Attorneys and law firms are notorious for charging by the hour. In some instances it is necessary, such as when very adversarial negotiations are involved. My practice deals with mostly all transactional matter such as private funding, contract drafting, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate legal advice - and for all of those and more I offer flat fees. Sure, are there instances when adversarial negotiations merit billing by the hour - but even then - I employ a hybrid flat fee / hourly billing method. For example, in the M&A context, a proposal might look like this for a small $1,000,000 asset purchase when I represent the buyer:
- Flat Fee include initial draft of an Asset Purchase Agreement, one round of revisions, and initial drafts of up to 4 ancillary documents (i.e. a bill of sale, assignment and assumption agreement, consulting agreement...etc).
- Everything above and beyond is billed hourly, unless we agree ahead of time on additional levels to the flat legal fee.
The key is defining the scope of the representation that is included in the quote for flat fee legal services.
Don't settle for a retainer / hourly rate unless you have to. Make sure you at least ask for flat fee legal services when you are looking for an attorney.