Patrick J. Lamb posted an article on the Legal Rebels’ section of the abajournal.com website on November 7, 2012 titled: Prepping a Value-Fee Engagement Letter? Consider These 13 Issues First. He is a founding member of Valorem Law Group, author of Alternative Fee Arrangements: Value Fees and the Changing Legal Market, and blogs at In Search of Perfect Client Service. In his post, Mr. Lamb identifies 13 issues that attorneys preparing alternative fee arrangement letters should cover:
- Set a specific fee structure.
- Define staffing.
- Specify amounts of payments, and when payments will be billed and paid.
- Specify the assumptions on which the fee agreement is based.
- Specify work to be performed and any work not to be performed.
- Identify the criteria for change order approval.
- Require that the company approve any spending outside the fee agreement.
- Early case assessments are required and must be updated.
- Basic “what-ifs” should be addressed.
- Specify whether local counsel fees are included or excluded.
- Specify whether expert fees are included or excluded.
- Be clear about whether fees for trial and trial preparation are included.
- Consider whether a general retainer agreement providing volume discount is in place.
LPR urges legal consumers and attorneys alike to look at these issues and others when entering into alternative fee agreements. After all, educated legal consumers are more likely to obtain value and satisfaction from their attorneys, which ultimately benefits the attorneys as well.
You’ve got options. The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field. Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.
- Using Alternative Fee Arrangements to Increase New Business (adverselling.typepad.com)
- 10 For The Next Gen | An interview with Patrick Lamb of Valorem Law Group (virtualmarketingofficer.com)
- The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: The Evolution of Your Future Legal Fees (lasthonestlawyer.wordpress.com)