Services and Fees FAQ


Question: Why do you offer some of your legal services for a flat fee?

I charged flat fees for several types of legal services when I practiced in Missouri and found my clients liked to know exactly how much something would cost ahead of time.

One reason I can do this is I work to develop systems and analytical models that allow me to provide quality legal work in less time than otherwise would be the case. If I am able to attract enough legal projects of the same type, I can become more efficient in the way I handle them over time.

Question: If I sign up for a flat-fee service, are there extras that you will charge me for?

No. A flat fee means a flat fee. If the job takes more time or is more difficult than I expect, that’s my problem, not my client’s problem.

I try to be specific about what is included in the flat fee service so a client knows exactly what he or she will receive before entering into a retainer agreement.

If I’m in the middle of a particular flat-fee service and a client asks me to do something more that’s not included with the original service, I’ll send an additional agreement for the added service and will ask for an additional fee.

See my Sample Flat Fee Agreement for more information.

Question: Will you ever change your flat fee charges?

The flat fee services I’m offering are an experiment to see if I can provide the services specified in a way that provides real value for my clients and is profitable for myself. As I gain more experience with these services, I may adjust my fees up or down or decide to discontinue one or more of the services.

I will not, however, make any change to the amount of a flat fee once I sign a retainer agreement with a client for a flat fee service. Regardless of profitability, I will provide the services promised for the set fee we agree to.

Question: When do I pay you?

For a flat-fee service, you pay up front. For help that I don’t provide for a flat fee, I’ll ask for a retainer to be paid up front.

Question: Can I get a refund if I change my mind on a flat-fee service?

My policy is to give every client a three-day period after I receive payment to think about our agreement and make certain they want to proceed. I won’t start work for the client until after the three-day period is complete. During that three days, if the client changes his/her mind and contacts me, they’ll receive a complete refund with no fuss.

After I’ve started work for a client, if they change their mind, I will give them a pro rata refund of their fee based on the percentage of the total job I’ve completed. Unfortunately, I can’t measure this precisely because, even with flat-fee services, each job will require a different amount of time and effort. The client will need to trust me on the refund percentage.

When I send my contract analysis to a client or otherwise come to the end of the project, there will be no refunds.

See my Sample Flat Fee Agreement for more information.

Question: Your flat fee for an Analysis of a Single Contract Provision/Answering a Contract Question is $250 while your fee for doing the same thing with an entire contract is $500. Why isn’t looking at just one part of a contract a lot cheaper?

So I can be certain other parts of a contract don’t change the meaning of a single contract provision, I will need to review the entire contract even if a client has a question about just one part of it. Depending upon the contract, this overall contract review to answer a single question may be just as rigorous as would be necessary for an analysis of the entire contract.

Question: Can I hire you like I would hire another attorney instead of using a flat-fee service?

Yes. My flat fee services are purely optional and will not be a good fit for many clients. For such clients, I will typically charge an upfront retainer fee and bill for time spent working on the client’s legal matters on an hourly basis against the retainer.

The amount of the retainer and hourly fee will depend upon the services requested. Contact me to discuss this option.

Question: I know you ask people to contribute to your Contract Collection on your blog, then you use those contracts as a basis for some of your blog posts. If I hire you to help me with a contract, will my contract go into your Contract Collection?

No. Unless you say otherwise, your contract is confidential information, subject to the same attorney/client confidentiality protections as any other information you provide to me. As an attorney, I am ethically prohibited from disclosing any client confidences.

If you decide you want to contribute your contract to the Contract Collection, you may do so. However, I will never raise the subject or make any suggestion that you do so. My default assumption is that any documents a client provides me are confidential.