Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Solo attorneys, how much do you charge for...

Basic will; trust Uncontested divorce separation agree nycop03/02/19
Hmm my firm does the whole marriage based AOS (I-130, I-485, isthisit03/02/19
Uncontested divorce- Are you talking about 2 people showing thirdtierlaw03/02/19
Flat fee divorces is definitely playing with fire. My firm c isthisit03/02/19
That's why my representation agreement for a flat fee, simpl cranky03/04/19
But where do you draw the line? Let's say the claim to have thirdtierlaw03/04/19
I have never heard of flat fees in divorces around here. I a guyingorillasuit03/04/19
I definitely prefer flat fees to the extent possible. My dingbat03/02/19
Simple will $350. Uncontested divorce: 950 but that inclu cranky03/04/19
Get out of family law. It’s not worth your time. jmoney03/04/19
It is absolutely worth your time. I have friends running mul guyingorillasuit03/04/19
nycop (Mar 2, 2019 - 7:58 am)

Basic will; trust

Uncontested divorce

separation agreement w/ and w/o children

Prenuptial agreement

Immigration: greencard petitions through marriage (I-130, 1-485, advance parole)

Employer sponsored work visa (EB3 professionals--e.g. registered nurses)

Thanks!

Reply
isthisit (Mar 2, 2019 - 9:14 am)

Hmm my firm does the whole marriage based AOS (I-130, I-485, I-765, and I-131) for about $4,500. But it'll go up to accommodate an asshole tax.

As a solo, I'd probably charge about $2,500 to $3,000.

Reply
thirdtierlaw (Mar 2, 2019 - 11:12 am)

Uncontested divorce- Are you talking about 2 people showing up with an agreement already in hand where there wont be any statutory required hearings? $300-500

If you're talking about a guy coming saying, "hey we want an uncontested divorce, we just need to figure a few final things out." (assuming a middle class couple) Then they're going on a retainer, maybe itll come out to around $500 or everything blows up and after 2 rounds of mediations it'll cost them $3000, for the uncontested divorce.

The same with separation agreements and prenups.

Flat-fee family law representation is a dangerous game. Things can be going great, seems like it'll be as simple as just writing up a basic prop settlement, then at the 11th hour, a party learns the other party just started dating again, next thing you know he now wants to fight over the $30 tea set they got as a wedding gift a decade ago.

Prenups can also become deceptively pricey. Check your local case law, but my jurisdiction hates them, and routinely chooses to ignore them, unless both parties were represented by competent counsel and were not pressured in anyway to signing one. So you may find yourself arguing with an obnoxious opposing counsel who wants to fight over every provision. (which is actually beneficial to your client when trying to get a court to uphold a prenup, but pretty obnoxious if you agreed to do it for $400.)

Reply
isthisit (Mar 2, 2019 - 12:11 pm)

Flat fee divorces is definitely playing with fire. My firm closed its family law practice because we kept getting took on uncontested divorces that became contested once the sit-downs began. You're stuck in a flat fee and when it's hourly the client is hard pressed to pay up.

Reply
cranky (Mar 4, 2019 - 3:56 pm)

That's why my representation agreement for a flat fee, simple, uncontested divorce makes it clear that the flat fee is only covering getting an uncontested divorce. If the defendant makes a counterclaim, and it becomes a messy contested divorce, then the client must provide a retainer deposit to be billed by the hour. Flat fee only works if you put limits like that, or a time limit (e.g. in the case of doing a sep agreement or prenup) so that person doesn't wind up draining your time forever.

Reply
thirdtierlaw (Mar 4, 2019 - 7:31 pm)

But where do you draw the line? Let's say the claim to have agreement but then your client says she wants to renegotiate the house? Do you tell your client to pony up a retainer, even if it is still pre-filing? What if it is opposing counseling coming in and wanting to change all the wording? It's still heading towards an uncontested divorce.

It is why I'm almost strictly on a retainer model in family court, unless it is a limited appearance for a single hearing type situation.

Reply
guyingorillasuit (Mar 4, 2019 - 11:29 pm)

I have never heard of flat fees in divorces around here. I am sure some people do them, but I am pretty certain they have no idea what they're doing. In other states, the rules may be different, and it might make more sense. I would never give even remote consideration to this type of deal. Even with a limited-scope single-time appearance, fees can vary by a factor of 3 easily, and by a factor of 6 or 7 in rare cases. Imagine having to appear in court 8 different times because the other party in your case is ill and in the hospital, and then preparing and serving orders after each such appearance. Imagine having to file updated declarations every time a few months go by in your sick-OP case. We generally do limited scope appearances with the promise that we'll appear on any continuance of same.

I do take "easy" prenups on a flat fee of $3,500, with any negotiations outside of normal typo correction charged at my hourly rate. Most people here do not, and the deal I offer is considered very inexpensive.

Reply
dingbat (Mar 2, 2019 - 12:02 pm)

I definitely prefer flat fees to the extent possible.

My list price for a will is $1500.

For estate planning involving Trusts, I charge $3000-$3500 per section/portion (revocable, irrevocable, cabin trust, ilit, structured buyouts, succession planning, etc.). Most of my clients end up with two or three sections/portions.

Business services are often negotiated - I estimate how much time I think it'll take, and propose a flat fee accordingly.

Reply
cranky (Mar 4, 2019 - 9:08 am)

Simple will $350.

Uncontested divorce: 950 but that includes the court filing fees and cost of service on the defendant.

Prenup: usually a flat fee of $900 but if it seems complicated, I would ask for a retainer deposit and bill by the hour. I don't practice immigration. I'm in a lower to average cost of living area.

Reply
jmoney (Mar 4, 2019 - 10:04 pm)

Get out of family law. It’s not worth your time.

Reply
guyingorillasuit (Mar 4, 2019 - 11:05 pm)

It is absolutely worth your time. I have friends running multi-million dollar firms doing family law only. What isn't worth your time is getting paid $350 or $900.

Reply
Post a message in this thread