How We Charge
At Next Phase, our transparent fee options differentiate us from competitors. We have some strong opinions about hourly billing vs. flat fees, and we have yet to meet the client that ends up liking hourly billing as a case moves along.
Our goal is to provide better alternatives that work for you and your family, now and into the future. You probably heard stories or even know someone that got into a pricey divorce war. This is a significant financial mistake to make as legal fees can deplete savings and investments, eat up money that could have been used to help your kids with college or for vacation, and lead you with a bad taste in your mouth and possibly more debt.
Hourly Billing Blue -
Divorce Legal Fees
While a person may not admit it, some people that may feel aggrieved or have other strong feelings may seek some form of payback upon their spouse or partner by hiring an attorney that considers herself/himself aggressive. When you hear aggressive, you should first remind yourself that it also pertains to billing! In our experience, clients do not feel better about anything when they spent five or even six figures on a court-based divorce or a post-divorce case. They feel exhausted and, in many instances, realize they should have considered other settlement options.
Hourly billing, the mainstay of the legal profession, is accompanied by a host of negatives, including the obvious lack of certainty concerning your costs, and rewarding inefficient work habits by some attorneys and mediators. Hourly billing can even lead to resentment between lawyers and clients. For example, are you looking forward to paying for a minimum of 12 minutes (the typical standard for this region and practice area) for every email and telephone call? If your attorney or mediator has an hourly rate of $350.00, then that is $70.00 for something that was perhaps a five-minute duration. As your retainer funds dissipate, you will be required to replenish them... and the pattern continues. You may feel as though there is no end in sight.
A Better Approach:
Up-front, Flat Fees
Because the system of hourly billing is genetically implanted into lawyers minds at law school, and because most lawyers or mediators do not have experience with alternatives, the hourly billing system remains commonplace. Professionals like it because there is less risk with hourly billing. If a client runs out of money, the attorney can usually withdraw from the case. As the client, the risk falls on you with hourly billing.
Alternatively, fixed fees provide transparency for you. Services are identified in advance and you know up front what the cost will be. When you think about it, this is how most of us buy things. Flat fees in a litigation setting are somewhat more complicated, as there can be a higher potential for variables that your lawyer may not be able to control. When less-adversarial methods of dispute resolution are used, the process itself mostly eliminates the chance of things going off the rails, allowing for tailored solutions and transparent fees.
Depending on the scope of our work for you, you may be able to divide your fee into multiple payments. You will know all these things in advance, as we will provide you with a detailed proposal and transparent pricing terms. Sometimes flat fees are not the best option. Either way, we will work with you to develop some options for you consider. If we cannot help you, we will try and help you find another qualified professional that can.
Our Fee Options
At Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution, we are focused on providing you personalized service and results. This includes our open and transparent policies regarding fees. Below is a summary of some of our fees and options. Understandably, things change from time to time but the info below is current for 2021.