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Delivery of Legal Services' Initiatives & Awards

Alternative Fee Arrangements



Make your services more affordable, accessible and transparent to low-and moderate-income clients with alternatives to the traditional billable hour. Examples include fixed or flat fees, contingency fees and fee-shifting.




Pricing Toolkit for attorneys seeking to serve low- and moderate-income clients (Chicago Bar foundation and Justice Entrepreneuers Project, 2016)

ABA Commission on Billable Hours Report (2001-2002)

White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance filed with the ABA House of Delegates (ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, December 27, 2011)

Compensation Models: Moving Away From The Billable Hour (PowerPoint slides from Trevor Clarke, Director, Chicago Bar Foundation Justice Entrepreneurs Project)

Let's Kill the Billable Hour (John Lax)

"Dollars and Sense: Fee Shifting"
in Reinventing the Practice of Law
What’s it like to run a practice where you do not charge your clients? Some lawyers rely on fee shifting to expand access to those who may not otherwise be able to afford legal services.

Value Adjustment Line (Valorem Law Group)


Alternative fee arrangements: A primer American Bar Association, June 23, 2013)

The Billable Hour Is Dead. Long Live . . . ? (ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division GPSOLO, January/February 2013)

Embrace Alternative Fee Arrangements; Kill the Billable Hour (Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, April 27, 2017)

Ethical Considerations in Flat Fee Arrangements (Wyoming Lawyer Magazine, February 2016)

Four Alternatives to Hourly Billing for Small Firms (The Missouri Bar)

Marketing Alternative Fee Arrangements(ABA Law Practice Magazine, September/October 2011)

Practice Tips: Stimulating Growth with Alternative Fee Arrangements (State Bar of Wisconsin Wisconsin Lawyer, March 2010)

Show Me the Bill: Alternatives to the Hourly Rate (Michigan Bar Journal, June 2017)

What Is, and Is Not, an Alternative Fee Arrangement (ABA Law Technology Today, December 10, 2014)



Sliding-scale fees are based on a client's ability to pay, often determined by income and family size, derived from the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Sliding-scale fees can either be hourly or flat.




“Co-Pay Clinics: An Option for Affordable Legal Services” in Reinventing the Practice of Law
This chapter explores nonprofit, sliding-scale, co-pay clinics that have proven successful in delivering legal services for a fee to low- and moderate-income populations.

Directory of nonprofit law firms, many of which price their services on a sliding scale. Visit each firm's respective page to find specific fee schedule examples.


Nonprofit law firm fills gap between affordability, pro bono (Charleston Regional Business Journal, April 27, 2018)

How community law firms can increase access to civil legal services (The Iowa Lawyer, October 2016)

The Low Down on Low Bono: Identifying a Need and Starting up a Nonprofit Organization (The PSJD Blog, April 20, 2015)