Law Technology News
February 26, 2013
1. March 05, 2013 06:58 AM
In my development of "The Proportionality Triangle" Game last year, I really got down into the data when it comes to cost predictability on the discovery side of the house. I built spreadsheet models that accommodate a wide range of variables, defensibility requirements, preservation strategy, culling strategy, search strategy, technology treatments to the data such as TAR. My conclusion was much like Mr. Flaherty's (in the discovery sense)...reasonably accurate budgets are possible, at least on the discovery side.
2. February 27, 2013 12:32 PM
"Lawyers, as a group, are also less apt to recognize such shortcomings because we are the poster children for self-serving bias — the systematic tendency to attribute our successes to our personal merit, but attribute our failures to situational factors beyond our control."
See: "Fundamental Attribution Error" This is a nearly universal human trait.
The flip side of this bias is the belief that others fail due to personal shortcomings rather than as a result of confronting the same situational factors the observer uses to excuse his own failures.
3. February 27, 2013 11:01 AM
I personally think that simply asking a law firm to create a budget is unfair. Clients have a responsibility to provide the firm with details of what it is that they are looking for. When someone undertakes a house renovation with a contractor.. you have specific details, expectations, timelines and costs. Budgets for legal work should not be any different. I would be concerned if a law firm in today’s market place responded saying that they cannot provide a budget estimate. Most firms understand the new market conditions and the power buyers of legal services hold. A law firms response demonstrates to the client the firms proposed game plan and what the client should expect. Anything less then a reasonable, predictable plan is sub-optimal and the client should look elsewhere.
I think that gone are the days where a law firm, particularly one that a client has used numerous times before, would list a thousand and one excuses as to why it can’t put a budget together. Sophisticated buyers of legal services in today’s tight and competitive market will say that If your firm CAN’T ( or is unwilling to) provide me with a budget… then I will find someone who CAN.
I agree with asking for background material around how a firm came up with its budget. It may shed some interesting insight into how the firm manages a clients work and may also identify factors that a client may have missed. I think corporate clients have started to use budgets as an alternative to a much larger and drawn out RFP processes. I think there is a trend in that budgets are being used as reverse bids where multiple firms bid on a piece of legal work.
— Richard Brzakala
4. February 27, 2013 08:33 AM
What about alternative fee arrangements? What role does technology play there? Are more clients asking for AFA? This blog has some insight into the matter but what are your thoughts? http://fir.mx/1598eIO
5. February 26, 2013 01:27 PM
It would be the subject of a much longer article, but I don't currently utilize flat fees (not that I have an objection to them). In general, the primary reward that I can offer is additional work.
— D. Casey Flaherty