My compensation system is admittedly unusual. In short, I ask for $450 per hour but do not require payment at this level. I request this compensation. Clients, however, are free to offer me a different hourly rate. In our first session, we have a discussion about my billing system and, in part based on their offer and in part based on an evaluation of their finances, we set a rate together.
What do clients end up contributing under this system? Just more than half pay at the rate I request. Others contribute $420 per hour, $400 per hour, etc. While it is unusual for me to accept less than $350 per hour, at times I do, even occasionally providing my services gratis. Clients are free to offer that which works for them.
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. Clients have sometimes said, exasperated, “Just tell me what to pay.” I must admit, I understand the concern, and if I were on the opposite side of this arrangement I might be similarly confused.
Nonetheless, this rate system has been my standard for nearly a decade. In exit interviews most clients express their appreciation for having had a choice. In all, by being flexible, I can make a good living and help those who do not have the financial means to pay at the top of the scale. It is my hope that this system offers my clients respect (at the cost of a occasional angst).
Please read the fine print on my fee structure for caveats and particulars.