Legal communities all over the world have been discussing alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) with some firms being more vocal and willing to implement them than others. The provisions had certainly seen more acceptance in recent days than they did when they first became a topic for discussion.

Clients now inquire about transparency, certainty, and predictability, aspects which are essential in these arrangements. For a long time, car accident lawyers in Townsville only billed per hour. Now, with this arrangement, the client can offer compensation based on other structures besides time.

The provision is about providing value to the client who pays an appropriate fee for that value. Consequently, both the law firm and the client find the costs reasonable. Note that AFAs are not necessarily about charging less for time, but offering the client higher value.

The following types are the most commonly used:

Flat or fixed fees

This method of alternative payments is the simplest. You agree with the lawyer before they discharge service and pay that flat rate after they are done. The fee is negotiable for the full service they are offering or for the part that you require.

Contract drafting would be an excellent example in this case, as some contracts rely on template per time charges, so it will not matter how long the lawyer takes to complete the task. Instead, they can charge a flat fee.

Success or contingent fee

In this case, the lawyer bills you per the results they achieve. For this fee, there must be a prior and explicit agreement to what outcomes are required.

The agreement must also state what will be exempted from the payment. A success fee is commonly used in personal injury cases based on the recovery a lawyer can get.

Task-based billing and percentage fee

lawyer writing on notebook

Invoice per task identifies components of the transactions that inform the price. To use this arrangement, one may need a proper understanding of transactional and litigation matters.

Percentage fee, on the other hand, is based on the amount involved in the case at hand. This amount is often predetermined so that one pays only a set percentage. The amount may also be based on bond issues and could be graduated or consistent.

Retrospective fee

This fee is based on value and differs from other AFAs because one does not know the exact amount before the matter is concluded. The agreement for this fee will set factors that the lawyer and the client will consider as they set the final charge. Sometimes the deal will also list a maximum and a minimum fee.

Statutory Fees

Sometimes, the amount you pay for legal services will be specified by the law or scheduled for different prepaid service plans. The amount may even be specified by the purchasers of the service per volume. In other cases, the fees are imposed by governments, as in the case of social security cases and insurance subrogation.

For the law firm, AFAs provide an increase in profits but will only do so if they are clear. For the client, AFAs guarantee quality. They force the law firm to prioritize client satisfaction and forming relationships as opposed to profits. They also reduce misunderstandings over legal costs and fees.

Scroll to Top