Flat Rates: Focusing on the Outcomes Not the Hours

Most law firms bill for their services using “billable hours.” In other words, the client pays for the time of lawyers to complete the project for them. This practice can be inefficient, not reflective of value conferred to the client, and susceptible to abuse.

The billable hour was widely adopted by law firms in the 1960s. A lot has changed since then, including unbelievable technological advancements. For example, researching law in the 1960s might have entailed a lawyer pouring through books and digging through texts. Today, however, research happens with the click of a button and quick searches of text using search fields.

Law firms have been “talking” about this shift in pricing for years. But most have not made this sort of change even though “legal professionals that best adapt to these changing demands will be the ones to prevail and succeed in the new generation of technology-enabled legal services” according to LawKick’s The Death of the Billable Hour.

In our experience meeting with clients, the issue causing entrepreneurs the most anxiety about meeting with a lawyer to undertake a project is the unknown amount of fees that the law firm will bill for the services.  It’s understandable. After all, the product or service that the entrepreneur sells typically has a set price tag on it. In fact, most things any of us buy have a set price tag on it.

At Doida Law Group, we don’t think we are any different that other business out there. We want our clients to understand what they are buying before they buy it. To that end, wherever possible, we bill our services on flat agreed upon rates. After discussing the matters and opportunities with clients, the firm will create a scope of work that it will perform for a flat and pre-agreed upon rate. Currently, the firm performs about 3/4 of all projects on flat rates.

Does this mean that we provide one-size-fits all solutions to clients? Absolutely not. In fact, all of our solutions are customized to a particular client’s needs and wants. We go through a systematic and uniform process to get our clients a custom solution.

Benefits:

  • Client can understand and budget for fees appropriately
  • Clear communication and expectations of what services will be covered under the fee
  • Encourages the law firm to be efficient and subjects the firm to risk for its own inefficiencies
  • Client doesn’t have to worry about:
    • Time accruing during meetings, phone calls, and emails
    • What’s happening at the firm in the production of work
  • Client is encouraged to (and not dis-incentivized from) asking questions to understand the agreements, documents, or transactions. As a result, they get greater value out of the services we offer.

Even for deals, where there is a great amount of variability and uncertainty, we do our very best as a firm to offer a flat rate for those matters. In those instances, we generally structure the fee based on the work performed during various phases or milestones of the project.

Doida Law Group understands the concerns of our clients and we know that focusing on the outcome, communication, and expectations (regardless of pricing model) is the key to maintaining strong and lasting attorney-client relationships.

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