Alternative Billing -- Win Win Strategies
Better Legal Billing: Time Slips for the Future
Options Abound, But Its Often Up to Clients to Suggest Them
In the old days of legal billing, lawyers invoices — usually a single page of elegant letterhead—contained only the phrase, "legal services rendered," and a hefty dollar amount. No time breakdowns, no list of activities performed or equipment and supplies used—just a final, usually shocking, charge.
But client demands and the evolution of sophisticated billing software have led to more detailed invoices today. Itemized statements have triggered discussion among businesses about whether hourly billing is the best way to be charged for legal services. As the legal profession becomes more competitive and dependent on high quality customer service, lawyers need to embrace alternate billing methods.
Fixed or flat fees, contingency fees, non-refundable retainers with discounted hourly fees, blended hourly fees and variations on those themes are becoming increasingly common. But many law firms have been slow to join this trend — lawyers still perform approximately 95 percent of their corporate legal work on an hourly basis.
What does that mean for your small business If your company is currently working with a law firm or looking for legal counsel, try requesting alternate billing options. While many law firms rarely initiate different options, theyll negotiate when brought to the table. If you want something better than the old "bill by the hour" deal, try presenting one of these billing structures:
Project billing for routine issues
Questions To Ask Your Legal Counsel
Is the attorney experienced in business law or just practicing it between drafting wills and selling homes
Does the attorney give advice in plain language or does he use a lot of jargon
Is there good "chemistry" between you and the attorney
Are the attorneys ethics and goals clear
Whats the attorneys track record with other businesses similar to yours
If your legal needs include large but repetitive tasks, consider a flat-fee approach, also known as project billing. If you need legal assistance on a large research project involving several repetitive tasks with a fair amount of predictability for cost estimation and time duration, request a dollar cap for predetermined services. Be sure to compare estimated costs at the equivalent hourly rate—a projected cap that far exceeds any likely bill is really no cap at all.
Once you get a project billing estimate, dont hesitate to shop around. Making an informed decision — shopping around, comparing prices and services with other law firms — is good business sense, especially if you intend to hire a firm for a single project. If you anticipate establishing a long-term relationship, mention this as youre negotiating a project amount — a firm may provide a better deal if it expects future work from your company.
Forget the image of personal injury attorneys taking a third of any verdict or settlement. Consider instead contingency fees — fees based on the outcome of the case and the performance of your counsel. Creative use of contingency fees can create efficiencies in even the most high-level corporate settings. If you retain a lawyer to help your company avoid litigation, couple a reduced hourly rate with a bonus for successfully lowering your litigation outlays.
You also can establish an incentive based on a percentage of money won or saved in trial. If youre a defendant in a case where the plaintiff has a strong shot at a $1 million settlement, negotiate a flat fee if the case goes to trial, plus a bonus if the plaintiff ends up getting less than $1 million. If youre a plaintiff and estimate your case is worth between $1 and $2 million, you might negotiate services for a flat fee plus a percentage of any settlement over $1 million.
Contingency fees turn the matter into a shared risk or shared incentive, making the law firm your business partner, not just representation. Contingency fees can work well with both flat fee and reduced hourly fee arrangements. Because a number of variations on the "pay-according-to-success" theme exist, you should ask firms for the options theyre willing to discuss.
If youre shopping for a firm for substantial legal work involving a number of legal specialties, consider using blended hourly fees. Rather than each attorney billing at the usual hourly rate, the firm calculates in advance an "average" rate based on the anticipated time each attorney spends on the matter.
The value of this arrangement is twofold—it helps define responsibility in a project and it provides a fair price schedule for the client, who avoids paying a senior partners hourly rate for research that should be conducted by a junior associate
Firms without in-house counsel that frequently hire legal services might consider contracting with a firm. In this legal billing option, firms and clients agree to a specific charge per month in exchange for a predetermined set of legal services. The contract fee permits the client to pick up the phone and talk to the attorney without needing to eye the clock. This approach works like a legal insurance policy. It encourages companies to contact their counsel on non-litigation, non-crisis matters, and to save money in the long run by engaging in more preventive legal action.
Just as in business, the impetus for change comes from consumer demand. The sooner businesses take the lead in securing more effectively tailored billing methods from their legal counsel, the sooner theyll get better, more cost-effective legal assistance.
The legal system in America is currently stretched with more personal injury lawsuits than it can comfortably process. Many insurance carriers are taking a stronger stand in the settlement process which increases the length of time to resolution in many cases. The victims of personal injury are being hurt the most by this reality because they are often out of work and have difficult time making ends meet until they receive a settlement or judgment in their case.
Michael Jackson is one of the most recognized persons on the planet today. Even though he has not had a hit album in over a decade, Michael has continued to find his way into the media one way or another. From his rumoured problems with plastic surgery, to his association with monkeys, everyone has heard about how strange a character Michael has become. Aside from the black community that have continued to support him, despite his so-called skin condition and aversion to direct sunlight, most of the media has made "Jacko" a target of vicious headlines and articles.
Identity Theft Shield
We live in an information-oriented society. Technology allows us to do business and make transactions literally in a matter of seconds. This abundance of information has given rise to a new crime - identity theft. In fact, according to a 2003 release from the Federal Trade Commission, almost 10 million people in the United States may be victimized by identity bandits each year.
If you rent a home, protect it by buying Renters Insurance.
Renters insurance is often overlooked by people who are renting their house or apartment.Many people don’t realize that their landlord’s insurance only covers the building that you live, there in no coverage for your personal belongs.Renters insurance usually offers full coverage to protect your belongs from fire, flooding, theft, and many other types of perils.Most renters’ policies are actually very inexpensive, especially when compared with regular homeowners insurance; and it’s easy to get a renters insurance quote.People who rent their homes or apartments may not realize that they may need liability insurance. You could be held responsible for injury to another person if they were injured in your rented residence.Fortunately, most renters insurance will guarantee personal liability coverage.Renters insurance will be able to help protect you in case of a liability lawsuit against you.In addition, if the place you are renting becomes unlivable for any reason, most renters’ insurance policies will allow additional living expenses.This means that your insurance will pay for your hotel room or any other expense you may have if your home become unlivable.
Lawsuit Funding is essential to victims of personal injury who are without sufficient income and are awaiting a legal settlement.All too often a person is injured by the wrongful acts of another but must wait years to receive his or her fair compensation.
The Attorney ~ The Latest Super Hero in a Society Gone Mad
Are you looking for a career or want to take legal action An attorney may be the the answer for you, also known as a lawyer. Whatever the matter, attorneys help all individuals - people and companies in a court of law. Generally specializing, allow them to be proficient when it comes to the legalities within their selected field.
The New Drug Recall Lawyers
Given the monstrous size and profitability of drug companies, some plaintiff lawyers are considering focusing more of their practice on drug litigation. In fact, shortly after Mercks announcement of the Vioxx recall, some large plaintiff firms started aggressive media campaigns aimed at bringing in prescription drug injury victims.The media blitz has been non stop. Billboards, TV, web marketing, radio, and direct mail are just some of the marketing vehicles that attorneys have used to try and find new cases for them to work on.Many plaintiff law firms are no longer focusing on chasing run of the mill car accidents. Some of them have gone so far as to reposition themselves as “drug recall lawyers,” seeing that the future of their practice may be shaped by the initial outcome of these new pharmaceutical cases.
Things You Ought To Know in Faultless Car Accidents
Anyone who has been involved in a vehicular accident, regardless of fault, can avail of No-Fault Benefits which would include compensation for wage lost, medical expenses and a replacement vehicle. It is also termed as Personal Injury Protection Benefit or PIP. Certain states like Minnesota have enacted laws requiring vehicle owners to have no-fault coverage as part of their automobile insurance coverage.
Freedom of Religion
We were all taught in school that our forefathers left England to escape religious dictatorships.Okay, there was a lot more to it then that, but it was a big enough deal that they made sure it got honorable mention in our rulebook.They clearly made the point that we were to have freedom of religion here in America.They also used the word "God" in some of their formal paperwork and even on our money.I dont want to argue politics here, but rather semantics.They didnt say "freedom of Christianity," they said "freedom of religion."The boys who wrote up all of our formal paperwork were wordsmiths and they debated long and hard to find the perfect set of words to govern ourselves by.It wasnt decided that we had the freedom to choose whichever form of Christianity that we liked, but whichever form of religion.Religion is in and of itself a much broader concept then Christianity."God" can mean a lot more then just the Christian definition too.
Social Security Disability Secrets
DisabilitySecrets.com aims to distribute crucial information on the important processes in getting your claim for disability and ssi benefits. We all know how hard it is to apply for disability and ssi benefits since Social Security has an unclear and not understandable procedures. This is the reason why DisabilitySecrets.com has joined the rapid explosion of websites due to the fast-rising Internet technology.
Living Will And Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care. What Is The Difference
A Living Will is a legal document addressing only deathbed considerations; a client unilaterally declares his/her desire that life-prolonging measures be discontinued when there is no hope of ultimate recovery.
Protect Your Job & Wages
When people call me about employment issues they dont realize one important law- in almost every state you are terminable at will.That means that your employer can fire you anytime and for no reason at all.The only way you are protected from being fired on the spot without notice is if you have a contract of employment.A contract of employment must be in writing and should specify your length of employment, salary, terms of employment, vacation, bonus calculations, the basis of termination and any warnings to be given make it at least 3 warnings if you can prior to termination and must be signed by your employer, among other things.
How to Talk to the Police if Your Suspected of a Crime
If you’re suspected of a crime, the police can come to your house or work or find you on the street to talk to you. Usually it will be a detective in plain clothes in an unmarked car who will want to talk to you. You might find a card from the detective under your door, or a message on your phone from him asking you to call.
Turnitin.com Infringes Upon Students Rights
Turnitin.com is undeniably an effective deterrent to plagiarism, but it is the very issue of copyright infringement that has people questioning the legality of the site. What many people dont understand is that works do not need to be registered to be copyrighted. Every literary work that is saved to a tangible medium this includes paper, computer disk, etc. is protected by federal copyright laws. Thus, the works submitted to Turnitin.com are copyrighted and the authors hold complete rights to the works. What the Turnitin.com system does, however, is it stores the submitted paper on their servers. This is done without the students permission. Turnitin.com is operating under the pretense that teachers will force their students to submit to Turnitin.com. Thus, student papers are stored in iParadigms the company that runs Turnitin.com database. This in itself is a blatant violation of the 1976 Federal Copyright Act. Turnitin.com is duplicating copyrighted material without the consent of the student. The student is forced to submit to the site, so submissions are not considered voluntary. In addition, the site does not ask for permission to store the paper, instead, it is done automatically.
Why You Need a Home Loan Countrywide Loan
From a small office in 1969, home loan countrywide has achieved recognition among consumers and investors as one of Americas leading home finance companies. Evidence of growth and industry leadership is home loan countrywides inclusion in the S&P 500, Forbes 500 and Fortune 500. Home loan countrywide began with a vision - to make the dream of homeownership accessible to everyone. Over the years, the company has grown, as have the ways in which they serve their customers. They have leveraged their skills in mortgage banking into diversified businesses that work together to provide customers with a complete range of financial services under one roof. Their diversification includes capital markets, insurance and a recent expansion into banking services with Countrywide Bank. In addition, home loan countrywide is also bringing a brand of financial services and customer satisfaction to the United Kingdom.Home loancountrywide is involved in the development of world-class proprietary financial systems has provided them with a sizable competitive edge and given them a front-runner position in penetrating financial services markets both domestically and internationally.
The legal fiction of common law marriage
During a radio-talk show appearance, a caller told me about his unfortunate brush with the legal fiction of common-law marriage. He had been living with a woman for several weeks when he came home one evening to find the woman, his TV and assorted other property missing. He called the police, who mistakenly informed him that the woman was his common-law wife and so they couldn’t help him.
The state has a monopoly on behaviour usually deemed criminal. It murders, kidnaps, and locks up people. Sovereignty has come to be identified with the unbridled - and exclusive - exercise of violence. The emergence of modern international law has narrowed the field of permissible conduct. A sovereign can no longer commit genocide or ethnic cleansing with impunity, for instance.
DUI Law Information
If you’ve been pulled over and accused of a drunk driving offense, or more commonly referred to as a DUI or DWI, then you probably have a lot of questions.You are probably scared, confused, and a little angry if you didn’t feel you deserved it.
Psst.. Pass It On.. I Found Out Its a Hoax..
When you receive an email telling you about a virus, what do you do with it Do you send it to everyone in your address book to help them protect themselves too
How to Start an Online Bankruptcy Forms Processing Service
Due to the dramatic increase in technology, paralegals now have the ability to outsource their skills and earn extra money working from home as a bankruptcy forms processor. Unlike an attorney or notary public, a bankruptcy forms processor does not have jurisdictional limits.In other words, a bankruptcy forms processor could live in Yellow Springs, Ohio and prepare bankruptcy petitions, pleadings, Motions and other court documents for attorneys practicing in California, New York or any other U.S. state.
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