One question that comes up a lot for attorneys is: What to put in the client fee agreement?
I’ve worked hard to make mine simple, not intimidating, and in plain English. I know it doesn’t cover every imaginable possibility, but it’s worked great so far in my practice. It has evolved a bit over time, and I hope to continue improving it.
Here’s what I use:
This is our agreement that outlines the work I will do for you, the costs involved, and our relationship together. In order to hire me as your attorney, you need to complete two steps as soon as possible, but no later than December 8th:
A. Read and sign this Client Plan. Follow the directions in your web browser to easily e-sign.
B. Pay your fee deposit. After you sign this Client Plan, I will email an invoice to you. You can pay it online with a credit card or mail a check to my office (as long as we receive payment on time).
Project. You are hiring me to represent you in the following case: reckless driving charge in Spotsylvania on December 15, 2010.
Fees. I will handle this case for a flat fee of $xxxx. You must deposit the fee with me before I begin work for you, no later than December 8, 2010. If the court requires you to pay any money, that is separate from this legal fee.
Appeal. Your Client Plan only includes representing you for the original trial listed above.
Termination. If at any time you become dissatisfied with my work, please tell me so we can resolve the situation. You may terminate my representation at any time. In the event of termination, you will be responsible for paying any fees earned and expenses incurred. I may terminate this agreement only when required or permitted by laws and regulations. Failure to pay fees or expenses or make deposits when due will be cause for such termination.
Outcome. I will use my best effort in representing you in this matter, but you acknowledge that I cannot guarantee the final outcome.
–e-signatures go here–
That’s it. The entire agreement (including signatures) is less than a page. For Virginia clients, there is a second page that authorizes me to get their driving record. It’s a whole sentence long!
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