Clients often open legal bills with dread – afraid of being surprised with costs that are hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than expected. A new, consumer-friendly, win-win approach to fair billing has found its way to the San Francisco Bay Area.
California Holistic Lawyer Duane Light has introduced a leading edge “Flexible Fee” policy for his new Marin County Law Practice. He and the client sit down together, discuss goals and options, and together create a fee structure that is fair, manageable and predictable.
Mr. Light found in the past that client uncertainty about legal fees created stress for them as well as for him. With this more open approach to fees, his clients feel empowered in the process, certain of costs, and more satisfied overall with their legal experiences.
Some attorneys and law firms nationwide have begun to adopt alternative billing practice, where in effect they toss their standard hourly rate out the window. The goal is to give the client more certainty in costs, as well as exactly what the attorney will be doing and in what time frame. In a first, no-cost consultation with Mr. Light, if both he and the client decide to move forward they take a holistic view of the client’s needs and payment options.
Common questions might include:
(1) What are the larger goals that led to a legal consultation? Are there simple and cost-effective ways to achieve those goals?
(2) What is the desired budget and what can be accomplished within that budget?
(3) Are there alternative ways to provide compensation such as creative exchange, bonus, or a percentage-of-recovery fee?
(4) Are there low-cost alternative resources such as self-help books or forms that could lower legal costs?
(5) Are there non-legal approaches to a situation where the attorney would primarily be a guide and advisor?
(6) Can payment be made on a stage-by-stage basis, where client and attorney review the case periodically to decide the most efficient and cost-effective next steps?
(7) Can a fixed fee be set for a certain task or representation so the client can have complete confidence in the cost?
Mr. Light became a holistic lawyer in the mid-1990’s, limiting his practice to people who wish to invoke their highest principals, and create more personally and spiritually fulfilling legal experiences. He immediately found that client satisfaction improved, and cases generally ran more smoothly and more often resulted in win-win outcomes. With Flexible Fees, another avenue has been created for clients to have a more satisfying experience with legal services.
Mr. Light’s website is www.PeaceInTheLaw.com, and he can be reached at Ask@PeaceInTheLaw.com or 877-275-5444.