I generally bill .5 (of an hour) for a spousal support analysis and hourly for the negotiations that result from the analysis. I advise attorneys to bill .8 or 1.0 (of an hour) for a spousal support analysis. As the CEO of SupportHound, it should be expected that I can conduct a spousal support analysis quicker than my peers.
SupportHound can add revenue to your practice. If you bill $250/hour and bill .8 for a spousal support analysis, then you have billed $200. It only takes two spousal support analyses billed at .8 to pay for an entire year of SupportHound. All remaining spousal support analysis generate 100% revenue for you. Plus, because you value billed for more time than was required to complete the task, you can also bill other matters, thereby increasing your revenue stream! Keep reading to learn how you can change your fee agreements to value bill.
From the OSB Fee Agreement Compendium (2007 rev.)
A lawyer may also wish to incorporate terms permitting value billing or task-based billing as an alternative to the lawyer’s normal hourly billing arrangements. Formal Ethics Op. No. 2005-170; Oregon RPC 1.5, 8.4(a)(3). See Form 9-1, ¶14b, for an example of a value billing clause in an hourly fee agreement.
Caveat: Regardless of what form of fee agreement is used, the agreement must clearly explain to a client how the client will be charged by the lawyer. Ambiguities in a fee agreement drafted by a lawyer are construed by Oregon courts against the lawyer.See In re Irwin, 162 Or 221, 236–237, 91 P2d 518 (1939); OSB Formal Ethics Op. Nos. 2005-170, 2005-97.
From the OSB Fee Agreement Compendium (2007 rev.) Form 9-1 Hourly Fee Agreement
“Furthermore, please note that our firm bills in six-minute increments (or tenths of an hour), and that certain services have a minimum billing rate at my hourly rate, including but not limited to drafting complaints (1.0 hour), drafting default documents (1.0 hour), drafting show cause documents (.5 hour), drafting construction liens or bond claims (1.5 hours), phone calls (.2 hour), court appearances (1.0 hour), and other matters of a repetitive nature where you benefit from the expertise and documents we have previously prepared on other matters and can now implement for you. The time allocations described above are minimum only, and may be exceeded in particular cases because of complexity or unique aspects of the issues involved. At this time it is difficult to estimate the amount of time and expense that will be necessary to adequately represent you in this matter.”