what is "alternative billing" in law?

Don't Buy an Attorney's Time; Buy the Solution to Your Problem

Most law firms use the "billable hour" method of billing and invoicing clients, but that model today is outdated and frankly, unfair to clients. Attorneys generally bill by the tenth of an hour, meaning that every phone call or email you sent, every correspondence to opposing counsel, every single time your file is touched by an attorney or staff member, you are billed for this time. 


A monthly invoice with painstakingly itemized, incremental time does not give you - as the client - a clear picture of the path toward the solution to your legal problem. Lawyers are no better than any other professional when we sell our advice, expertise, & services, and our time is no more valuable than our clients' time. 



What is flat-rate pricing versus sliding scale pricing?

We implement a unique model for payment: flat-rate billing, regardless of whether your case is contested or uncontested.  The most important aspect of flat-rate billing is that our clients know how much they will be paying for their legal representation and can budget accordingly.  Most divorce attorneys bill hourly - which means unpredictable legal expenses - because, simply put, it's what they were told to do.  This model can, however, create the appearance that an attorney is purposely making a case more difficult to bill more hours and in rare cases, actually create situations where attorneys do this.  Traditional hourly billing also ensures that you overspend on your legal reprensetation. Under our flat-rate model, we have no motivation to make your case any more complex or complicated than it needs to be and we will work to negotiate the best possible outcome for you & your family.


We also use a flat-rate fee system because it helps our clients make meaningful cost-benefit analyses when it comes to their cases.  One of the harsh realities of family law cases is that they can get expensive very quickly, and many people find themselves in bankruptcy court following a divorce. We believe that no one should be sent to bankruptcy court because of family court.  Understanding the full economic costs from the get go can help clients make decisions about what issues are most important and how they would like to proceed.


Our flat fees are calculated based on the unique circumstances of your individual case and our experience in handling hundreds of family law cases.  By getting a basic understanding of what is at issue and what your goals are, we can calculate a flat fee based on the level of complexity of the matter. Use our calculator below to get an estimate of your expected legal costs.


Another alternative billing model is a sliding-scale fee, or "low bono" representation, where the client's legal fees are based on the client’s ability to pay, determined by income and/or family size as taken from the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This means that what each client pays is determined by their income. Clients with lower incomes will pay a lower fee, providing access to those who need legal assistance but who do not qualify for legal aid.


How does pricing for contested cases work?

Clients are charged for an up-front fixed fee for a defined period of representation, generally by the quarter (three months).  In other words, clients will pay us the fixed fee for every 3-month period of representation.  If your case is concluded within that period of time, you won’t have to pay us again.  If your case is not over within that defined period of time, you pay us another up-front, fixed fee for another 3-months of representation.


Are there additional costs on top of the flat-rate fee?

The fixed fee we quote will include all attorney fees, unless your case goes to trial, then there is an additional deposit required for trial.  The  vast majority of cases do not actually go to trial and trial preparation is a very extensive and time consuming process.  In addition, court filing fees, service fees, deposition costs, or other fees incurred during the litigation process are paid by the client.


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