Advice When Using an Hourly Legal Representation Template
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If you are a licensed attorney and in need of an hourly representation contract to be used with clients, we have the perfect template available for you. Our hourly legal representation template can be custom-tailored to fit the needs of your law practice.
Important Considerations for Your Hourly Legal Representation Contract
Below We’ll Cover:
- Important Details to Include in Your Hourly Legal Representation Contract
- Clauses to Consider Adding
- Mistakes to Avoid
- Links to Additional Resources
- How to Get Your Contract Signed
Important Details to Include in Your Hourly Legal Contract
As an attorney, you know the importance of a written agreement. That importance extends to the agreement between you and your clients and begins with a well-drafted contract outlining the terms of your hourly legal representation.
When creating your hourly legal representation contract, be sure to include the following details:
- Identification of the parties
- A detailed description of the type and scope of legal services to be performed
- Fees and billing
- Attorney and client responsibilities
- Legal provisions
Clauses to Consider Adding
Along with the standard provisions that should be in every hourly legal representation contract, you may also need to add additional clauses to ensure that the agreement between you and your client is clear, such as:
- Incremental Billing. Many attorneys bill using incremental billing. Typically, this means that the time they spend on a client’s matter is billed in 1/10th of an hour (six-minute) increments. If you utilize incremental billing, include a clause that makes that clear to the client.
- Settlement Funds Clause. If your representation is likely to lead to a settlement that is required to go through your client trust account, add a clause explaining the process for disbursement of those funds as well as your obligation to provide a settlement statement to the client.
- Contract Deadline. Consider adding a contract acceptance deadline to ensure that the terms of your representation (including your hourly rate) are only available for a reasonable time period. You can use Nitro Sign to get any of your contracts or important documents signed quickly and easily!
Mistakes to Avoid
Creating a written contract is important for anyone entering into an agreement. For an attorney contracting to provide legal representation, a properly drafted contract is essential to avoid confusion or conflict over the terms of representation that could lead to disciplinary complaints or litigation. Toward that end, avoid making common mistakes when creating your customized hourly legal representation contract, such as:
- An overly broad scope of representation. Be sure that the details regarding your legal representation are clear and concise. Avoid vague words or phrases that could obligate you to represent the client beyond the intended scope. For example, if you do not handle appeals, be sure to make it clear that your representation does not extend beyond settlement or trial court verdicts.
- Not explaining variable hourly billing rates. Many attorneys utilize the services of junior associates or paralegals as well as outside professionals such as accounts or experts. Be sure to include language indicating how the client will be billed if someone other than you performs work on the client’s legal matter.
- Failing to allow for retainer replenishment. Make it clear that the initial retainer must be replenished if it runs out. Include details indicating when and how the retainer is to be replenished if it becomes necessary to do so.
- Allowing verbal modifications. The nature of legal representation often means that the scope of an attorney’s representation changes as the legal issue evolves. It can be tempting to modify the scope or type of representation verbally without a corresponding change to the initial contract; however, that can lead to costly and time-consuming disputes.
Links to Additional Resources
- Contract Attorney Hourly Rate: Everything You Need to Know
- 6 Tips for Building a Better Retainer Agreement
- 10 Steps to Create a Simple and Effective Client Contract
How to Get Your Contract Signed
Proper execution of any contract is crucial to ensuring that the terms agreed upon in the contract will hold up in court should a dispute arise. In today’s digital world, the ability to have your contract signed electronically is imperative. Once you have customized your hourly legal representation contract to reflect the agreement reached between you and your client, sending it to your client for a signature is easy and quick with Nitro. Start your Nitro free trial today.