Sunday, November 11, 2012
The oversupply of lawyers has placed tremendous pressure on law firms to control costs in order to remain competitive and attract clients. It means that some smaller firms are starting to experiment with pricing options to attract potential clients who may not have otherwise engaged an attorney due to cost. The legal press has reported before on these so-called "kiosk" law firms (here and here) and now an Atlanta, Georgia law firm is trying its hand by opening a "Justice Cafe" where clients can "purchase" a la carte legal advice from divorce lawyers at a rate of $75.00 an hour. The lawyers will work on a contract basis, keeping half of the billed rate meaning they can earn about $55k per year based on a 30 billable hour work week. From Law.com:
Many middle-income people seeking a divorce can't afford to hire a lawyer but aren't poor enough to qualify for legal aid. Michael and Shelia Manely hope to fill this gap with a new kind of family law firm, the Justice Café.
Located a block from the Fulton County, Ga., Superior Courthouse, the Justice Café will charge $75 an hour for a la carte help in divorces and other family law matters, with no retainer up front, unlike most family law firms.
The storefront space at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Peachtree Street will take walk-in clients who want to handle their divorce themselves but need some guidance from a lawyer. Clients can pay for either general advice or specific tasks, such as drafting an answer to a complaint or representation at a 30-day hearing.
The typical client will engage a Justice Café lawyer for 10 or fewer hours, said Michael Manely.
"If they need more than 10 hours of help, then they probably need a full-service approach," said Manely, whose Marietta, Ga.-based practice, The Manely Firm, has specialized in full-service family law for about a decade.
Firms offering walk-in, a la carte family law services have sprung up in other parts of the country, but Manely said this is a first for Georgia.
The lawyers staffing the Justice Café will work on contract and collect half the $75 hourly fee. The other half will cover overhead. At $37.50 an hour, a lawyer billing 30 hours per week can earn an annual gross salary of about $55,000.
Continue reading here.
Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.