Why do some attorneys handle criminal matters on a flat fee and others on an hourly basis?
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney, James Johnson, discusses the various pricing structures from different attorneys.
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Well, I think it’s part of a business model. Certainly, in criminal more than civil, you’re usually dealing with people that don’t have a lot of resources and if they do, they’ve got other commitments as well. So you want to make sure that you have your fee and that that content to create a crack between the attorney and the client if payment for services becomes an issue so you don’t want that. You want to be able to get the retainer up front but then, likewise, is are you getting a fair deal and we strive for client satisfaction. And so when they know that they’re going to be charged only for the time that the attorney spends on the case it’s just more fair. I think others do the flat fee, they consider the worst-case scenario, every case is going to go to trial. But in a criminal matter, less than two percent go to trial and yet they’re regularly criminal defendants because they’re usually between a rock and a hard place at that time and they don’t have a lot of choices. They think I’ve got to pay this but an hourly basis I think is most fair in the end and so that’s why I base it more on the hours spend although we do deduct it from a retainer we ask for