Monday, May 9, 2011

Some of the issues raised by the different approaches to flat fees

In her blog My, attoreny Carolyn Elefant has posted a very good short comment that puts in context some of the questions about flat fees that I have been discussing in previous posts.  Go here to read her post. 

As I have argued in the past a number of jurisdictions have taken an approach to flat fees that eliminates the distinction between a flat fee and a security retainer and thus the advantage of flat fees as an alternative to hourly billing.  As Ms. Elefant points out in her questions, this creates a number of problems for attorneys seeking to use flat fees.  For example, she asks about the language to be used in a retainer agreement that will allow the lawyer to keep the full fee if the case does not go to trial (and arguably, at least some of the fee is “unearned”). 

For some of my previous comments on this issue (and links to others) go here, here, and here.

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