What Does It Cost?
My compensation system is admittedly unusual. In short, I bill at $375 per hour
but do not require payment at this level. I request this compensation. Why do I
request a fee and then allow clients to select their own? Because I want my
clients to offer payment to the extent they are comfortable. My preference is
that my relationship with clients be founded in respect and appreciation.
What do clients end up contributing under this system? Just more than half of
my clients offer the rate I request. Others might contribute 90% or 75% of my
request, or even on occasion, nothing. At times, clients provide in excess of my
request. In all, people offer at a level of their choice ($365 per hour, $350 per
hour, $310 per hour, etc). When clients pay at my full rate ordinarily they do so
because they believe my services -- in saving them grief, time and money -- in
deepening their understanding of their own and another's needs -- significantly
enhance the quality of their lives. They either wish to contribute to me, as I
have contributed to them, or wish to enable me to contribute to others in a
similar fashion. My hope is that they do so voluntarily, even happily.
Given the impersonal and often-harsh nature of the legal system, most clients
find this economic arrangement refreshing. To them it communicates respect
and offers choice. Some however find this system bizarre and confusing. They
simply do not know what to offer. Clients have sometimes said, exasperated,
"Please tell me what to pay." I must admit, I understand the concern, and if I
were on the opposite side of this payment system I might be similarly confused.
It is also the case that people often perceive greater value when a product or
service costs more. As is clear in luxury branding, charge a higher price, make
no exceptions, and customers can actually be happier. And of course, all else
being equal, I would prefer to make more money, not less. For these reasons,
given that my schedule is normally full, colleagues and friends have repeatedly
recommend that I fix my fees, likely at a level above $375.
Nonetheless,this flexible rate system has been my standard for nearly a
decade. In exit interviews clients consistently express their appreciation for
having had choice. And I have made a good living at the same time. It is my
hope that providing clients choice offers them respect and not angst. I am
happy to work in this way, and will provide further guidance if clients request.
Please read the fine print on my fee structure for caveats and particulars.
San Francisco and Oakland
|Resolving Conflict through Understanding
Litigation is normally 5x to
20x the cost of Mediation.
This is because in
Litigation, each client
retains his/her own
attorney, who, instead of
resolution, typically first
uses all legal means
available to intimidate the