It’s been awhile since I wrote about flat fees as an alternative fee arrangement. I’ve covered the topic many times on this blog. I don’t see it as a current hot topic in the legal marketing press, but IMHO it is one that clients (at least non-BigLaw clients) are most interested in.
Think about it. Who likes surprises? No one, unless it’s the lottery winning kind. I don’t like bombshells when it comes to auto mechanics, plumber, electricians, or even lawyers I’ve retained in the past. I want to know what things cost, or least a damn good estimate. Fixed fees are one way to avoid unpleasant surprises for your clients.
So, I was taken with Patrick Lamb’s contribution to a free download on Attorney at Work entitled “New Math, New Money: A Lawyer’s Guide to the Changing Business of Law.” Lamb is a pioneer when it comes to opposing the billable hour. In the aforementioned download, he points out five client benefits with the use of fixed fees:
- Saves client/in-house lawyer’s time in reviewing bills;
- Increases predictability in the cost of legal services;
- Simplifies the client budgeting effort, particularly where the business and law firm have different fiscal years;
- Increases client trust that they are not being taken advantage of; and
- Clients don’t worry about the number of lawyers or that too senior attorneys are working their matter.
In today’s incredibly, competitive legal marketplace, it would be wise to improve your clients’ experiences by offering fixed fees. They’ll be a lot happier, at least most of them!