Alternative Billing Law Firm
Are you looking for a Alternative Billing Law Firm? ClearWay Law was created to innovate the legal industry. We saw that law firms are way behind other industries that have embraced innovation.
Uber has recently changed the taxi industry.
Airbnb has changed the hotel industry.
ClearWay Law is building the infrastructure of the future of law firms.
The future of law is biological rather than mechanical. We plan to grow organically into different areas of law and different cities. Also, we will continue to research emerging areas of technology (artificial intelligence and crypto currency). We will implement these technologies once we know they are safe.
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Our Toronto law firm recently went paperless, with everything being in the cloud. This helps the environment and creates savings that can be passed on to clients.
The two largest issues with law firms today are:
- The way that law firms charge clients
- Poor communication between lawyers and clients
Alternative billing structure is the best way to deal with the issue of how law firms charge clients. Alternative billing rewards results, not the number of hours the lawyers and paralegals spend on a case. Anything that increases efficiency is a good thing for the legal industry.
The legal industry is over 1000 years old, and it is time for a change.
My family law firm decided to take upon our self the uphill battle of creating an innovative law firm. It’s not easy to do. I looked at other Canadian law firm’s websites to see if there were any other law firms that were being innovative. I only found two.
Axess Law, which opens law firms inside Walmart and Loblaw.
Diamond and Diamond which has very innovative marketing and advertising and has expanded across Canada recently.
Our alternative billing law firm is still working on a solution to address the issues around lack of communication between lawyers and clients. Our law firm is still working on the second issue of communication between lawyers and clients.
Lawyers often feel that clients are too demanding. The lawyers feel that clients want the lawyer to rewrite the law and win no matter what.
Clients often feel that lawyers are too slow to move on their files.
Our law firm believes that there would have to be a law firm app designed. New clients at the law firm would download it when they retained the family lawyer. If any app companies are reading this article, please feel free to reach out to me to discuss.
The two most common forms of alternative billing in law firms are contingency fees and flat fee billing.
Contingency agreements are great for clients that “cannot afford justice.” If a homeless person gets hit by a car, there is no chance that they can afford a $5000 retainer and a $350/hour bill. So what should they do?
Most personal injury law firms offer contingency fees which are most commonly advertised as “no win, no fee.” As such, no retainer is required if the client does not cancel the contingency agreement.
Most contingency agreements say that if the lawyer leaves the case, the client only needs to pay disbursements. If the client leaves the case, the client must pay the hourly rate retroactively.
Even for those that can afford to pay a lawyer’s retainer, they may be concerned about the risk of losing the trial after investing tens of thousands into litigation. To add to the risk, if they lose they may have to pay the other parties’ costs.
Read more: Reducing Costs in Family Law
Under a contingency agreement, the client only pays his lawyer a percentage of the award of the settlement or judgement. The percentage the lawyer receives is often between 20-33%. The managing partner often determines the percentage depending on how much they believe the settlement or judgement is worth. Also risk of no settlement or judgement is often considered.
The percentage can be higher than 33% if both the client and the courts agree. This is extremely rare.
Contingent fee agreements in family law are not permitted in Ontario. In British Columbia, the family lawyer must apply to the courts for approval to use a contingency fee in family law.
Continency agreements relating to child custody or other child matters are void anywhere in Canada.
Contingency fees are often used in personal injury law. It is rare that is used in family law. I believe the reason it is not often used in family law is that clients hate when you take a percentage of their assets, especially their family home. This leads to potential disputes between the family law firm and the client.
The courts have the power to overturn contingency agreements and to order hourly billing to be billed instead.
Clients are often very nervous about litigation that may go on for years. Some lawyers estimate that a trial in family court can easily cost you $150,000. These kids of cases only occur when the family has a lot of assets worth fighting over.
Even if your family law trial only goes on for three days, it may put you back $60,000.
Our alternative billing law firm decided to take a big risk and offer a flat fee of $125,000 for long trials. This takes out the risk of your trial costing you $150,000+. We do this because we want to increase the amount of family law people that are represented by family lawyers, instead of doing it themselves.
Our alternative billing law firm even charges a flat fee of 2.5% for disbursements, which some law firms call “communication fees.” This covers faxes, copies, long distance phone calls, and supplies. I have seen some law firms that charge 3% for disbursements. Most law firms charge for each fax or phone call made. This can encourage wastefulness at the law firm, which hurts the environment and the client’s wallet.