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“Flat fees tend to encourage clients to demand more than they’re paying for…”

The quote comes from a Missouri private practitioner speaking in the Report of the Missouri Bar Alternative Billing Methods Committee, Sept. 15, 2003 at 19. It probably reflects a common fear among law firm lawyers, one which they may not balance against their ability to perform the services quickly and effectively yet still earn the same fee.

One way to mitigate this fear of being taken advantage of is to create collars (See my post of Dec. 7, 2005 on this technique.), another way is to state assumptions clearly (See my post of Oct. 31, 2005 on this point.), a third is to build performance milestones, and another is to build a level of mutual, professional fairness that corrects for over-reaching or drastically unexpected conditions.