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430 Oak Grove Rd, Suite 5
PO Box 170818
Spartanburg, SC  29301
864-431-3455

gfrazier@frazier-law.com

  

Initial phone consultation is free of charge. Call for an appointment: 864-431-3455

Copyright © 2006-2015 Gary M. Frazier

  Flat Fee vs. the Billable Hour

Typically, when you hire a lawyer you pay a certain amount up front (called a retainer) and the lawyer bills you hourly for all the work he or she (and the staff) does on your case.  Your hourly charges are billed against that retainer and when that is used up, you give the lawyer more money. Until the conclusion of your case, you keep paying, and the lawyer keeps billing you by the hour, usually in 6 minute increments for everything he or she does on your case--and I literally mean everything. Spend 10 minutes on the phone talking with your lawyer about a question you have and you'll see that call on the next month's billing statement: "Phone consult with client: 0.2 hrs." And depending on what your lawyer's hourly rate is, that one phone call can cost you anywhere from $30 to $100 or more. With flat fee billing, you've already paid for that phone call--and every phone call--up front.

Paying a lawyer by the hour to handle your case makes budgeting for your legal fees difficult. Hourly billing is open-ended, and puts you, the client, in the position of not knowing how much your divorce or other Family Court matter is going to cost until your case settles or at the conclusion of the trial when the judge issues the final decree. With flat fee billing, you know before your case even starts how much you're going to have to pay your lawyer. The only variables are costs and expenses, and I always work with clients to keep those as low as possible.

A flat fee gives you the certainty of knowing what the total expense for legal fees will be. You don't have to worry about monthly statements that list every letter, fax, phone call, and e-mail and what you had to pay for each one based on the time that was spent doing them. And since very few matters in Family Court are decided quickly, you won't go for months worrying about how much your legal fees will ultimately be and how you're going to pay for them. With a flat fee you know from the start and can budget accordingly.

Here is my fee structure as outlined in the contract signed by my clients:

The following fees are due when the contract is signed:

1. Retainer Fee: This fee covers my agreement to handle the case, which may preclude me from taking on other representation and may conflict me from future representation. It further covers my responsibility for keeping and storing the clientís case file for 6 years after representation ends. This fee is due and is considered earned upon the execution of the contract and is non-refundable. Representation does not begin until this fee is paid.

2. Pleadings Fee: This fee will cover the drafting and filing of the summons, complaint, motion for temporary relief (if necessary), or the answer and counterclaim. It does not include the filing fee(s).

3. Temporary Motion Fee: This fee will cover all legal services rendered in preparing for and attending the first temporary (or emergency) hearing. This fee includes, but is not limited to, client interviews, the preparation of all affidavits, exhibits, and clientís financial declaration.

4. Settlement Fee: This fee will cover the remaining legal services rendered in this case up to and including a settlement reached before a pre-trail hearing is requested by either party. It includes, but is not limited to, the negotiation and drafting of a formal settlement agreement, and the attendance at a pre-trial or final hearing for the purposes of presenting the agreement to the Court for approval.

Additional Fees: The following fees are for my services that may be necessary over the course of the case.

5. Discovery Fee: This fee is due and payable immediately upon invoicing if formal discovery is initiated by either party,

6. Mediation Fee: This fee is due and payable immediately upon invoicing if mediation is necessary. This fee covers my preparation for and attendance at the mediation session. It does not include the mediatorís fee.

7. Trial Fee: This fee is due and payable immediately upon invoicing if no settlement is reached before or at the first pre-trial hearing (or after mediation). 

8. Hearing Fee: This fee is due and payable immediately upon invoicing iff additional motion hearings or mediation sessions are required.

9. Rule to Show Cause: This fee is due and payable immediately upon invoicing if If I am required to defend a Rule to Show Cause against my client or  prosecute a Rule to Show Cause on behalf of my client.


The information and material contained in this website are for general informational purposes only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be used or relied on as such.  Any liability that might arise from any use or reliance on the content of this website is expressly disclaimed.  Your use of such content does not create an attorney-client relationship; only a signed representation agreement can do that.  The content of any communication you send to us via the internet or through e-mail may not be considered confidential.  Gary M. Frazier is licensed to practice law in the state of South Carolina only.