Keeping Your Fee Deposit Topped Up

client should top off fee deposit like a gas tankDo you know how to keep your client’s fee deposit from emptying out as you earn the fees? Here are two ways to do it. Continue reading

Do You Know When an Oral Fee Agreement is Enough?

lawyer trying to remember all of the circumstances in which an oral fee agreement is okayAlthough you should always memorialize your attorney-client fee agreements in writing, there are some limited circumstances in which an oral agreement covering attorney fees is legally permissible. How many of those circumstances can you identify? Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Include Client Responsibilities in Your Fee Agreement

lawyer handing fee agreement to client with provisions setting out responsibilities of lawyer and clientYour attorney fee agreement should not only state your responsibilities as the attorney, it should also include a provision setting out the client’s responsibilities. Check out these sample provisions. Continue reading

2 Key Provisions for Your Fee Agreement

In The Contract that Binds: Your Fee Agreement, we noted that fee agreements should not be governed by simple boilerplate and formulaic thinking. This is true, but there are exceptions to this general advice: Here are two particular provisions that should be considered and likely added to every fee agreement you draft. Continue reading

What to Include in a Fee Agreement for Forming a Corporation

If you represent clients in forming a California corporation, you should have a fee agreement that is specifically tailored for that type of work. Here are the necessary provisions to include. Continue reading

Getting Paid: Your Billing Statement

You likely didn’t learn anything about billing statements in law school, but you can’t run a law practice without getting paid. Here are some basic considerations for your billing statements and sample language to put in your fee agreement so that your client knows what to expect. Continue reading

Covering Costs in Contingent Fee Agreements

When you’re working for a contingent fee, i.e., you’ll be paid a percentage of the recovery, don’t forget to discuss the payment of costs in your fee agreement with your client. Here’s what you’ll need to include to be sure you cover costs. Continue reading

Review Your Hourly Fee Agreement

ThinkstockPhotos-481542709Hourly billing for legal services has been criticized for, among other things, discouraging attorney efficiency and providing the client with no predictability of cost (see, e.g., ABA Commission on Billable Hours Report 2001-2002) and has even been declared dead. But traditional hourly billing is still the most common type of fee arrangement in many types of practices. If you go the hourly route for at least some of your practice, review these points to be sure you are following best practices and are in compliance with the law. Continue reading

No Fee Agreement, No Service

ThinkstockPhotos-481542709Businesses often have basic requirements before they offer their services–think, “No shoes, no service.” Attorneys should be no different. Continue reading

How to Get and Handle Retainer Fees

ThinkstockPhotos-481542713If you’re new to practice, you may have heard of retainer fees but aren’t sure how to get them and whether you can keep them. Here’s a look at the rules and a sample retainer provision to help you out. Continue reading