At Impresa, we have tried to go back to the basics of practicing law. We are experienced practitioners who provide legal advice and counseling to a select clientele at fair, reasonable, and predictable rates. While we will always give you the most accurate budget estimate we can and we manage each engagement as a project, we know that there is not a “one-size” solution for every client or even every matter we handle for individual clients. We know your business operates on a budget and so do we. Therefore, we employ a number of approaches to payment for our services.
Yes, we use hourly rates. While there has been a trend away from hourly rates, in some cases the “alternative fee” or “value billing” methodologies can actually be less advantageous to clients from a purely financial perspective. We know billable hour invoicing is not perfect, but in many cases hourly rates are the better alternative for some of our clients, especially considering the experience of our team. We are all legal professionals with years and years of practice in a wide range of environments. Our billable rates do not carry a learning curve and our billable rates include a relatively low overhead. There is value built into our hourly rates. With that said, in many cases, we begin with a billable hour methodology and then switch to one of the alternatives once we have a better sense for the situation and the actual risks and rewards related to the legal services rendered to you the client.
Hourly Rates with a Cap
In all cases we will provide you with a budget based on the then known facts and objectives. In some cases, where we agree upon hourly rates, it is appropriate to set a cap or a not-to-exceed amount. Talk to us and let’s see if a cap is appropriate for you.
Tiers and Milestones
As noted above we often begin engagements with hourly rates, and then based on a better understanding of the facts and circumstances, the risks and rewards, and your client objectives, we can move to tiered fees and milestones. We’ve learned from our clients who run successful businesses that predictability, meeting milestones, and performance are instrumental in cementing a solid working relationship. So in many cases, we are able to lay out a project plan and then work that plan. For example, recently a client requested a research memorandum that would lead to drafting of a demand against an opposing party. We suggested that instead of drafting a memorandum, we spend an agreed upon number of hours to actually draft the demand and in drafting the demand we would understand the client’s likelihood of success. The client felt like this approach gave them a “head start” on making a go/no go decision. The client liked the work product and ultimately gave us the green light to move forward. A tiered fee/milestone approach allows clients to control legal spend within certain parameters and then make choices as to the best use of legal resources as the project unfolds.
In some cases it is appropriate to share the risk of a particular engagement with you the client. In these cases, we can offer reduced hourly rates, and then if we achieve certain objectives the client provides a success fee that covers the full cost of our hourly rates and includes an additional agreed-upon amount as part of our share in your success. Success fee structures are relatively rare in our practice, but we are flexible in meeting the needs of our clients.
Fixed Monthly and Flat Rates
As noted above, while in many cases we begin client relationships with billable hours, we have found over time that many clients prefer to move to monthly fees or flat fees. Monthly fees are most practical for clients who utilize us as “Outside General Counsel” to address most or all of their legal needs. In these cases, we identify core counseling functions that are covered by the monthly fee and we intentionally exclude items that are beyond the monthly fee. Flat fees can be used in cases where there is a defined volume of like matters where efficiencies can be built into the process of providing the advice you need. We look at flat fees from a perspective of fairness – fairness to us and fairness to you.
Outside General Counsel/Flexible Law Department/All Inclusive
The Flagship of the fixed monthly and flat rates described above is our Outside General Counsel/Flexible Law Department/All Inclusive support to those companies who either do not have a General Counsel or have a small in-house legal team. For a fixed monthly fee, Impresa can provide day to day strategic counseling and routine legal services that are tailored to your meet a particular client’s legal needs. The fixed monthly fee would not include major transactions or litigation, but Impresa will only undertake non-fixed fee work based upon the client’s specific approval. Clients can even utilize Impresa’s Outside General Counsel/Flexible Law Department program on an Interim-GC basis or to fill-in for an in-house counsel on an extended leave. Impresa lawyers have been General Counsels before and have years of practical problem solving solutions to your legal risks and opportunities. We will work with you to determine the right scope of service and the right monthly fee.
At Impresa, we’ve done what we can to reduce the costs of providing you quality legal services. In many engagements, there are reimbursible costs. But we will not charge you for any costs you have not approved. We will not charge you for routine costs — like long distance (cell phones, Skype, or your secured communications systems work fine for us), or faxes (does anyone use faxes anymore?), or on-line legal research.