A lot has been written in the last year about flat fees and legal services. Many firms have begun to offer flat fees for some services, or to use other “alternative fee arrangements” blending flat or hourly or performance-based fees.
For example, here are some headlines about the flat fee trend:
- Legal Advice… On A Budget (Wall Street Journal)
- For Legal Fees, It’s More of a Buyer’s Market (New York Times)
- The Skinny on Flat Fees (ABA Journal)
At Erik M. Pelton & Associates, we have charged flat fees for nearly every client and every matter since the start in 1999. Each and every one of the more than 1,300 USPTO trademark registrations we have received for clients has been billed in some form of a flat and fully predictable fee.
Even in more complex matters and litigation, many of our clients opt for flat monthly or quarterly fees. Then they have more predictable costs and are free to make strategy decisions based on the best outcome for the case and for their business with less concern for the time or cost of a particular part of the case such as taking a deposition or filing a motion.
So why the big deal in the media about flat fees now? Because the economy is shaking up a lot about the way law used to be practiced. But not at our firm. We already use technology to be more efficient – having developed our own proprietary case management software. We already use flat fees that include no surprises or hidden surcharges, and that charge the client for the value of our work and experience. Our clients are encouraged to contact us with questions – because we like to provide solutions to their problems, not because we are are charging them for each email or phone call. Our incentive is to deliver quality and deliver it efficiently, not to work each project from scratch because we are measuring time.
If uncertain bills, charges to copies and faxes and mailings, and less incentive to meet your objectives in an efficient manner are what you seek, feel free to seek firms that still bill hourly. If you want a firm which is forward-thinking, technology using, and partnering with client to find solutions that make legal and business sense – at a value based flat and predictable rate – you know where to find us at Erik Pelton & Associates. We’ve been practicing that way for more than 10 years.
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