Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thinking about going solo? Advice on how to set your fees

From the blog Attorney@Work:

What happens after you leave BigLaw and become a solo? When John Snyder—a Harvard-educated senior associate in a big New York firm—decided to start his own practice, plenty of people wondered about it. There must be an easier way—especially since it meant getting Big Apple business clients to hire a solo for their needs. As he approaches the one-year milestone with his commercial litigation boutique, John is telling Attorney at Work readers how he’s getting it done—and giving practical advice for lawyers about making it on your own. First lesson? Figuring out your fees ….

When I started my own commercial litigation boutique last year, I gave serious thought to abandoning the much-maligned billable hour. After all, we all know the criticisms: The billable hour rewards inefficiency, places the lawyer’s interests at odds with the client’s, and unrealistically assumes that every hour of time is of the same value to the client.

On the other hand, for a litigator focused on complex and often unpredictable cases, the alternatives are not particularly satisfying. The inherent unpredictability of litigation makes a flat fee arrangement difficult or impossible. Nor does a pure contingency model make sense because, frankly, as a small firm, I cannot afford to bet my practice on the outcome of a case (although I have occasionally negotiated “hybrid” arrangements).

Continue reading "steps for building credibility through billing" here.


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