Suzanne – A great list and good advice on the requirements of the state. One provision that is important in jurisdictions such as DC and MD and perhaps others in which lump sum fees are not considered earned at reception (and instead must go into the receiver account) is a schedule that defines when fees are considered earned, so that the lawyer can pay funds throughout the performance process, instead of waiting until the end to collect the fees. Suppose, for example, that a lawyer charges (and is paid) a flat fee of $100,000 to represent a client in an IA DU. In DC, this money must be paid into the trust account and can only be withdrawn “as earned.” In the case of hourly fees, you send monthly invoices and $s earned accordingly. However, hourly invoices miss the purpose of the flat fee. Therefore, the pricing agreement should be as follows: the tax is 10k to be paid by the receiver`s account as follows (these are hypothetical percentages – just make yours to roughly match the value of the work done): 30% after the signing of the conservation agreement, 30% depending on the snatch and the rest after the process or any other solution of the deal; The agreement should also stipulate that, since the flat fee is for the resolution of the case, the full tax will be paid if the matter is settled before one of these points. This protects against the situation where the lawyer takes a 10k fee, makes a convincing argument and drops the case in three days – and must repay $s if the stages of conservation have not been reached. This, too, is only necessary in jurisdictions where the flat fee must be trusted, and even in those jurisdictions, you are reviewing certain rules to determine whether this approach is accurate. I hope you will continue to post updates to your list based on the comments you receive in response to this post. Thank you very much! I really enjoyed this discussion. A pricing agreement should be a work in progress. One of the things I include in my agreement is that I run a “less paper” office and most of a client`s file is stored electronically.
I include a rule for record retention, which states that I will only keep copies of hard documents that require the preservation of the originals, and that electronic files can be deleted after 6 years. The crucial point is that all pricing agreements must be reviewed continuously. Don`t just assume that someone else has used it for years without incident, that it works for you, your customers or your jurisdiction. Other sections fit one of two categories of things you should deal with in your pricing agreement: the things you should always have in a contract; and things that you should include in your contract under cash and/or judicial rules. Another comment on the scope of the work: you should be able to add additional areas of work to the agreement and the agreement remains binding in its version modified by these activities. This way, an agreement is all you ever need with this customer, even if you increase your fees later. Among the things you should have in every contract you issue and therefore include in your fee contract: are you going to put your pricing agreement in an application that they can enjoy for the whole world? The ABA Law Practice Management Section (Then Economics of Law Section) rejected the book “How To Start and Build A Law Practice” because I was in favour of written fee agreements and refused to withdraw this chapter from the book. The written fee agreement was found to be offensive and unethical, for the following reasons.
I bet there could be a major error in your pricing agreements, which I hope you will correct after reading this. Always adopt a pricing agreement by doing your due diligence for your jurisdiction and thinking about other unique elements for your practice. For example, the type of communication can be heavily weighted or exclusively online.