixed fee.
I knew Alex was right about the fixed fee allowing her to budget and therefore afford my services. From that day with Alex I have almost exclusively used Flat Fee Agreements. Many lawyers when I ask them about the hourly billable agreement they tell me “it is the way it has always been done”. Hmmm I thought with that line of thinking we would still be driving horse and buggy rather than visiting Mars.
Why you should demand a flat fee and discard the Hourly Billing with your lawyer is simple!
Here are some examples of why Flat Fees are beneficial to you as the client (but not the lawyer )
Flat Fee incentivizes lawyers to handle matters efficiently.
Flat Fees gives clients what they want and need to make their lives easier.
Provide the Flat Fee option, and because we do, this sets us apart from the rest. The Flat Fee demonstrates that we are flexible and willing to meet our client’s needs throughout the entire legal process.
Flat Fees Build better relationships. When you bill hourly, clients may hesitate to call or email you out of fear of running up the bill. This is bad for the connection. It can lead to more stress, loss of pertinent information, and a feeling by the client that you don’t care about them unless you can bill them. Flat Fees eliminate those concerns.
Flat Fees avoid future fee disputes. The certainty of billing can help ensure there are no misunderstandings or arguments over work, allowing for a smoother process for all parties involved.
Flat Fees put the focus on the quality of the work and the value provided to the client, not on how you spent the time. Flat Fees keep the focus away from the cost of the representation and allow us to build trust resulting in a happy client.
Flat fees mean you need to focus on maximizing your productivity which benefits value for the client.
Flat fee attorney law firms are efficient as possible. Being efficient also contributes to providing clients with a client-centered experience. Billing by the hour can reward inefficiency by inflating earnings.
Flat fees should reflect the client’s worry about potential exorbitant fees. Flat Fees give clients much predictability as opposed to the potentially unlimited hourly bill, which is a major unknown cost.
Are you ready for the future billing by Flat Fees?
Good luck convincing your lawyer
Kevin Patrick Seaver is located in Boston MA specializing in DCF law representing clients versus the MA DCF throughout the state of MA .
Kevin Seaver is a trusted Massachusetts lawyer since 1991.
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