Why fixed legal fees are beneficial for all
Hourly billing by lawyers can be compared to taking a taxi ride to an unknown destination with the driver deciding the route, the duration of the journey, and the support crew required. As long as the client passenger keeps paying the bills, the lawyer will continue driving until they tell you that you’ve arrived. With apologies to Talking Heads, it sounds like a Road to Nowhere. However, it’s a system that has operated for more than 100 years and has served the interests of lawyers extremely well, thanks very much!
At BFLS, we’ve ditched hourly billing. It was never our preferred model and we’ve only used it sparingly since the firm was founded. But now we’ve smashed our clocks! No more timesheets, no hourly rates or selling time in 6-minute units.
We think that hourly billing doesn’t serve the interests of those who need legal advice and representation. It causes people anxiety about contacting their lawyer, uncertainty and stress about their legal costs, and puts the interests of lawyers at odds with the interests of those they are meant to serve. It encourages “padding” of timesheets, rewards inefficiency and discourages solving problems. We reckon we can do better than this.
At BFLS, we charge set fees that are agreed with clients upfront rather than billing 6-minute units of time after the event. We dig deep with clients to understand the problems to be solved, to work out how to go about it, and what’s a fair price. Our approach enables us to focus from start to finish on working with clients to solve their problems.
Our approach results in several invaluable benefits for our clients.
✔ Clients feel encouraged to communicate with us about their case, rather than anxious about whether a particular phone call or meeting is really necessary and what it will cost. This helps us to build deeper relationships with clients and to improve outcomes.
✔ Uncertainty about legal costs is an enormous worry for people dealing with family law issues, and hourly billing makes matters worse. Old school lawyers will give you an estimate, but our experience is that an “estimate” really means “at least”. Our approach means that clients only pay what they’ve agreed upfront. No bill shock!
✔ Our focus is your focus, which is solving your legal issues. We’re not incentivized to drag out your case, we won’t charge extra for completing successive drafts of documents or for having a team of lawyers involved that you might not have wanted, or thought was necessary.
Our experience is that clients greatly value and appreciate this approach. They know that we have a deep understanding of their situation, that we’re working with them and that we’re driven to achieve their goals.
Some other law firms offer the option of a set fee when dealing with work that is seen as relatively predictable. However, those firms will revert to hourly billing as soon as the pathway forward is remotely uncertain. Our difference is that we don’t, and we won’t switch back to hourly billing. We will only charge fees that have been agreed with clients upfront for our legal services.
We’re proud to have made this commitment and believe it’s a vital cog in achieving our vision of helping people to create their best life after separation.
If you want a family lawyer who will take time to listen and talk without notching up a billable unit of time every 6 minutes, who will only charge what’s been agreed upfront and whose focus is on your objectives rather than their billable hours, then contact Bayside Family Law Solutions. Let’s talk about creating your best life after separation.