How do I compare lawyers who use different billing methods (hourly vs fixed prices)?

If you’re deciding between two lawyers and one bills by the hour while the other bills fixed fees, it can be like comparing apples to oranges.

With fixed fees, the price quoted is the price you pay, whereas the hourly lawyer’s estimate on fees is only a guess as to what the total hourly fees will be at the end of your legal project.

If you want a better comparison, ask the hourly lawyer to guarantee they won’t charge you more than the fee estimate they gave you and then make them put that in writing. Not only does that allow you to compare the lawyers you are considering hiring, but it also switches the risk of hourly billing from you to the lawyer.