Negotiating Attorney Fees With Clients (And Why Not to Do It)

clients trying to negotiate with attorney

My firm lost out on two potential cases recently because we declined to reduce our fees.

Both were premises liability cases. We charge 40% for premises liability cases (and medical malpractice), and 33% for car and truck wrecks. These are the standard rates across the personal injury industry.

We don’t charge an increased fee if a lawsuit is filed or if there is a trial (the reason why we don’t will be the subject of another post).

I almost never negotiate our fees on the front end.

Are there times I give a discount because somebody is a friend or family member? Sure.

And are there times I cut my fee on the back end for a variety of reasons? Sure.

But am I going to reduce my fees to get a client to sign up? Not going to happen, absent some exceptional circumstance.

Clients who are bargain shopping aren’t always going to be problem clients, but it can be a sign of problems to come.

For one, it shows they already think that what you charge is too much, and so they may not value the work that you do.

Two, they may view your work as a commodity that anybody can do. They think cost, not value, is the most important thing, so they may not understand the value that you will be bringing to the table.

And third, if you cut your fee routinely to get a new client, what does that say about the “standard” rate you are charging to everyone else?

How do you handle situations when a potential new client asks you to negotiate your fees? Join the conversation with me on LinkedIn.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.