Depending on the nature of the legal matter, Axley offers legal fee alternatives that deviate from the typical hourly-fee arrangement. Our firm will work with you to develop an arrangement for a specific legal matter or group of legal matters. This helps us in staffing and helps you in budgeting for legal costs, and sometimes we both agree to share the risk.
There are many different examples of legal fee arrangements that clients have found attractive:
Alternative Fee Arrangements
In order for an alternative fee arrangement to be mutually beneficial, we will need to define the scope of the legal representation, understand your objectives, and agree upon a legal strategy. All this information is agreed to at the outset and results in a written fee agreement that provides risk and reward for both parties. Oftentimes there is a need to be creative as to how such an arrangement is structured, billed and paid.
Blended Hourly Rates
The hourly billing rate is the same for all lawyers who work on a client’s matters, regardless of each lawyer’s experience level or individual billing rate.
Under a contingency arrangement, which is normally used in personal injury cases, we will defer our fees entirely in exchange for receiving an agreed-upon portion of the recovery. If there is no recovery, then no legal fee is owed. Typically, the individual pays the expenses of the litigation.
For matters in which the scope is understood and well-defined beforehand, we may agree to cap our fees. Fee caps are determined based upon anticipated fees for the scope of work, and they can be set for the entirety of the matter or for each phase.
This fee covers a particular matter or a particular service. Or maybe a fixed fee for consulting services provided on a monthly basis. Fixed Fees can be for a portfolio of matters, limited to a specific period of time, or a particular task.
Frequent Client Matters
We may agree to provide a reduction in fees for one matter in exchange for the client assigning other matters to Axley in different areas of the law where we have not yet served the client. This could take the form of a discount on the instant matter or a credit against future billings.
Hybrid Fee Arrangements
Billing arrangements that are a combination of several arrangements described above. For example, one could estimate fixed fees for some matter phases, holdbacks on hourly rates for other phases, and success fees for other phases.
Monthly Advice Retainers
An advice retainer may make sense if you wish to be proactive in seeking legal advice to avoid potential problems, but do not want to pay for legal services every time a potential legal issue arises. This arrangement offers ready access to the firm’s expertise and often adds value by allowing you to be proactive, while not having to worry about legal costs. It is very useful for clients that wish to have a set budget for their legal work. The full scope of the advice is agreed to in advance.
In a partial contingency arrangement, we handle a matter at a reduced hourly rate and share in a favorable recovery or resolution at a smaller percentage. Partial contingency arrangements reduce legal expenses during the course of a matter and provide a mechanism for us to share the litigation risk with the client. Defense cases can be structured as partial contingency fees, with success contingent on specific predetermined results.
Risk-Sharing Arrangements or Fee Holdbacks
In certain situations, we will agree to hold back a percentage from our monthly billings. In return, we will have the opportunity to earn and be paid the holdback amount at your discretion based on your assessment of our performance against certain predetermined criteria, e.g., work quality, results, creativity, efficiency, cost-consciousness, and effective utilization of your resources. In these situations, the criteria are established up-front. The holdback determinations could be made periodically or when the matter concludes.
Under this arrangement, we would be eligible for a success fee or premium in addition to our prior hourly billings in the form of a performance bonus according to a mutually developed schedule, or a percentage of our billings. Whether we earn a success fee will be based upon an evaluation of our performance against predetermined criteria.
Providing hourly-rate discounts on a sliding scale in return for client providing a pre-agreed upon volume of legal work.
Axley is committed to having a fair and reasonable written fee arrangement with every client. There is no single fee arrangement that is right for all matters. We are, however, open to discuss such arrangements. In part, we already do so given that Axley’s hourly rates for the various specialized areas we practice in are normally below the prevailing hourly rates charged by other law firms serving the Dane County and Waukesha County areas.