There comes a point in each initial consultation with a new client, that the discussion must inevitably turn to the question of what is this going to cost. Kanthaka Law believes that legal services should be made affordable and accessible; unfortunately, we do have that nasty requirement of needing to keep the lights on. This is a brief primer on the different forms of fees and some of the general principles that we use in governing how a fee agreement is structured.
Kanthaka Law uses written fee agreements for all matters. Until you have signed a written fee agreement with Kanthaka Law, we do not represent you – though pre-agreement discussions are still subject to the attorney-client privilege. In some cases, like in the case of contingent fees or for cases before certain governmental agencies, all lawyers are required to have a written fee agreement with their client. We believe it’s best to have a written fee agreement for all matters.
Unlike some firms that may push you to sign a fee agreement, we generally never require you to sign a fee agreement during our initial consultation. We will send you a fee agreement through e-mail so you can review it leisurely and ask us any questions before you sign. (In some exigent circumstances, we may require a fee agreement to be in place immediately.)
It is critically important to contact the Firm early if you think you are going to have difficulty meeting your financial obligations to the Kanthaka Law. The earlier in the matter you come to us with concerns, the more likely we will be able to find a solution that fits into your budget. Never be embarrassed to tell us that you have difficulty paying your fees. We will try to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.
So what kind of retainers and fee agreements are there? For most non-commercial clients, our fees fall into three major categories: hourly fees, flat-fees, and contingent fees. There are also a number of hybrid relationships, which are specific to particular situations.