6. Time and Money Factor
President Abraham Lincoln (a business lawyer who represented railroads) once said that a lawyer’s time was his stock in trade. In other words, a lawyer sells his irreplaceable time as inventory.
What’s this mean to you when hiring an Internet lawyer?
Free Lunch Syndrome
The Internet has conditioned some people to be freebie seekers. But there’s really no such thing as a free lunch, free healthcare, or even free legal advice. Someone pays for each of these.
Now you might find a lawyer who is dumb enough to subsidize your online business by representing you for free. Inexperienced lawyers can sometimes be duped to do this with promises of future legal work.
But would you trust the quality of “free” brain surgery by a neurosurgeon? Why trust your legal needs to “free” either?
Chances are that legal help is going to be extremely expensive when you discover after the fact how much it cost you because of the mistakes that were made.
Will Your Internet Attorney Charge an Hourly Rate or Flat Fee?
When you’re involved in a lawsuit or in ongoing negotiations, your Internet attorney will likely be able to give you an educated guesstimate of fees but it doesn’t make economic sense to quote a hard flat rate. There are too many variables involved because no one knows how much time is going to be involved handling the legal matter.
In these types of Internet legal matters, your attorney will likely ask for an evergreen advance deposit to bill against at an hourly rate (typically billed in ¼ hour or 1/10th hour increments). When the deposit dips below a certain amount because of the amount of work done, you replenish (evergreen) it.
In addition, the time spent fielding phone calls, voice mails, and emails for a “quick question” aren’t free either. You can expect to pay for the time involved reading your emails, analyzing your legal issues based upon the attorney’s knowledge, possible research, and responding to your questions with the right answers.
On the other hand, there are matters that can be billed at a flat rate. For example, you can (and should) pay a flat fee for your initial consultation with an Internet lawyer.
The amount of that fee can vary based upon the unique needs of your business. For example, some businesses require more complex Internet legal documents to protect them than others. A 50-page e-commerce contract will cost more than a 5-page one.
Regardless, you can get the work done for a flat fee based upon what you’ve described to your Internet lawyer during a consultation…