You have enough on your plate when going through a divorce. Surprise bills from your divorce attorney should not be one of them. But that is exactly what happens with hourly billing models that most Georgia divorce lawyers use.
Most law firms will tell you that there is no way to predict what a divorce will cost. Why? We know how much a haircut will cost in advance. We know how much the roofer will charge for a new roof. The cost of a family law case can and should be determined in advance—just like you would expect from any other service.
Beyond Hourly Billing: Avoiding the Drawbacks
Hourly billing has become the standard because it serves the attorney well—not because it is beneficial to clients. With hourly billing, attorneys get paid handsomely no matter what happens with your case and whether they are good or bad at their jobs. With flat fee billing, attorneys must be exceptional at their jobs to make the model cost effective. In flat fee billing, attorneys take on more risk. They must shoulder the cost of litigation, instead of shoving that risk onto their clients.
In hourly billing, clients have no idea how much their case will cost before it is over. Clients are often sucked in by modest initial retainers that cover only 10-15 hours of an attorney’s work. The initial relief of hiring an attorney soon turns into despair as clients see things like:
Significantly increased attorney bills
Getting bills for amounts that vary significantly each month
The threat of an attorney withdrawing from their case if they cannot keep up with bills
A flat fee eliminates these surprises and gives clients the security they deserve during the legal process.
Porchlight only works by flat fees—no matter how complex your case is. Based on years of experience, we can determine an appropriate fee for the specific facts of each case. We provide you a custom quote at your Legal Clarity Session. By doing this, you know what your case will cost up front. This gives you peace of mind and allows you to budget your money. It also gives you confidence that you know you will not be surprised by a big bill at the end of your case.
What are the benefits of a Flat Fee Rate?
Predictability and Affordability. Yes, legal matters can be costly, but knowing the full cost ahead of time allows you to budget appropriately. In addition, by providing an up-front quote, we can offer manageable payment plans, making it easier to afford legal representation.
Aligning Attorney and Client Interests. With hourly fees, the more an attorney works on your case, the more the attorney gets paid. While most attorneys do not intentionally overwork cases to get a higher fee from their client, the hourly model creates a mindset of inefficiency. Attorneys focus on hitting their billable hour minimums rather than providing the most effective representation for their client. With flat fees, attorneys are focused on the client’s needs—not how to bill more hours.
Avoid the Risk of Your Attorney Quitting. In hourly cases, if a client is unable to keep up with the bills, their attorney usually stops representing them. This leaves clients without legal representation at crucial points in their case, often facing trial or settlement negotiations alone. With flat fees, you know your attorney will be at your side the entire case.
Stronger Attorney-Client Relationships. Another drawback of hourly fees is that clients often try to minimize contact with their attorney to avoid racking up bills. This leaves clients feeling insecure about their case. It also makes our job much harder to do. After all, we need complete information to effectively represent you. Flat fees ensure the attorney-client lines of communication are open.
Better Legal Strategies. Legal strategies cost money. In hourly billing models, clients sometimes do not want to pursue a strategy because of the cost involved. Attorneys would agree not to pursue a strategy knowing the client could not afford, but that decision can put the client at a disadvantage. By quoting a flat fee for the entire case, attorneys can pursue the strategies they know are most effective for their clients, even if that strategy would be too expensive under an hourly model.
You deserve an excellent attorney who also respects your financial circumstances. Flat fees enable you to better afford a lawyer and have a better working relationship with your attorney. Flat fees allow you to focus on your case and moving forward with your life instead of worrying about mounting legal bills.
Contact us today for a Legal Clarity Session to light the way for a successful resolution to your legal matter.