Our approach to fees
Hollystone will work with you, before our engagement begins, to design a fee structure that incentivizes results, not hours.
We want to align our interests with yours, and we want you to compensate us for accomplishing your objectives, not punching the clock on your file. The following examples of non-hourly agreements are a starting point for conversation — we look forward to mixing, matching, and adjusting whatever we can to create an arrangement that is fair to both of us.
Contingent or Success-Based Fee
This means paying us only if we achieve your objective; the fee is typically calculated as a percentage of money obtained for the client. We like it in commercial or intellectual property cases, where the potential recovery is often quantifiable and the inputs to decision-making and settlement tend to be rational. This fee aligns the client's interest with ours (both are motivated to make a recovery) and relieves the client of paying us until a successful outcome is achieved. Because it is based on ultimate results, this arrangement requires clear understanding and agreement ahead of time.
Fixed or Flat-Fee
This means paying us for a specific service at a fixed or flat rate. Examples include a single, fixed monthly fee to defend or prosecute a lawsuit, regardless of how much time we must put in. We like this arrangement on the defense side of commercial or intellectual property cases for many of the same reasons we like contingent or success-based fees on the plaintiff side: we can focus our energy on winning your case, not tracking time, and you can devote your time to monitoring our progress and effectiveness, not questioning our bills or wondering whether we could be more efficient.
This is a modified hourly rate structure, in which we charge hourly rates but each monthly bill is subject to a minimum "floor" and a maximum "ceiling" that are agreed in advance. During slow months on a case, this incentivizes us to keep tabs and attend to matters without tracking time in six-minute intervals; during the busiest times it provides the client assurance that our fees will never be a surprise.
In this modified fixed-fee structure, we charge for a portion of the matter on a fixed or flat-fee basis, and we charge for a portion at an hourly rate. This is well-suited to matters where parts of the engagement (and therefore how much work will required) cannot easily be defined. As with other alternative fees, it requires clear agreement in advance as to what the fixed fee does and does not include.
Fixed-Fee Plus Hourly
This hybrid fixed-fee arrangement includes a flat monthly fee, with success-based bonuses. It works best when we have a good understanding of the services required and the client is willing to share risk with us. It is particularly good at aligning our interests with our clients' interests in litigation defense, where the client pays a fixed fee per month and a success-based bonus only if we successfully dismiss the case or settle it for below a certain amount of money.
This is a blend of hourly and contingent fees. A portion of our fee is paid hourly (sometimes at a reduced rate), and a portion is a percentage of the money recovered on the client's behalf. By combining hourly billing and a contingency factor we and the client are sharing risks, which aligns our primary incentives (to obtain a monetary recovery for the client).