The most common billing method in family law cases is the hourly method. The scenario starts with an up-front retainer which the attorney will bill against at their hourly rate (often between $250 and $550 per hour). Once the retainer amount is expended, the law firm will typically ask for a new retainer to bill against or simply send you monthly invoices for the remainder of the case. Here are a few issues with this type of billing:
1) Hourly billing does not incentivize efficiency and the biller actually earns more the longer the case drags on.
2) The customer has no way to know what their legal fees will be. Receiving the monthly bill every month can become a scary occasion since there is no way to tell how much time the attorney spent that month. This undetermined billing system does not allow clients to budget for the cost of their case or to have the peace of mind that they can afford their lawyer throughout the entirety of the case.
3) Hourly billing creates a disincentive to speaking with your lawyer so facts can be missed, and the lawyer may not have the whole story which can limit the lawyer’s ability to properly advise you.
4) Hourly rates can increase over time which creates even more uncertainty around the total cost of the litigation.
5) The higher the conflict, the higher the bill so hourly billing can reward the biller to increase the conflict of the case or not prioritize keeping conflict low.
Alternatively, flat rate billing is a great option for client’s and is rarely offered by law firms. Flat rate billing incentivizes efficiency and increases the use of high-tech options and systems to keep the case moving forward. Flat fees take away the uncertainty of the billing process and allows clients to budget for what their case will cost them. Also, client’s feel more at ease in speaking with their attorney knowing that they are not accruing a large bill with each minute that goes by. Flat fee billing also incentives creative solutions, and a reduction in the case conflict.
I offer flat fee billing for family law matters and would be happy to speak with you to determine if I can be of assistance in your family law matter. I represent clients in divorce, custody, alimony, child support, enforcement matters, domestic violence, pre-nuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and more. Call attorney Nicole Vette at 561-531-9132. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.