Fixed Fees and Limited Scope Representation can keep legal fees down.
Many law firms have created a very profitable business model capable of handling a large volume of cases. The critical component of this new business model is the billable hour fee arrangement.
The billable hour fee arrangement is now the gold standard for much of the legal industry, including family law fee arrangements. However, a billable hour fee arrangement often is not appropriate for many kinds of cases.
Fixed Fee agreements avoid this trap of endless billable hours in favor of certainty. Fees are negotiated up front and are paid one time for specific scope of legal work to be completed by the law firm.
Limited scope representation acknowledges that legal representation for an entire case may be unnecessary. Many clients are fully capable of handling uncontestedmatters once they get to court. They just need the underlying paperwork and instructions as to what to do when their case is called. We have learned that 70% of litigants in circuit court in South Carolina are unrepresented. Someone is going to step up and help these folks if lawyers will not.
Once an attorney has fulfilled the terms of their fixed fee and limited scope agreement, they are “disengaged” and are no longer obligated to take on further legal work on behalf of the client.
South Carolina trial dockets are, by some accounts, backed up for several years. Our elected officials seem disinterested to help and, when you think about it, they may be right. As upwards of 90% of all litigated matters settle out of court, smart consumers and lawyers should take advantage of this situation.
To quote Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: “The courts of this country should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried.“