Paying your lawyer is painful. This is why:
If you have ever dealt with a lawyer, you know the billing procedure sucks. We’ve compiled just a few reasons why paying lawyers by the hour is a terrible idea.
At hundreds of dollars an hour, your bill racks up fast. Your lawyer has probably asked for massive retainers and fee deposits just to talk to you. Billing against your fee deposit further reduces transparency and results in massive invoices to prepay for several hours at a time.
2. Lack of Transparency
If you’re lucky, you know you can trust that your lawyer isn’t inflating hours. Paying that bill still sucks though. At some point you have asked if reviewing that document really took 1.75 hours…when you’re not in the room watching your lawyer work, you have no way to check that the hour count is accurate.
You want issues solved and advice quickly. What does your lawyer want? If you’re paying him by the hour, he wants it to take as long as possible. There’s always that extra thing they “strongly encourage” too. Shouldn’t your lawyer have the same goals as you?
Some tasks are easier than others. That’s true for the things you ask your lawyer to do, too. When you pay by the hour, you can be pretty sure that you’re paying your lawyer top dollar whether a matter is complicated or routine. Should your lawyer get to charge you the same for answering an email as they do for appearing in court?
In the 21st Century tech world, almost everything comes with fixed monthly fees. Every other industry has figured out how to simplify billing. Lawyers are billing clients the same way they did in the 1800’s.
6. Fear of Racking up Hours
You know you should talk to a lawyer, but know it’s going to cost you a ton just to ask a question. When you can consult with your lawyer without running up bills, you get answers upfront and can avoid bigger, more expensive legal troubles down the road.
As a business owner, your bottom line is important. Keeping tabs on expenses helps you plan for the future and maintain profits. When your lawyer charges you by the hour, it makes it difficult to plan how much you’ll spend on legal expenses. Hourly billing is just a huge question mark in your budget. Plus, ever notice how your lawyer always exceeds their quoted estimate?
At Biz-e-law we have replaced exploitative hourly fees with fixed monthly rates. If you own a small business in Missouri or Illinois, you can call our expert attorneys at (314) 312-2244 to start protecting your business today.
Ben earned his Juris Doctorate at Syracuse University and has a Masters in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship. Ben is a licensed attorney in Missouri and Illinois and a Senior-Partner at Biz-e-Law. He serves on the City Council for Chesterfield, Missouri.