Creative Fee Arrangements
The Burk Law Firm, P.C. offers its clients a range of creative billing options to suit the needs of businesses and individuals desiring to use the legal services of the Firm. The Firm undertakes litigation and trials, at the Firm’s discretion, under one of the following billing options:
- Hourly fee arrangement (Different rates apply to different attorneys working on a case according to their level of experience); the client pays all expenses of the litigation; all sums due under any invoice are due within 15 days of receipt of an invoice.
- Hybrid arrangements for Plaintiffs:
- “Reduced Hourly/Client Pays Expenses/Contingent Interest and Possible Installment Payout of Reduced Hourly Fees”: This arrangement provides for a reduced or discounted hourly fee for all attorneys working on the case (different rates apply to different attorneys working on a case according to their level of experience); in exchange for a contingent interest in any and all recoveries in the case. The contingent amount owing to the Firm depends on the rate of discount made on the fees; the higher the discount on the fees, the higher the contingent interest.
- “One Time Non-refundable Retainer/Client Pays All Expenses/Contingent Fee Arrangement”: This arrangement provides that client pays a one-time nonrefundable retainer to the Firm to commence the litigation. The client pays for all expenses of the litigation. The Firm also is given a contingent interest in all recoveries in the case received by the client and the contingent amount required by the Firm on recoveries under the arrangement starts at a lower level for all pretrial recoveries (“pretrial recoveries” defined as any recoveries received before sixty days before the trial begins, and then increases for all recoveries received by client after 60 days before the trial begins). All contingent interests under this arrangement are calculated on the gross amount of the recovery.
- Pure Contingency Arrangement: This arrangement provides that the client pays nothing (no fees and no expenses) until and unless there is a recovery or recoveries in the case. In return, the Firm receives out of the gross recovery or recoveries in the case, a percentage of any recoveries received on or before 30 days after the trial of the case is concluded. The Firm’s percentage of the gross recoveries received by the client increases after 30 days from the date of the end of the trial in the case. In the unlikely but possible event the case is retried after an appeal, the Firm’s percentage of the gross recoveries received increases again after the date the case is remanded back to the trial court for retrial.
- Hybrid / Contingency Arrangements for Defendants (“Negative Contingency Fee”): Generally defendants in lawsuits are not seeking damages but instead are defending against a plaintiff seeking damages. Therefore any Hybrid or Contingency Arrangement would be based on the savings the defendant realized less than some mutually agreed set amount (e.g. the amount the plaintiff is seeking as damages in lawsuit, or plaintiff’s latest settlement demand). “Hybrid” as in the plaintiff’s representation context here also means at a substantially reduced fee with the contingency a percentage of the savings to the defendant client.
- Flat Fee Arrangement: In certain types of cases and fact situations, the Firm will agree to handle a litigation case on a flat fee basis. The Firm determines the total fee it will charge for the case which will be due in total up front and will be the cost of the case to the client regardless of how long the case last but not longer than thirty days after the first trial in the case has concluded. The Firm requires a bonus for a successful judgment, if there is a trial, or a successful settlement (the latter defined by a mutual agreement with the client).
After discussions and negotiations with the potential client, the Firm will decide which of the Fee Arrangements is best suited for the client and particular lawsuit. Sometimes if the Firm is unable to make a complete assessment at the beginning of the case, the Firm will begin the case on an hourly fee arrangement and then later decide, at a time agreed in advance with the client, if a Hybrid or Contingency Arrangement is more appropriate for the client.