The best way to explain the difference between our firm and a “traditional” law firm is to first talk about what the old model of law practice looks like; and then compare it to what we offer to our clients. If you have any experience with hiring a lawyer in the past, you will probably recognize some, if not all, of the descriptions we’ll discuss.
Traditionally, you go in and meet with a lawyer who will oftentimes make things seem very complicated and confusing. You will have a good idea that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what he’s doing, so you will nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing, you will have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you will sign the documents feeling relieved that you have gotten that taken care of.
You take your fancy folder home, stick it on a shelf or in a drawer, mark that matter off your checklist as DONE and never think about it again. That is, of course, until you have a question about the issue. Were you supposed to file the document yourself or was the lawyer going to do that? Does the attorney have a copy of the contract you signed but can’t find now? Does the story you heard on the news last night apply to your legal situation or was that only for some other state? These are all questions that can keep you up at night so you decide to call the law firm in the morning and roll over and go to sleep.
The next morning, you call the law firm and leave a message for the attorney to call you back. When the lawyer calls you back, you speak with the lawyer and have your questions answered.
A few weeks later, you get a bill in the mail for $67.50 for the 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You decide then and there that you are never calling the lawyer again.
Years go by, maybe even just a few months, and the laws covering your initial legal matter have changed. Or maybe more likely, your family/financial/priority situation has changed and a legal matter comes up again. You remember your vow not to call the lawyer again and you (1) make your decisions based on the old advice that does not apply to you anymore; (2) you go online and find a form document that seems right to you without knowing for sure if it truly covers you; or (3) worst of all, you stand paralyzed not knowing what to do.
Legal problems or issues rarely just go away, if ever. In fact, most legal situations require immediate attention to keep them from getting worse or incurable.
How do I know all this?
Because it happened to my family when I was in law school and I swore it would never happen to my clients when I became a lawyer. When I got out of law school, I went to work for one of the largest and most respected law firms in the country. There were 600 attorneys in eight offices around the country. And all of them were working in the same manner described above and expected me to do the same. The only way to keep the big firm afloat was to watch every hour and 6-minute increment of the day so that at the end of the month we could send out invoices to all the clients who had sought out our help.
This was not the practice of law I had imagined in law school. It was not long after that I decided to leave the big firm and open my own office so that I could serve clients the way I had imagined in law school.
We Offer Law Service; Not Just a Law Firm
What makes our firm different is we have broken that old-fashioned law firm model and created a firm for the 21st Century in three distinct ways.
We have done away with the billable hour. We only offer flat-fee, value-based pricing for our services. What does that mean for you? It means that you do not have to keep your eye on the clock as you speak with your lawyer. You are not going to get a random invoice a few weeks after the conversation. Instead, we encourage you to communicate; whether by letter, phone call or email, with your lawyer. It is truly the only way that you can be sure the lawyer understands your needs and concerns.
It also means that you will always know up-front how much your law service will cost. There is no chance that you will get a surprise bill in the mail. The up-front, flat-fee billing makes sure that we are always on the same team. You agree to pay the specified amount and it is now in the lawyer’s best interest to work as efficiently and quickly as possible. The old model rewarded the lawyer for dragging out the work and racking up hours over hours just to bill you.
We have made ‘Value to Client’ our most important metric. In the traditional law firm model, lawyers are rewarded and even promoted based on the number of billable hours sent to clients each year. Obviously, a lawyer’s best interest is to bill the client as much and often as possible. A client’s best interests are to (1) have competent legal representation and advice; (2) quickly and efficiently resolve the legal matter at hand to get back to regular life; and (3) pay a fair and reasonable price for the service. By rewarding billable hours, the lawyer’s interest are naturally opposed to the client’s interest.
Our model is to meet with clients with the sole purpose of fully and completely understanding the most important issues to them and determine the best alternative to pursue so that the client can honestly say “I got more than my money’s worth from that lawyer.” With this as our goal, we are rewarded by satisfied clients rather than arbitrary billable hour goals.
We create relationships first; documents second. Technology has changed the way law is practiced. In the days before the internet, a lawyer was able to charge for services simply because he was the gatekeeper of information. It was in the lawyer’s best interest to keep information from the client and make his work seem complicated. A client had no choice but to pay the lawyer for the work, because there was no other way to handle legal issues.
Today, the internet is full of resources and form documents that can be downloaded and printed and used with a good degree of success. The value of a lawyer is not in the documents prepared. Rather, it is in the relationship of trust and advice he creates with the client. We strive with each engagement to get to know our client and his or her needs and wants. By placing ourselves in our client’s shoes, we work as a team to solve the problem. The documents, contracts, forms that are created are merely a by-product of the relationship.
We think once you have experienced the difference our firm has to offer, you will never need to search for another lawyer in your life. In addition to our core competencies, we have relationships with attorneys and firms in our area, nationally and internationally who can handle every other conceivable legal matter. You are always welcome to contact us for a referral to competent lawyers in any area of law.
We look forward to seeing you and caring for you and your family soon!
We help our clients acquire, protect and pass on their most valuable assets to their loved ones without using One-Size-Fits-All forms and charging lawyer fees on a per document basis.
We work with individuals and businesses in all business, real estate and estate planning matters.
The relationships we build with clients make us uniquely capable to advise our clients with current legal needs as well as the legal issues on the horizon.