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Comments

D. Todd Smith

I don't read your post as saying this, but it's worth pointing out that flat fees aren't bad in and of themselves. The real problem is the "assembly line" required to profit from them in the sort of practice you have featured and all that goes into setting up that kind of "factory." I manage to incorporate flat fees into my practice and am able to do so because I can estimate with some precision what it will take for me to handle a particular matter. It's a far cry from the assembly line business model, and clients like the certainty and predictability that this fee structure brings.

Bryan

I am not sure that the problem in this situation is that the fee was flat, but instead, that the fee is not sufficient to pay for the services of an attorney to actually perform legal work on the file.

Thus, the cause of the problem is not the method of calculating the fee (flat or hourly) but instead that the fee is too low.

mike anderson

No matter the amount of the fee, a flat fee helps to turn the legal product into a commodity. Once everyone decides to step into the flat fee arena, the commodity competition becomes a race to the bottom.

PerGynt

Regardless of how you bill your customers, if you aren't keeping track of your time on your work you're screwing up! There is no way to measure your productivity other than to put a clock to it, and if you are actually engaged in a money making enterprise you need to measure your performance. You need to do it, or at least to have done it, or you will have no indication whether you are billing enough money or overestimating your skills. That poetry that you see in certain blogs advocating "value billing" and "selling your value" won't help you make good decisions about setting fair and adequate fees.
Good luck.

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