Funding a lawsuit is often a challenge for many clients, regardless of whether they are individuals or businesses. Every client wants the highest level of representation at the lowest out-of-pocket amount possible. That being said, most clients are willing to pay for value, experience and results. Said differently, the best usually aren’t the cheapest and the cheapest usually aren’t the best.
We will not enter into an arrangement that pays a straight hourly rate. Many law firms talk about “cost effective” representation for detailed hourly billing. The client is told, at the beginning, how aggressively the case will be handled and how the client stands a great chance of prevailing. After months of hourly bills (often that detail work to the tenth of an hour) totaling thousands or millions of dollars, the case is finally ready for trial. The client then receives advice to settle or resolve matters because there is “too much risk.” The lawyer collects his bills and goes on to the next case. The client is left wondering what happened and why it spent so much for an average result.
Every fee agreement we sign with every client is predicated on some method of result. Our fee arrangement is designed to meet the client’s specific needs, the facts and circumstances of the case, and what arrangement will motivate the attorney and the client to achieve the desired result. We provide a number of aggressive fee arrangements, but each on is premised on rewarding the attorney for meeting the agreed client objective while allowing the client to control how the case is resolved.
Full Contingency Fee
This method of fee arrangement is a traditional approach that most directly ties the results of the client to the results of the attorney. The Ayres Law Office advances its time and, at times, all or a portion of the expenses of the litigation. In return, as attorneys, we will receive an agreed portion of the client’s gross recovery. Unlike most firms, the Ayres Law Office requires its clients agree to a sliding scale where the fees differ depending on when the case is resolved. For example, if a case is settled prior to filing a lawsuit, the client pays a lesser percentage than if the case progresses through an appeal. Flat, general fees encourage lawyers to place their interest before their clients and resolve cases prematurely. Our contingency fee agreements allow the client to consider its options and make the best personal, business and economic decision.
Reverse Contingency Fee
The traditional approach is to only use the contingency fee for cases where the client is prosecuting a claim. At the Ayres Law Office, we feel that defense cases also merit use of a contingency fee – the “reverse” contingency fee. In this situation, when defending a case, our fee arrangement hinges on how much we save the client from the amount in controversy. There may be an agreement with our client on the amount in controversy or our adversary may declare what is at stake. In either situation, we receive a fee only based on how much the client directly benefitted from our work. We share in a piece of the savings.
Mixed Contingent & Hourly Billing
A contingent hourly bill mixes the traditional approach of hourly billing and contingency fees. Our hourly rates are, by nature, higher than most lawyers because of our pattern of results, level of expertise and innovative techniques. Because we refuse to participate without a stake in the outcome, a straight hourly approach is not possible. As an alternative, we will reduce our normal hourly rates and take a contingency interest in the client’s gross recovery. In this way, we still have a vested interest in the lawsuit.
Hourly Billing with a “Holdback”
Some clients simply insist on the traditional approach of hourly billing. While that does not meet with our philosophy, to accommodate these types of clients, we developed a win-win approach to hourly billing for the client. The Ayres Law Office will bill on an hourly basis, yet refuse to collect our full hourly rate until the case is concluded successfully for the client. We “hold back” collection on some portion of each hour spent and billed to remind the client that we are invested in the outcome. If we win, then we get paid what we deserve. If we do not meet the client’s objectives, then client retains some portion of our time because we simply did not get the job done.
Flat Fee with a Bonus Structure
Businesses often look to a model whereby they no longer pay hourly rates, and instead gear their fee structures in a more predictable manner that affords them the right to budget attorney’s fees in a more static fashion. The flat fee arrangement is one method to accomplish this objective. The Ayres Law Office formulates a budget for a client’s task(s) and then aggressively pursues the desired result. The client pays an agreed flat fee for the task(s). If successful, the client will pay an agreed “bonus” to reward the client for controlling costs and meeting the goals.