Our Flat Fee Model
Our Flat Fee Model
In most industries, you buy a product or sign up for a service and the provider will share the price. Customers often go price-shopping or otherwise can budget for the product or service they are looking for. The legal industry, however, is one of the few industries where a client only learns after delivery of the services how much the services will cost — and it is expensive. For many clients, it does not take long to realize that the legal fees can outweigh the benefit of the service itself. This leaves clients in a terrible position as they are already knee-deep in the legal process– and in legal bills– and without an exit option.
At Shakfeh Law, we are pioneers and part of the growing change-makers empowering clients with information about legal fees before making decisions. Instead of billing by the hour, we bill based on the “phases” of a case. Attorney Danya Shakfeh provides a tailored flat fee structure that takes into account each client’s unique needs. In addition to giving our clients more information to make better decisions and to budget, flat fees also encourage our attorneys to work efficiently and innovatively. Lastly, attorney Danya Shakfeh has found that a flat fee billing structure improves the overall attorney-client relationship since the legal fee is out of the way the attorney and client can focus on the legal case instead of bills. Clients no longer have to worry about being billed for every minor phone call or email they make to their attorney versus when hiring a law firm that bills hourly for legal fees.
When it comes to paying legal fees, which would you choose:
Choice A: Pay a flat fee of $3,000 for a contract and the fee includes drafting and all of your discussions with your attorney, receiving related legal advice, and being able to ask related questions.
Choice B: Be given a range of $2,000-$4,000+ for the same contract, but you won’t know how much it will cost until after the fact and every time you have a discussion with your attorney or want to ask a question, get charged at least $30.
The above two options highlight the difference between our flat fee billing method and traditional legal hourly billing. Hourly billing is unpredictable leaving clients unsure how much to budget for their legal services. And in cases where there is a dispute, clients will not know whether paying for legal services is financially worth recovering the losses from the dispute. With our flat fee model, clients can budget more easily and make more informed decisions.
Our flat fees are based on segmenting your case into phases and specific tasks. We based the flat fees on experience and the complexity of your legal matter. Flat fees may appear more expensive at the beginning but only because clients see a higher figure at the beginning instead of at the end. Other law firms charge deceptively low retainers but do not use that initial charge as a way to measure the cost of the overall case.
Hourly billing creates an incentive for the attorney to bill more and prolong your case, while flat fee billing encourages efficiency and innovation. Prolonging a case or billing for simple (and sometimes unnecessary tasks) just to increase billable hours is not always intentional, just human nature. So which type of law firm would you rather hire?
A retainer is usually the initial fee that a client pays to a law firm and the law firm will bill its hourly rate against that retainer. Clients have to replenish that retainer when it runs out, and that can happen pretty quickly.
You may consult with a law firm that has an initial retainer of a relatively low amount such as $2,500, that must be replenished as the law firm bills hourly. The retainer amount is often deceptively low and in no way any indication of what the overall legal matter will cost. Let’s call this the “Fake Low Retainer Trap.” That same $2,500 can easily turn into a $30,000 legal fee bill. We’ve seen it ourselves. Frankly, lawyers can easily bill through $5,000 and $10,000 retainers too. At Shakfeh Law, we may start with a higher flat fee initial payment, but in the long run, our clients are better off because they can plan for their legal fees and the fees are more predictable.
In most cases, we can tell you how much the first phase of your legal matter will cost, if not beyond. During your initial consultation, not only will attorney Danya Shakfeh give you valuable information about your matter, but will also work on gathering the necessary information to determine the direction of the case and potential legal fees to empower the client. There will be no surprise monthly invoice and we have no incentive to run up big bills for small tasks or drag your case on.
In most cases, we charge an initial consultation fee of $250 for up to an hour. Although some firms offer free consultations, know that attorneys who offer free consultations often treat the opportunity more as a sales pitch to you and less likely to provide actual value. By charging for our consultations, we provide more value to you from the first time you walk in the door by helping break down your legal situation and giving you guidance. And if you hire us within 3 days of the consultation, we apply the consultation fee to the first invoice.
During the consultation, the attorney will hear you out about your legal issue, ask follow up questions to get a better understanding of your needs and goals, explain the general legal landscape, and then discuss your options. At the end of the consultation, you should at least walk away with a better understanding of your legal situation. The attorney will also discuss how you can hire us if you want to go that route as well.
Sometimes clients just need to know what their legal options are beyond a consultation. In those situations, we do a deep dive into a client’s case and provide a formal case assessment or legal opinion letter so a client can objectively weigh her options before taking a specific action.
One of our core values at Shakfeh Law is client-centered services. Let’s face it, law firms are also businesses and we believe it’s just good business to deliver high quality legal services to our clients. What do high quality legal services look like? It means prompt communication, using technology to streamline our work to be more efficient and timely, and of course, ensuring our clients are legally protected.
By charging flat fees, the overall attorney-client relationship is improved so our attorneys can focus on delivering the highest quality product. This is because the cloud of “legal bills” is already handled and understood, clients feel comfortable picking up the phone to speak with us without the fear of being billed for every minute, and we can get the job done.
No matter the size of your business, the number of years you have been in operation, or the complexity of the issues or disputes you need to address, Shakfeh Law LLC can provide the legal help you need. To learn more, contact us or call our office at 630-517-5529. We serve clients in Chicago, Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Downers Grove, Lombard, Willowbrook, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Villa Park, and throughout Cook County and DuPage County.