For many business leaders, engaging with an experienced outside lawyer would provide them with valuable insights and advice to help protect and grow their enterprises. The problem is that
in most traditional law firm billing arrangements, the clock is ticking, and business leaders are incentivized to end conversations with their lawyers as quickly as possible to avoid racking up billable hours.
A solution is emerging, however. Some law firms are now delivering cutting-edge “concierge legal services,” which allow clients to access a range of on-demand legal services for a monthly or annual price.
Concierge legal arrangements offer clients—particularly start-up companies or mature businesses with few or no in-house lawyers—a number of advantages. And as we have discovered via our own concierge legal practice at Guzov LLC, clients and outside lawyers enjoy a more seamless and closer business relationship when worries about billable hours are set aside.
The Problem With Billable Hours
Hourly billing arrangements pose a number of challenges for clients. First is the expense. Rates for high-quality lawyers continue to climb, and because legal matters can be unpredictable, budgeting for legal fees is often difficult. Unforeseen legal expenses can be an especially significant problem for corporate leaders concerned about valuation—such as an emerging company or a business seeking financing or a merger or acquisition.
Companies are also less likely to take a proactive approach to legal risk if they are concerned about billable hours. Worried about fees, a client may wait until a legal issue approaches a crisis stage instead of reaching out to their lawyer in advance and taking preventative steps to solve the problem.
Client also may feel pressure to hold back during conversations with their counsel. Although they may not understand a legal issue or want more information about the course of action they should take, clients may hesitate to ask important questions for fear of running up their bills.
For their part, lawyers who have less access to their clients are unable to gain a deeper understanding of a business and its strategic objectives. This can backfire for clients because it means the lawyers must take more time to get up to speed when critical legal issues arise.
How Concierge Legal Services Can Help
Concierge legal services are designed to offer a more flexible and affordable approach. Clients can benefit from:
• A Fixed Rate and Predictable Costs. A concierge arrangement allows clients to pay a regular fixed fee. As a result, clients are able to better predict legal expenses, thus reducing their balance sheet impact and improving the corporate budgeting process.
• Experienced Counsel on Demand. Clients can connect round the clock with an experienced counsel, who can offer business intelligence and legal advice that can improve outcomes and reduce risk as a company develops and implements its business strategy.
• A Proactive Approach to Risk Management. Having a lawyer who has a deep, ongoing relationship with the business can help clients identify and preempt risk before issues evolve into more costly legal matters.
• In-House Services at a Lower Price. A concierge arrangement provides clients with many of the services of in-house lawyers—such as drafting and reviewing documents, advising on regulatory and compliance issues, and counseling on employee matters—without the expense and time of creating and managing a corporate legal department.
• A Lawyer Who Understands Your Business. Just like an in-house counsel, a concierge attorney establishes a close relationship with the client and understands the business. This insider knowledge allows the lawyer to work faster and offer practical advice that is attuned to a company’s business and strategic goals.
Concierge legal services can provide clients with the critical support they may not be able to afford with a traditional billable hours arrangement. At Guzov LLC, we are working closely with clients to create bespoke billing solutions that meet their legal needs while advancing their business goals. To learn more about concierge legal services for your business, contact us for a consultation, or visit our practice area page, Your GC.