When obtaining the professional services of a lawyer or mediator, it is appropriate to negotiate the fee for the service. To some, fear of costs leads them to "try it for themselves" rather than negotiate legal fees and invest in a professional to review their contracts, bylaws, corporation papers, offers, business proposals, personal and other matters.
As all professionals do not provide services the same way, all do not bill the same way. Knowing the different ways professionals bill for services can help you negotiate a fair fee. Legal fees, like other professional fees, are based on a variety of factors including the law office overhead, particular lawyer's experience and knowledge and the price the lawyer believes the market will bear. Better rates are often found with experienced lawyers working with lower overhead. The lawyers at Benesh Bitz & Company take care to listen to the clients concerns and needs and tailor a fee arrangement specific to that client.
Common forms of billing:
One of the most common ways lawyers bill for services is by the hour plus expenses. Hourly rates range from a low of $100.00 per hour to a high of 4 or 5 times that. Open-ended hourly fees make some clients nervous without some estimate of a number of hours the services will take. Clients should be kept informed of how accurate the estimate was if the lawyer expects to exceed the estimate.
Hourly Rate Cap
An hourly fee with a cap on the fee for a specific project provides security of knowing the maximum fee.
A flat fee may be available for basic legal services such as wills, estates, uncontested divorces, pre-nuptial or separation agreements, incorporation, bylaws real estate transactions, and first consultations.
A fixed fee such as $2,400.00 of annual representation for established legal services practice, is common to allow clients to adopt a fixed legal budget for the year. However, it may result in clients paying more for legal services than they used or the fixed retainer being used up before all the client's legal needs are met.
As with the fixed retainer, the hourly retainer is where a client and a law office determine the number of hours estimated for the year an agree on a rate per hour. If a client needs more hours later in the year, the client continues to pay the agreed hourly rate. If all of the hours are not used, they are credited to the next year of rebated.
Legal Check Up
We at Benesh Bitz & Company take initiative in helping our clients to recognize their legal rights and obligations. Retaining a lawyer before a crisis often gives an opportunity to focus on the fee retainer arrangement.
Prior Retainer Option
Legal services are often required without much (or any) advance notice. Legal services address a serious concern (an arrest, an accident, a death, a breach of contract/broken promise, business transactions, family matters).Concern over the serious nature of the matter is often compounded with concern over the costs of obtaining professional legal services. Further, fear over the costs of legal services prompts many to "try it themselves" or "stew and do nothing".
Benesh Bitz & Company offers a service that allows clients to make prior arrangements to retain professional legal services.
A retainer creates a legal relationship between the lawyer and the client. To service your needs, securing the availability and arrangements for legal services before you need them, may give you peace of mind. A law office that you retain will not act against you except where your matter involves another client retained by that law office.
The Option allows you to meet with, discuss and agree on a fee retainer arrangement before a serious matter arises. You can meet in an atmosphere where you can discuss your needs, expectations, and fees for retaining professional legal services prior to needing them.You can be Pro active to your legal needs rather than reactive after your need for legal services has arisen.
The ProService© with Benesh Bitz & Company, provides you with access by telephone to a lawyer for "miscellaneous advice" matters at no extra cost.
Benesh Bitz & Company is committed to providing friendly, efficient, effective service to its clients. Clients are encouraged to communicate their needs and expectations.