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Law Office of William J. Dyer

Attorney-at-Law ♦ Counselor ♦ Trial Advocate

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Fee negotiations

Within the range of what's permitted by the Canons of Ethics and Rule 1.04, I'm willing to at least discuss almost any fee terms and conditions. Life, after all, is a negotiation.

I almost always insist that my client and I document our fee agreement, along with the other terms of my employment, in a written engagement letter. (The rare exceptions are for long-standing clients whom I've regularly represented on multiple hourly rate matters.)
 
I try to deal fairly with my clients on fees both because that's the right thing to do and because it's in my own long-term interests.
 
Whether you're dealing with me or any other lawyer, however, remember this: 

A lawyer whom you haven't yet hired must always be his own advocate with respect to the prospective fee arrangement between you and that lawyer. As a businessman, his interest has to be in getting himself paid — and most lawyers (including me) would rather be well paid than poorly paid. Your interests at that stage are certainly different from his, and in fact, depending on the arrangement under discussion, your interests may be exactly the opposite of his. Hopefully you can find an economic arrangement that will be fair to you both. But you must not rely on your prospective lawyer to put his own interests behind yours during the fee negotiation process.