Hiring an attorney can be a stressful and daunting experience. A brief search online will return dozens of nearly identical law firm websites all claiming to be able to help you solve your problem. So how do you pick the right one? Why should you pick me over the alternatives?
If you haven’t already noticed, most every law firm website has a disclosure stating that the quality of legal services provided by them are not better than other attorneys. Not only is this disclosure required by law, but there is a practical reason behind this as well: Legal services are held to such a high standard, that there is practically little difference from hiring one attorney or another.
Lawyers are required to complete an undergraduate degree, complete a graduate-level law degree, pass a onerous bar exam, and pass a character and fitness review prior to even being licensed to practice law. After becoming licensed, attorneys are required to abide by ethical requirements and complete more than a dozen hours of continuing education hours every year just to keep their license active. When we approach cases, we have to start from scratch every single time re-learning an area of law and applying it to the facts. If we cut corners or make assumptions, we might miss some new development or misapply the correct law.
These requirements are to ensure that the quality of legal services provided in the state are of the highest quality, regardless of which attorney performs them. This means that the most critical decisions in hiring an attorney will not be how good a lawyer is, but how that lawyer delivers legal services.
While I hold myself to the highest standards of the legal profession, I strive to differentiate my practice from those of other attorneys in the way that I practice and the way that I work with my clients.
Unlike most attorneys, I have a non-legal skill set that helps me to address issues specific to small businesses. As one of the few practicing attorneys with an M.B.A., I am able to address questions relating to business valuation, M&A strategy, marketing, and business formation on a deeper level. This allows me to not only advise what can legally be done, but what should be done in a particular circumstance.
Most attorneys still keep a paper file in their office and will make a copy for you at your request, and at your expense. I, however, keep a 100% electronic case file, and I provide unrestricted access to your case file using a confidential online portal called Clio. This means that you access your file any time of day or night at no additional expense and without having to set up an appointment and make a trip to our office. After all, it is your file.
Most lawyers are notoriously slow to adopt new technology. In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that the American Bar Association is now requiring technological competency in its Model Rules. I use technology in almost every part of my practice for one reason: to make it easier for you work with me without sacrificing quality or confidentiality.
I use hundreds of forms, templates, go-bys, apps, and macros to fulfill this goal. As I still utilize the billable hour in much of my practice, this means that the time I spend working on a matter is time spent analyzing the legal issues and consequences of particular decisions, and not formatting a document. This also means that you aren’t having to pay a secretary or paralegal to format those same documents.
Approximately 40% of my firm’s revenue is from alternative fee arrangements. Most Alabama attorneys do not accept alternative fees of any kind. Alternative fee arrangements are fees that are not based an hourly rate. These can be contingency fees, performance fees, flat fees, and other fees that are not based on the time spent on the case.
I use a wide variety of alternative fee arrangements depending on the matter. These alternatives to the hourly rate encourage efficiency instead of bill churning. These arrangements also make it significantly easier to budget for legal services.
If you have ever worked with a large law firm, you might have experienced the difficulty actually getting your attorney on the phone or getting an appointment. Unlike those attorneys, I pick up the phone when you call. If I can’t answer the phone, I return calls within 24 hours, and often by the end of the day. I answer any questions personally, so you will have a single point of contact, and will never be bounced from department to department. I even make house calls.
If you’re looking for an attorney that can work with you on your terms, chances are, you’ve found your man. If you’d like to learn more, give me a call at 205-545-7278 or set up an initial consult today.