Law firms have realized they must evolve with modern times in order to meet ever-changing client expectations. Including, the demand for flexible billing arrangements. For this reason, firms are now offering varied fee options and flexible payment alternatives. In exploring alternative fee options, firms are better served by employing a proficient legal billing software. Cloud-based programs like TimesManager™ can automatically generate bills for various arrangements, such as hourly, fixed-fee, percentage rate, contingency, retainers, and disbursements. Additionally, it is always accessible from any computer or mobile device for up-to-date data access. The use of a program like TimesManager™ is guaranteed to improve a firm’s proficiency across the board.
Typically, this billing is charged at an hourly rate, and is negotiated before starting the case. In such cases, the lawyer’s billable hours are recorded under the work completed and generates statements accordingly. However, the hourly billing method can have multiple hybrid arrangements. These include mixed hourly rates, where different billing rates are charged for various billing hours. Fixed plus hourly, is where certain hours are charged a flat rate in conjunction with the hours spent. Another, is hourly rate plus contingency, which is when a portion of the fee is hourly and a percentage of the contingency fee is offered upon completion of a client’s case.
Unlike hourly, this billing involves a fixed rate for a defined service provided to the client which could be the total fee for the whole service or the fee for handling just a portion of the case. In some cases, the clients can also negotiate for blended fee arrangements on a particular matter where individual tasks are assigned fixed rate, and others are offered as a percentage of value.
Percentage based billing is when the client is charged predetermined rate based on the amount an attorney is involved in the matter. The rate the client is charged could be the same for the whole service, or may change per negotiation.
Is when attorneys come up with a budget in advance of performing a particular task related to a client case. Many times, they consider UTBMS (Uniform Task-Based Management System) standard codes to categorize billing, and evaluate the cost of their legal work. The work is billed according to the proposed budget, but never exceeding it. This arrangement helps the clients and law firms track the budgets to determine how much future work is required.
This is when an attorney’s fee is linked to the success, or failure of a case. Usually, the contingency is combined with an hourly or flat rate to guarantee the attorney a minimum payment. Upon winning, the lawyers will receive a certain percentage of the total amount of the settlement. The percentage determined will mostly depend on the complexity of the case. Typically, law firms will have a fee agreement contract with the client that determines the appropriate amount of billing.
In this arrangement, a certain amount is paid to the attorney before the beginning of legal services. As the case progresses, the charges for the attorney’s service is billed against the retainer fee. The amount then gets deducted from this individual account. Costs like court filing fee, photocopy costs, and other expenses are considered as disbursements that are included in the billing in addition to the attorney charges.