Specialist v. Generalist
The legal community promotes specialization, shunting attorneys to narrow sectors of the law. This compartmentalization creates lawyers with massive blind spots -- counsel that lose the forest for the sake of the trees due to their specialty. My practice is intentionally general because it allows me to see creative options to resolving a given issue. I have won more than one case because a specialized lawyer never appreciated an approach from a different perspective.
Specialization is important for certain areas such as patent or criminal law. I do not practice in these areas and will refer you to another attorney if this is your legal need.
Costs of a Lawyer
"What am I paying all that money for?" is a common and heartfelt question. The answer is value. You are paying me to add value at a fair price to your interests. If you are involved in a dispute, you are utilizing my experience, litigation, and negotiation skills to maximize the best possible result for you in or out of litigation. If you are starting a new business, retaining me will allow you access to my experience and foresight for your benefit to avoid future problems so you can obtain the best possible start to your fledgling venture. If you are drafting a will, you receive the value of ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you are no longer present to do so yourself. As you can see on this webpage, my experience is both broad and deep as I have been able to successfully achieve many difficult goals for my clients.
On several occasions, I have advised clients and potential clients that my services would not economically achieve their goals, or in other words, the value of my services will not be worth the price you have to pay. No attorney likes to be in a position where his or her fees are exceeding the value of the underlying representation. I always try to avoid uneconomic situations, and would advise you at the outset if I felt my representation would not add sufficient value to your interests.
For my hourly clients, you will receive a detailed bill for each month I spend time working on your behalf. I bill in tenths, the minimum being 0.1 hours for an activity. For each activity, I provide a description of the service provided. In additional, reimbursable expenses are included on each bill broken out by vendors such as Federal Express, court filing fees, etc. If you should ever have a question about a bill amount, payment, or description, please do not hesitate to bring it up with me. I will be happy to explain how the bill was determined.
For my fixed rate clients, you will usually receive a bill at the end of the representation for the agreed upon amount plus the reimbursable expenses. Typically, I do not detail my efforts in a fixed rate representation but will do so if you request it at the outset.
I also accept cases on a contingency basis (or hybrid hourly/contingency basis) in limited circumstances. Typically, a contingency case has a high likelihood of success for the client combined with an assured liquid asset at stake in the litigation from which I will ultimately be paid for my services.
Big Firm / Small Firm
American culture ingrains us with the notion that bigger is better -- super size it all! Of course, advertisers promote this concept to sell more of everything. Nobody spends advertising money to curb consumption.
However, in practicing law, I have learned that the opposite is true because disseminating information and maintaining a coherent strategy are exponentially more difficult with large teams of lawyers. Critical opportunities are lost because lower level attorneys are not aware of, or sufficiently experienced enough to gain an unseen advantage at one stage that will reap benefits later on.
I provide you with better value for your legal expense. I know each of my cases from top to bottom. Generally, your legal budget will not be spent on writing memos, emails, phone conferences, meetings, or other unnecessary multi-layered efforts to communicate information to the organization.
I do what is right and necessary because unlike other firms, I do not have that large overhead expense to cover each month. My client base is broad and my pipeline always full so that I do not need to drag a case out simply to milk it for fees. Time and again, I have seen other opposing counsel do so which simply drives the costs unnecessarily higher for everyone.
Efficient, economical legal activity and thus, smaller fees, is a paramount goal for me in every representation.