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Published on September 11th, 2021 | by Newt Rayburn


Attorney Flat Fee Agreement Sample

State and local bar companies often issue model royalty agreements, but these are only a starting point. They should not be taken up in the wholesale trade without reframing them to your practice. Fee agreements are a bit like marriage contracts. Both sides get into it when both think things are going to be great between them, and their notions only become practical when things have gone wrong. Since lawyers are the authors of fee agreements, we should see how we can protect ourselves if the client relationship goes south. We must ensure that the agreement covers certain situations. If this is not the case, it is likely that the agreement will be interpreted against us. We must also ensure that there is no addition of terms that are contrary to ethical rules, because the existence of such conditions will influence the analysis of the agreement by a regulatory authority and will eventually harm us again. The exact amount the client has to pay is another sore point in fee agreements. Put things very clearly; A fee agreement is not a place to confuse a client or hide the 8-ball. If it is a flat-rate tax, indicate the final amount. Explain in the hourly statement what the rate will be (and if you have several people, set the rate for each person), explain the tasks charged, the hourly increments and the use of an early deposit. In Part 2, we will look at five additional points that every lawyer should include in their fee agreement.

Here are four critical areas to evaluate for each client fee agreement. We will discuss five other issues in Part 2 of this article. The failure to specify the scope of work is at the root of the concerns of many lawyers who charge per hour to upgrade to a lump sum fee. This is the linchpin of a successful flat fee practice – clearly define what you are committed to and you should not engage with unexpected ethical obligations or excessive work for too little pay.

About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt is perhaps best known as the leader of the Mississippi RocknRoll band THE COOTERS, but he also has the Country & Southern Rock group, HAWGWASH. Newt is a Photographer, Writer, and Civil War Enthusiast.

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