Flat Fees, Part 1

What is this going to cost me? That’s a question every single client asks, either openly or silently, when seeking out legal services. Most clients fear the answer is “more money than you can imagine,” whether they are sophisticated, experienced purchasers of legal services or seeking out legal help for the first time. The legal industry has fed these fears for decades through its longstanding practice of billing by the hour. The longer something takes to do, the more the client ends up paying, and it’s a system that rewards inefficiency. In the interests of transparency, reform, and just plain old putting your fears to rest, therefore, I’m going to post some flat fees right here.

I’ll start with business formation. This can be a pretty straightforward project. I’ll have three different packages, starting at only $500 for forming a single-owner LLC or corporation. This fee does not include any state filing fees (Ohio currently charges $125 to form a corporation or LLC), which can vary from state to state. My fee includes a 30-minute consultation with you, so that I can understand (and help you clarify) your goals and needs, and make a determination as to the kind of entity you should form. It also includes preparation and filing of the certificate of organization, preparation of bylaws (for a corporation) or an operating agreement (for an LLC), and initial shareholder and director resolutions (adopting bylaws, appointing directors, authorizing bank accounts, electing officers). Finally, my flat rate includes making a filing with the IRS for an EIN (employer ID number). These documents, in particular the articles of organization, bylaws, and operating agreement, are not going to be one-size fits-all documents. I will customize them to help you achieve your goals, and to fit your specific situation and needs. The second tier is for multi-owner LLCs or corporations, which can be more complex. With multiple owners, you’ll need a shareholders agreement that includes buyout provisions, or in the case of a multi-owner LLC, the operating agreement will need to include buyout provisions. The third tier is a comprehensive package for startups that contemplate raising venture capital funds. For more information about the cost of these more complex packages and what they include, contact me.

Of course, I wouldn’t be a lawyer without putting out a disclaimer, so here it is: I reserve the right to change these fees at any time. If your project is already underway, however, you will be charged the fee I originally quoted to you. Also, in some circumstances, your business formation project may be substantially more complex than the average project, or you may have specialized needs that go beyond the norm. In those cases, I may need to charge beyond the flat rate. I will let you know as soon as I can, and work with you to develop a revised project budget.