The Washington Rules of Professional Conduct require attorneys to charge reasonable fees based on, among other things: (1) the time the case requires; (2) the fee customarily charged for that service locally; and (3) the lawyer’s experience, reputation, and ability.


An attorney who has practiced for several years is aware of the cost and time required to run a law office. This attorney can combine the overhead costs of running a law office (say $80,000) with the amount he or she is paid (say $100,000). The attorney then divides this amount by the number of hours he or she will bill to clients in a year (say 1,500). So $80,000 plus $100,000 is $180,000, which is divided by the 1,500 hours billed in the year. So the attorney must charge $120 per hour.


The first time an attorney handles a specific legal task, the work may take ten times longer than when he or she does the task a second time. In that instance charging a flat fee makes sense to avoid billing the client for time spent getting familiar with the legal issue. The second time an attorney handles the task he or she will be much faster and may charge an hourly rate. If he or she repeatedly handles the task then the attorney will be able to do the work efficiently and with the greatest quality. The gains in experience and ability achieved through repetition will allow the attorney to charge a larger fee.


So in conclusion my charges are based on the time that is required for me to do the work, and the complexity of the work. Generally, my hourly rate is $200 on matters where I am experienced. If your legal needs are similar to those of many of my clients, I expect that my charges will not be based upon my time expended, but instead will be a fixed fee depending on the work produced. I anticipate that after an initial meeting I will be able to analyze your situation and recommend the work to be done for you, and the basis for determining the charges. It is important to me that you are satisfied with the cost of my service.