In 2008, we asked ourselves a simple question: How can we provide quality legal service comparable to that offered by big law firms, but without the huge legal fees associated with these firms? We looked at these firms, and the first problem we noticed was that they worked in big offices with hundreds of staff, not to mention a lot of the accessories that clients don’t really need. Do you really need the big conference table that seats forty? Unless you were thinking of having a wedding reception in our office, we did not think so. So we got rid of the bulky conference table and simplified the office space! That was easy!
We then looked at the question of staff, and felt there was no reason to hire a support staff for matters that can be outsourced, or simply placed in the “cloud.” So our office went completely paperless, and we transferred all our files to the cloud or electronic databases.
We also looked at the infrastructure of these big firms, and noticed there was also a lot of money wasted on services and technology that was stuck in the era of cassette tapes. So out went the bulky law books, bookshelves and librarians, along with the rotary dial phone! We were in the midst of an Internet revolution, which was “flattening” the world, condensing information and knowledge. If the “Arab Spring” was any indication, revolutions are organized nowadays via tweets, instant messages, laptops, smart phones, other portable devices and social media. If they are good enough to bring down nations and their armies, they are good enough to adopt at the workplace, for your benefit!
So we “revolutionized” our work space: we bought the best and fastest computers, smart phones, tablets, adopted the “free telephone” via Skype for face time conferencing with clients, and also adopted text messaging as a way of communicating with clients. This resulted in significant cost savings to us compared to the brick and mortar law firms–savings which we are now able to pass on to our clients. It is because of these savings that we are also able to rid ourselves of another antiquated idea from the time of Henry the VIII: the dreaded billable hour. All of our cases are billed at a flat rate. We do not bill the client by the hour (unless of course you want us to). And this is a good thing.
Our experience working at traditional law firms has shown that the hourly rate only encourages waste, padding hours to inflate partner profits, and frankly speaking, also results in a poor quality of work. The benefit of a flat rate is that, if we feel that we need to spend 50 hours on legal research to submit the best work product to the court or opposing counsel, we will spend 50 hours doing the work. We are not being restricted by your budget for the case, spending only ten hours on legal research and motion preparation because that’s all you can afford at $300 per hour.
The ideas above are now part of the “living constitution” if not the “Mission” of the firm. We practice it every day for our clients’ benefit.