The traditional legal billing method entails hourly rates dependent upon the experience level of the associate or partner handling the matter. However, clients today no longer wish to pay high hourly fees, which often amount to unpredictable billable hour totals. Instead, clients today are demanding that firms offer some sort of alternative fee arrangement, such as a flat fee. From the client’s point of view, this alternative fee arrangement offers a level of certainty when it comes to fees and expenses.
But, from the attorney’s perspective, alternative fees are less lucrative and could potentially fail to cover the necessary costs and expenses associated to representation. This question therefore remains: how can attorneys and clients reach a fee arrangement that is satisfactory to both? The answer: through the integration of project management skills and models within the practice of law. Proper project management tactics applied to each new case from the outset can help ensure that firms will take the most cost effective approach and make the best decisions at each stage of litigation or of the transactional matter, to lower costs and expenses, and ensure some level of certainty from day one as to what path the case may take. As attorneys learn these skills, they will find that alternative fee arrangements could actually prove to be more lucrative, in that it will allow them to retain more clients, while handling the case in the most efficient manner possible.
The Law Office of Paul & Kunkel has begun training its attorneys on the skills of project management, and implementing such techniques into its case management practices. Doing so has allowed our office to offer clients straight flat fee rates or some other unique combination of flat, contingent, and hourly rates, ensuring clients receive the most affordable representation available.