Having a lawyer send a cease and desist letter can be an effective way to stop someone whose actions are harming you. A cease and desist letter can be sent to an individual, business, or organization to warn them that if they do not stop their offending conduct, they may be sued or face other consequences.
A cease and desist letter can be used in a variety of circumstances where someone is acting in a way that is harmful to you. Common situations where a cease and desist letter is used include:
- Intellectual property infringement
- Defamation (slander or libel)
- Property encroachment
- Debt collection harassment
- Enforcement of rights
In this article, we’ll explore what you can expect to pay to have an attorney send a cease and desist letter. We will also reveal how you can have a legal professional send a cease and desist letter on your behalf for an affordable flat rate.
How much will a cease and desist letter cost?
Perhaps the biggest reason people choose not to hire a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter relates to cost. Legal costs often lack transparency – people have little information on what they should reasonably expect a cease and desist letter to cost. The final bill will also vary widely depending on where you live and the firm you hire. The cost of a cease and desist letter depends on many factors, but a single cease and desist letter can easily cost anywhere from $750 to $5,000.
The services of a lawyer can indeed be very pricey. Let’s examine three ways attorneys can bill for their services when it comes to cease and desist letters: hourly rate, success model, and flat rate.
Hourly billable rates
The most common fee structure used by lawyers is the billable hour model. The lawyer, along with their paralegals, associates, partners, etc. will bill for their services at an agreed-upon hourly rate. The amount of that rate can differ significantly depending on where you live and the particular firm you’re hiring. The hourly rate for a lawyer’s time can range from $150 to over $1000 per hour in more expensive metropolitan areas.
Lawyers will generally bill their hourly rate at some increment – 6-minute increments, 15-minute increments, etc. That means that any time spent on your cease and desist letter will incur a charge that is a minimum of that increment. For example, if the attorney is billing in 6-minute increments, that means if you call the lawyer and speak to them for just 9 minutes on the phone, they will add the cost of 12 minutes of their time to the bill. If the attorney is billing at an hourly rate of let’s say $250 per hour, that 9-minute phone call will have cost you $50.
The longer a project goes on, and the more attorneys and paralegals are drawn in, the higher the legal bill will be. Under a billable hour structure, it’s difficult to estimate what the final cost of a cease and desist letter will be since the amount of hours needed will depend on numerous factors, such as:
- How efficient is the lawyer.
- How complex is the letter.
- How much feedback does the client have.
- Whether any unexpected issues arise.
Expenses in Addition to Hourly Fees
Another thing to keep in mind when hiring an attorney for a cease and desist letter on an hourly basis is that expenses are charged separately. These additional costs are sometimes referred to as “disbursements.” For example, the attorney may charge for making copies, the postage used to send letters, the cost to research an issue in a database, travel expenses, etc. These items will appear on the final bill in addition to the total hourly fees incurred.
Before working on a matter, many attorneys will require the payment of a retainer. A retainer is essentially a deposit that the lawyer can draw from to pay for their fees and expenses. A retainer assures the attorney that there will be a pool of your money that they can collect from for their fees.
For example, a lawyer may ask for a retainer of $2,000. If the final legal bill is less than $2,000, the lawyer will refund the difference to the client. However, if the final bill rises to more than $2,000, the lawyer will send an additional invoice for the extra amount or request another retainer that can be drawn from. With a retainer, the cost at the outset for using a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter can be significant.
Success Fee Model
Under a success fee structure, the attorney will generally charge a reduced hourly rate, with a bonus if the attorney achieves a certain outcome or result. For example, if you send a cease and desist letter to stop a company from infringing your copyright, the lawyer may offer a discounted hourly rate, but then demand a bonus of $500 if the company complies and stops their actions.
This type of fee structure is not common for cease and desist letters, especially the kind of cease and desist letters needed by individuals and small businesses. Most attorneys will want to charge their standard rate instead of having a contingent element to how much they will make. A success fee arrangement is more typical when hiring a lawyer for a lawsuit or another higher stakes project.
Flat or Fixed Fee Model
Under a flat fee or fixed fee model, the attorney will charge a set price for the cease and desist letter. For most clients, this is the preferred way to pay for a cease and desist letter. With a flat fee structure, the final bill is predictable. Without hourly rates to worry about, clients are also generally less anxious about how long a project is taking or how much of the attorney’s time they are using.
The issue with a flat fee model is that it can be difficult to find an attorney to agree to this structure. In addition, the flat rate may still be very expensive. For example, an attorney may agree to complete a cease and desist letter for a flat rate of $1,250.
Demand Letters was founded to help you find lawyers that offer a more affordable flat rate for cease and desist letters. After filling out a simple questionnaire, Demand Letters will match you with an attorney who will prepare and deliver a cease and desist letter on your behalf for a low, flat rate. With this pricing structure, there are no hidden charges or hourly rates to worry about. You get a cease and desist letter sent out all for one all-inclusive rate.
What about Pro Bono?
Another type of legal engagement you may have heard of is pro bono work. “Pro bono” is from a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” Pro bono work is generally undertaken by an attorney free of charge, usually for a social cause. For example, many attorneys work pro bono for non-profit charities and foundations. Lawyers generally do not work on a pro bono basis for cease and desist letters for individuals and for-profit businesses regarding private matters.
Sending a cease and desist letter to someone giving you trouble can be an effective way to resolve the situation. Having an attorney send a cease and desist letter, however, can be costly, and legal fee structures are complicated and unpredictable. Hiring a lawyer to work on a flat fee basis is generally your best option – you’ll know in advance exactly how much your letter will cost.
Demand Letters’ platform can put you in touch with a legal professional who can draft and send a cease and desist letter for a low flat rate. Simply click on the “Get Started” button below, fill out a quick questionnaire, and you’ll be on your way!