About Our Fees
We don’t want to waste your time or money. Legal services aren’t cheap. And after all, you’re in business to make a profit, and so are we. But that doesn’t mean our charges should be out of touch or beyond the market. At HFS&L, we offer various fee structures, all designed to give our clients comfortable choices and budget predictability.
The On-Call Counsel ProgramTM
HFS&L believes that every successful business—regardless of size—needs access to legal help. But typically, small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have the same access as large organizations. It’s too expensive. Lawyers pay less attention. As result, they don’t seek legal help until an emergency happens, which is the most expensive legal help there is.
HFS&L fills this need—and offers clients equal footing with bigger players—by offering an innovative, affordable annual retainer program. Under this program, we become outsource, "in-house" counsel for participating clients. We provide on-call, affordable access to legal help. We answer legal questions without charging for every call or communication.
This means small medium-sized businesses can now act proactively to avoid problems, instead of reactively fighting to dig out from under them.
We discuss the parameters and details of each program with each participating client and work out an arrangement tailored to that client’s specific needs and budget.
Hourly fees are the bread-and-butter of most law firms, and HFS&L is no different. But our hourly fees are inherently lower than other top firms that offer comparable services.
In fact, the hourly rates for our partners are appreciably lower—20% to 30% lower—than the current national standards for “reasonable" attorney’s fees.* Why is that? We operate lean. We know how it much it costs to run our shop.
And when we charge by the hour, we give our clients budget comfort by spelling out a scope of work in our engagement letter, and estimating the expected fees.
We’re happy to discuss fixed fees for specific projects—such as residential real estate transaction or preparing a contract template for a business.
Our engagement letter will spell out the fee, and what it does and doesn’t cover. For example, the fee for a commercial lease might be based on only two rounds of negotiations with the other side.
We’ll even consider fixed fee elements for litigation. Almost unheard of in the legal business, because litigation is so expensive and unpredictable. We’ll work with you to craft fixed fees for specified phases of litigation, such as preparing a complaint or conducting discovery. That way, we can at least whittle down your uncertainty.
We request reasonable retainers for new clients. We do this because we want our clients to have skin in the game up front, and because we don’t want to work for free, borrow money to pay our overhead, or have to chase down large receivables.
This is crucial to having affordable fees: when law firms are owed a lot of money, they have to spend resources to collect it, or pay interest on loans to pay their overhead. Inevitably, they raise their rates to cover this waste.
If we incur out-of-pocket costs in representing a client (such as filing fees or overnight courier fees), we bill to get reimbursed. With no mark ups.
Most firms also charge clients to make copies or send faxes. And some law firms make a profit on these charges—but we don’t.
Here’s our policy: We encourage the paperless practice of law and minimize making hard copies. If we do need to make copies, we bill at our cost, currently calculated at $.20 per page.
Some law firms spread costs, like for copying, among all clients. We don’t, because it’s not fair to have clients who don’t need something to subsidize those who do.
*(Source: Laffey Matrix, 2014-2015)