Posts Tagged ‘fees’

A friend of mine hired a lawyer to help him create a trust in which to put some of his earnings. The lawyer charged $800/hr. Another friend needed a lawyer to appear with him (for a few hours) at his administrative hearing to help him contest his termination. The fee was $20,000. The fee for a lawyer to advise a friend on a single provision in his mother’s trust was $1,500. An attorney in my office once described the sense of guilt she sometimes feels when she looks at the total amount due on the invoice she is about to send out. “Don’t feel guilty!” a colleague told her. “Everyone else charges that much. You deserve it too!” If clients are willing to pay it, why should lawyers charge less? Legal fees of $1,500 or $20,000 – or even $300 – are so out of touch with the cost of […]

As I mentioned in a couple of my postslast week, my firm recently had to dissociate with a case as a result of a dispute between a client and our co-counsel over the fee agreement. Fee disputes can be very delicate and dangerous territory — and, I imagine, are probably very common — so it’s best to think ahead about how to prevent them from occurring. Here are some tips: Carefully craft — and communicate — retainer agreement Put everything related to the scope of representation and the fee structure — and any changes to these — in writing. Explain your billing policy in your engagement agreement explaining your billing policy, including how frequently the client will receive statements, what you expect the client to pay for (costs, expenses), whether the client is expected to maintain a certain minimum balance in trust form with which to pay you (and whether you […]

This week we lost one client and gained two. Ending the attorney-client relationship Our co-counsel and his client could not resolve their dispute about the fee agreement. Our co-counsel (lead counsel on the case) decided to withdraw, and my partner (who only just recently joined the case) decided to dissociate from the case before he did so, so that she would not then be left on the hook as the client’s only counsel on record. Otherwise, with only two months left until trial, the judge would likely insist she stay on the case. Two important lessons from this whole episode: When deciding whether to take a case, be as careful as possible about avoiding entering an attorney-client relationship with someone you might foresee personal conflict with. I’m not sure how exactly one can vet a prospective client in this regard, but it might be worth, at minimum, meeting with them […]