Find comfort and peace of mind in fixed fees
Charging fixed fees shifts the focus away from paying for our time to paying a set amount for our knowledge and skills in providing legal services, irrespective of the time taken.
Why don’t other lawyers charge fixed fees?
Lawyers often quote a fee for sales and purchases of homes and for other routine work but rarely for complicated business transactions and court disputes.
There are many variables in complex matters. For example, a court case may settle early or be decided by a judge after an expensive hearing, an opposing party may be easy or difficult to deal with or new disputes may arise along the way. With such matters lawyers generally prefer to charge for the time they may spend or for each letter or document they produce. This reduces the financial risk for lawyers but does nothing to reduce the financial risk and uncertainty faced by the client.
Why do we offer fixed fees?
We have two main reasons:
1. Reduction of financial concerns
You benefit because they:
• reduce uncertainty about how much you need to pay;
• help you to budget for legal fees;
• help you to realistically assess costs versus benefits of each step along the way;
• help reassure you of our commitment to progress your matter as efficiently and effectively as possible as fees are not taken until work is completed;
• enable you and ReesLaw to work together on your matter without you worrying about being charged extra every time we communicate with you or anyone else, prepare documents, research the law or attend on any other matter within the scope of our retainer;
2. Better working relationship
Our relationship with you is enhanced because our fee is agreed at the outset and thereafter we can focus on delighting you with our commitment to fearless and effective representation.
How does fixed fee pricing work?
If it is a non-litigated matter, like buying a property or selling a business, then a fixed fee can be worked out for the whole matter at the start.
If it is a litigated matter, or one that may become litigated, we discuss your case with you to assess whether it is suitable for fixed fee pricing and, if so, develop a plan for your matter. Usually our plan involves the first stage of your case as it is usually not possible to quote for a later stage without completing the first.
Two or three of our lawyers then consult to develop a fixed fee proposal for the work you need us to do.
We send the proposal to you and you have the chance to consider whether the proposal is of sufficient value to you. We invite you to seek independent advice about it. If you do not accept it, you can still decide to engage our services on a standard hourly-rate basis. If you do choose to accept the proposal, you sign a costs agreement and disclosure notice which cover the work and pay the agreed fee into our trust account. At the completion of the work we bill you and transfer our fees from the trust account to pay the bill.
If, at the end of a stage, further work needs to be done, we will talk with you about an updated plan of work for the next stage and the fees for that work.
Is everything included?
Many law firms claim to offer fixed fees but really they offer a low fixed fee which barely includes the basics and then they tack on lots of extra options, which in reality, are part of the work. Like when you buy an app for your phone and later discover it is virtually unusable unless you spend a fortune on in-app purchases.
We aim to include as much as we can in a fixed fee. But we accept that sometimes this is just not realistic. Things like disbursements (money that we have to pay on your behalf to third parties, such as filing fees for court or search fees for buying a house) can be subject to what you choose or to change which is beyond our control.
We aim to always provide clear information on what is and is not included and to give you estimates for things that are not included in the fixed fee.
Are fixed fee arrangements always available?
Fixed fees are not suitable in every case. Some disputes involve such difficult and uncertain legal issues or such high levels of conflict that it is not realistic, or fair, to quote a fee. It’s a bit like asking a taxi driver to to quote a fare without knowing your destination.
But in many cases, we are able to offer a fixed fee for some or all of the stages in your matter.
What about variations?
Our fixed fee may be varied if unforeseen circumstances arise which require work beyond the scope of the costs agreement. This might occur, for example, when an opposing party brings an unexpected court application or a party to Family Law proceedings abducts a child. Such circumstances may make it fair and reasonable to propose a variation to cover the extra work. In these cases, we would go through the same process as above to determine and updated fixed fee for your matter.
If it cannot be varied due to the complexity of the new circumstances or work, we will provide you an estimate for the additional work so you have an idea about how much it will cost. An estimate, unlike a fixed fee, is subject to change depending on how much work ends up being involved.