Pershing Law PLLC, Civel Rights, Elder Law, Mediation.

Sliding Fee Scale

Sign on the office door: “Attorney. Three questions, $50.”

The prospective client knocks.
“Come in.”
“Pardon me, is this where I can get three questions answered for $50?”
“Yes, it is.”
“That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is. And what was your third question . . . ?”


Here is this firm’s unusual take on this important subject.

First, a client’s problem, and the legal work needed to address it, should be dignified with compensation that is fair and commensurate. And second, a lawyer’s stock in trade, as Abraham Lincoln once said, is his time. Prospective clients of this firm should know that Mr. Pershing’s full hourly rate, appropriate to his 25-plus years of experience and to the D.C.-area legal services market, is $500.

But there’s no point charging more than the client has the resources to pay; that carries the potential to harm or even destroy the lawyer-client relationship whether or not the fees are ever collected. Besides, a case might simply not be worth fees that high, even though it carries great significance to the client. So, before a representation agreement is drafted, we have a frank discussion about the case, the fees, and the client’s available resources. We consider a variety of arrangements, including flat-rate, hourly and contingency compensation, limited and staged representation, and hybrids of one or more of these, in an effort to balance affordability with a realistic look at the likely demands and probable results of the case. Sometimes research by one or both of us will be necessary before we can even have this conversation, and that too can be addressed.

No two of this firm’s representation agreements are the same. But one thing they all have in common is a clause that says the lawyer reserves the discretion to lower the final fee, but not to raise it, in view of the results we ultimately obtain.