Explaining Flat Fee Billing Practices


Flat fee billing means that, for your particular case, Dickson Davis Law Firm will only charge one rate for services provided for a preset number of hours assigned to your case. With flat fee billing, whether the attorney is efficient is irrelevant. The client is not billed for inefficiency.

The Dickson Davis Law Firm prefers flat fee billing to encourage efficient billing practices for clients and watch the clients' bottom line in the costs of representation. The Dickson Davis Law Firm believes that flat fee billing is a more ethical and preferable standard of practice when billing clients. 

The Dickson Davis Law Firm does flat fee billing based on the stage of litigation of the client's case: pre-trial, trial, post-trial, appeal, or pre-litigation (does not include any of the above). 

For costs of litigation unrelated to the legal services provided by the Dickson Davis Law Firm, the client is responsible for some of those costs directly with certain expenses. 

Also, the Dickson Davis Law Firm offers a 10% discount if the client pays the flat fee retainer in full.

With hourly billing, the client may get wildly inconsistent billing from one month to the next that leaves little in the way of predictable financial planning. If the client qualifies for a payment plan, then the client may elect to participate in a monthly payment plan once the client has made a deposit. The Deposit for the flat fee is typically around 20-30% of the total flat fee to start working on your case.

While not appropriate for all situations, the simplicity of the payment plan is that, if the case settles earlier, then the client may pay less in reality (and is only responsible for out-of-pocket expenses or actual services performed until that point of litigation). The Dickson Davis Law Firm will present a final invoice (or credit) for any outstanding balances at that time compared with the actual amount paid on the payment plan.

Meaning, the payment plan is more like a pay-as-you-go approach that provides financial predictability to the clients for the overall cost of litigation with no hidden surprises or hidden fees. One bill, one amount: one and done. This billing format is more in line with consumer expectations of how consumers finance the purchase of a large-ticket items like buying a house. 

For legal services, the Dickson Davis Law Firm does a flat fee billing for certain items, and hourly billing on certain things. However, when proposing a flat fee billing contract, the Dickson Davis Law Firm will forecast and budget the costs of litigation and legal services into a flat fee overall depending on the nature and complexity of your case as well as the current disposition of the parties' relations (i.e., reasonable and amenable, or hotly disputed).

To help offset some of the wildcard factors in litigation generally, the Dickson Davis Law Firm flat fee billing model for non-personal injury cases is actually a hybrid of flat fee billing and contingency fee billing in a limited scope and manner. The contingency fee in this hybrid model of billing is based on the outcome of the client's net recovery amount after the costs of litigation and the client's actual damages. Hence, with this limited contingency fee, which is separate to the flat fee for legal services, the Dickson Davis Law Firm  only receives a percentage of the net amount that the client actually recovers as a surplus above and beyond the client's actual out-of-pocket expenses related to the case and litigation of the case.

The issue is whether the value of your case warrants the cost of litigation. You may still very well proceed with your case, but, if the likelihood of the recovery will more than likely only cover the cost of litigation leaving you with very little meaningful recovery, then the discussion between the attorney and the client is whether to pursue your case at all.

No law firm or attorney may guarantee the outcome of any case nor promise you a certain dollar figure amount as your reward under the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. The decision to proceed with a law suit, unfortunately, is a financial decision based on the client weighing the risks of litigation. 

Talk with the Dickson Davis Law Firm to explore your options after a thorough consultation. We are here to help you make a meaningful decision regarding your situation. 

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