A judge’s ruling last week* illustrates which of the above two alternatives is better for the client company.
The court, after reviewing a law firm’s bill in a bankruptcy case, found that AmLaw 100 firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP** had overcharged its debtor client by about $1 million. On a $6.3 million bill†.
Lessons for a client company engaging a law firm:
1. Define the task and sub-tasks before work begins, to maximize the likelihood that the lawyers will understand exactly what you want — and that you will be able to make them accountable for following your wishes.
2. Identify by name or by experience-level which attorney will do what part of the task, to assure promised quality of representation, and to avoid paying partners and other senior attorneys for simple tasks.
3. Make your legal costs predictable by agreeing on the total fee in advance rather than agreeing to pay by the hour (perhaps with a bonus formula based on results). Continue reading