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A Common Sense Approach to Legal Service Pricing

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The cost of sophisticated Big Law services has risen dramatically over the last few decades. Big Law attorneys frequently charge over $1,000/hour for their services, and junior associates in the $500-$600 range. As a result, companies that need sophisticated litigation and discovery services have often sought out alternative fee arrangements (AFAs). Unfortunately, in most (if not nearly all) cases, AFAs have not been a true solution to high-cost legal services. Big Law legacy business models create a high-cost “chassis,” and no matter the body style put on top, their high input costs mean the fee will be high as well.  Even worse, a common feature in many AFA agreements is a “true up” provision that kicks in if the actual cost incurred via a  billable model is materially higher than the AFA, exposing the illusory cost savings of many AFA agreements.

The Hilgers Graben Difference

Hilgers Graben takes a different approach. We use a variety of common sense business principles – principles that will sound familiar to in-house counsel and which have successfully been deployed in other industries – to dramatically drive down costs while delivering sophisticated litigation and discovery services from multi-lawyer teams. A true AFA approach injects a level creativity and flexibility that drives true cost savings for the client. Driven by its low-cost business-model, and pioneering and innovative spirit, Hilgers Graben has created a number of different AFA approaches. For example:

Volume-Based Fee Structure

Provide unique volume based fee structures that ratchet costs down over time. Where the firm has a sufficient volume of specific type of matter (e.g., subpoena responses or litigation types), we build systems internally to handle the work at maximum efficiency.

Fixed Yearly Fees

Take on entire litigation portfolios from clients for fixed yearly fees. This helps drive down the cost of each individual case, while giving budget certainty to clients.

Multi-Year Rate Locks

Provide true, multi year rate locks. Most big firms have annual fee increases, and every lawyer on a particular matter will have their rate increased in turn. In the appropriate case or arrangement, we can create multi year rate locks to give rate certainty to our clients for the life of the matter.

Task-Based Flat Fees

Devise bespoke flat fees for particular clients for specific tasks. For example, a client may conduct a specific trademark clearance analysis; after our team is acclimated to the preferred structure we can duplicate the same analysis and provide a flat fee for each one we perform.

Case Bundling

Use our expertise at bundling cases (from one or multiple clients and for the same or different types of matters) into a single litigation funding portfolio leading to zero cost or risk to our clients who participate in the funding.

Low Billing Arrangements

Enter into low cost billing arrangements for low value cases commensurate with risk and service those cases with (supervised) younger attorneys. Doing so allows us to provide training opportunities to our team, helps us learn and deepen the relationship with our clients, and gives the client optionality and cost certainty regarding smaller matters, all while ensuring that the quality remains high and the case handled appropriately.

These are only a few examples. Because of our cost model, we often are limited only by the imaginations of the firm and our clients. We welcome a creative discussion as to whether the firm can create an AFA that works for you. For more email us at [email protected].