A Better Approach to Flat Fees

I’m a big fan of flat fees. They do a much better job (than hourly billing) at aligning the interests of the client and her legal team. And, when done correctly, they can simultaneously improve profitability of the work and allow the legal team to scale-up to serve more clients (at that improved profitability).

One of the dumbest less informed comments I hear from lawyers when I talk about flat fees is “We’ve flat fee’d a few matters, but we got killed on one of them so I’m suspicious of using them again.”

Here’s why that attitude is a problem: You shouldn’t “flat fee” a matter, you should develop a legal product and sell it for a fixed price.

Individual matters are complex. Even when you’ve done a lot of them, any lawyer knows that there can be quite a bit of variation. If you decide to offer a fixed fee on a one-off piece of work—maybe because the client’s asked for it or maybe because...

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