Results Delivered. Inflated Legal Fees Optional.
The lawyers of E-Business Counsel have worked in national and regional law firms. This experience has provided the opportunity to work along side brilliant in-house counsel, business owners, and attorneys to address a range of complex matters. And we provide our clients this "Big Law" experience, but without the "Big Law" price tag and without the insistence of delivering legal services on an hourly basis. Quite honestly, an hourly fee structure provides an incentive for lawyers to bill more time.
We recognize that many factors go into selecting a law firm, with cost being a major point of consideration. While we would prefer to compete on our experience, results, and commitment to client service, we are confident that we compare favorably if costs is your only consideration. We operate a lean, and efficient business and have implemented numerous measures to further improve our ability to efficiently deliver quality legal services.
Why Hourly Legal Fees Are Not Always Your Best Choice
The default rule in law firm pricing is the billable hour where legal services are billed to the client in increments of time. With hourly billing, there is a disincentive for efficient management because the less efficient attorney will make more money (as long as the client is willing to pay). Further, it is not uncommon for some attorneys to come up with creative justifications for adding legal fees that do not otherwise provide value to the client. While our attorneys certainly provide hourly fee agreements, we also recognize that clients are not only interested in buying a lawyer's time. Instead, they want legal advice that is delivered in a predictable manner, and - most importantly - results.
For these reasons, we are ready to explore alternative fee structures that are more aligned with your business. Examples of alternative fee structures that we have used to align our interests with that of our clients include:
Satisfaction Adjustment Guarantee: For certain legal matters we offer to suspend a portion of our fees until the completion of a project or a matter concludes. At that point, the client evaluates what percentage of the suspended fee should be paid based upon criteria established by the client and our attorneys. In other words, our clients know that we have an incentive to work through out the engagement to meet the established criteria. We also offer on other matters a written Value Adjustment Fee provision. This is a long-winded way of saying our clients have the opportunity increase or decrease their legal bill to reflect the amount of value they received. This 100% satisfaction guarantee type of adjustment is certainly the exception when it comes to legal fees. But we offer this option for the following reasons:
- First, a value adjustment benefits our attorneys because it allows clients to voluntarily increase the amount owed under the fee agreement if the value of our services exceeded the proposed rate or fee agreement.
- Second, if (which is also the exception) a client decreases the amount owed, our lawyers get immediate notice that something is wrong. This allows our attorneys to get back on track, make it right, and - most importantly - save the client relationship.
- Third, a client value adjustment improves the quality of collaboration and level of trust between our lawyers and clients. It also increases the quality of work clients receive. This is because, none of our attorneys wants the embarrassment of having a client reduce our proposed fee. To avoid this, our lawyers take the time to work with the client at the beginning of the engagement to define the scope and cost of the legal product to be provided. This attention ensures that the cost of our legal services match our client's objectives.
- Fourth, the most important reason for providing this client value adjustment is that it demonstrates our commitment to our clients, our confidence in delivering top-shelf legal services, and our willingness to invest in client relationships.
Future Legal Discounts: We are committed to establishing life-long relationships with our clients. And one of the best examples of our commitment is our discounts for future services. An example of how this works is that for certain legal engagements, we will provide a flat fee that will include a certain amount to be paid at the time legal services are provided and another amount that must be paid, interest fee, within an agreed upon time, usually one year. But this second amount is subject to reductions for future legal services we provide to you within an agreed upon time frame. For example, assume we enter into a flat fee agreement of $50,000 and agree that it will be paid as follows: $30,000 at the time the legal services are provided and $20,000 to be paid within one year after the retention agreement is signed. This principal amount ($20,000) will be reduced by an agreed upon percentage (up to one-half of the principal amount) in an amount equal to a percentage of future legal services provided to you. The end result is that you are financially rewarded for continued use of our legal services.
Flat Fee Agreements: In representing our clients, we operate on a simple premise: Create results and value for our customers at a fair price. We often offer our customers upfront legal pricing to help them control their expenses. These are not estimates – they are prices. If a job takes us more time than we anticipated – we pay for it, not our customers. In contrast, other law firms will generally offer only an hourly rate with no commitment as to how many hours you will be billed – essentially you pay however long it takes. And if a lawyer doesn't have the experience to tell you how long or how much a matter will cost, is that the lawyer you want representing your legal interests?
Military Discounts: Our friends and family have and continue to serve in the U.S. Military. It is hard to fully appreciate the sacrifices our military personnel have and routinely make for our country. But in recognition of those sacrifices, we provide U.S. military personnel and veterans with discounted legal services.
More Law. Less Fees: As a Midwest law firm, E-Business Counsel, PLC operates in a lower cost legal environment than other larger legal markets. And with technology and experience, we are able to provide legal services at a more competitive rate than those legal markets. Also, our law firm is a lean operation: We don't maintain a political action committee funded through its attorneys. We also do not have luxury suites with any of the Metro-Detroit sport franchises. The downside for our clients is that we don't pretend to offer political access and we can't offer any "free" tickets or concerts. The upside is that the cost of these "freebies" never creep into our clients' legal fees in order to cover overhead. Besides, do you really want to pay a premium for legal fees simply to get "free" tickets to see the Detroit Lions?
It is our experience that the most rewarding and productive attorney-client relationship is built on trust and a genuine interest in our client’s success. And the preceding are just a few examples of how we demonstrate our interest in your success.