As a matter of professional responsibility, Schell Bray believes it important that our billing practices be fully understood, and we therefore welcome questions concerning our fee arrangement at the outset of each new client relationship. Our goal in each case is to charge for our services in a manner that is fair to our client and to our firm.
We seek to provide our legal services in a cost-effective manner and, to that end, we try to use an appropriate combination of junior and more senior attorneys and legal assistants on each of our engagements. Our fees are based primarily upon the amount of time devoted to a particular matter. For that purpose, we maintain hourly rates as guidelines that we use in establishing our fees.
While the amount of time expended is often the most important element of our charge for services, we do not establish our fees strictly on an hourly rate basis. We believe it appropriate that each bill be individually considered and that the ultimate charge reflect factors in addition to the time expended. These factors may include the results obtained, our efficiency in delivering services, the novelty and difficulty of the issues involved, the time limitations imposed by the client and by the circumstances, the extent to which the engagement precludes other employment, the magnitude of liabilities undertaken in the matter by our firm, as well as other factors that are recognized by applicable rules of professional conduct as appropriate for consideration in determining charges for legal services.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss with our clients alternative billing arrangements, such as fixed fees and success-oriented fees. Such arrangements may be appropriate for a particular transaction or situation. For example, we frequently use fixed-fee arrangements in our estate planning area. We are happy to share our thinking and our experiences concerning these and other alternative billing arrangements.