January 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Post two of three deals with flat fee contracts. These are the simplest contracts. You pay the lawyer a set amount for a legal matter and that is it – no variance for how successful or not the case turns out.
Flat fee contracts are typically used for situations where the legal work/time/fees needed is easily determined. Common cases would be a no-contest divorce or a criminal matter.
The problem with flat fee contracts is that most are nonrefundable, and the contract spells out the terms of the representation. If your case evolves outside of the contract, you lose that money and the representation. For example, you pay a flat fee for a no-contest divorce, then it becomes contested. At that point, your lawyer is free to step out because the contract states his representation is only for a no-contest divorce, which no longer applies. Should a situation like that arise, most lawyers are happy to renegotiate the contract, but do not expect another flat fee!
As always, read the contract closely. Each contract can vary so pay close attention to the terms. If you have a question, ask! Your lawyer would rather have you understand the contract and the process up front so that both of you know what to expect.
Retainer Contracts: Contracts with Lawyers (1 of 3)
Contingency Fee Contracts: Contracts with Lawyers (3 of 3)