Feedback about Value: Two Questions for Employment Attorneys and Others in Legal System

I have two questions for you– if you are an employment attorney, paralegal or other actor routinely involved in employment-law systems (agency investigator, judge, etc., to the extent you are willing and allowed to respond)– about how to improve value in legal representation.

The two questions for you (please respond to both) are these:

(1) What can Plaintiff’s employment attorneys do to provide their clients with better value?

(2) What can Defendant’s employment attorneys do to provide their clients with better value?

You can leave your answer by clicking the Leave A Comment link below, or by emailing me at mbrown@dvglawpartner.com.

For more information about the questions and feedback I seek, please Read More.

Please note these questions ask about improvement in legal representation.  They do not assume, or ask you to assume, that low value is the norm or endemic.  Like all professions and jobs, there are a lot of attorneys doing a lot right, more than not.  But like everyone, there must be areas we attorneys should contemplate for improvement.

For example, even in many existing attorney-client relationships where there have thus far been no complaints by clients about value, the rapid evolution of technology (e.g. new case-management software, extranet services, etc.) may pressure that changes be made to improve efficiency and value.

One growing sentiment is that more attorneys should jump on the techie-train, and utilize electronic case- and document-management software. That this would increase productivity, reduce overhead, improve communications with clients, and ultimately would better-serve clients at a lower cost.

A related sentiment, gaining steam, is that more attorneys should abandon hourly-billing models, and move to “alternative” fee arrangements, such as flat fees.  If a law firm combined flat-fee billing with increased technological efficiencies, some theories hold, more value at a lower cost can be provided to the client, and more fees can be earned by the law firm, than under traditional hourly-fee arrangements.

These sort of technological, fee-system, and practice-management issues are frequently discussed (and very well at that) at attorney blogs like the Greatest American Lawyer, the [non] billable hour, My Shingle, Ross Ipsa Loquitur, Compujurist, and other resources.

The two  questions above could be answered with technical/software-based answers, but they could also be answered in many other ways.  I encourage all responses.  I just ask you keep in mind the core issue of client value, and the employment law context.

For example, maybe there’s an employment defense attorney out there (or 10,000) who think that plaintiff’s attorneys should provide more value by talking to plaintiffs more at the onset about damages limitations; that employee-plaintiffs with low damages should be discouraged from litigation.  Perhaps a plaintiff’s attorney out there agrees that low damages could lead to low client value, but thinks that plaintiff’s attorneys can provide better value to low-damages plaintiffs by referring them to low-cost or free legal resources.

Perhaps many employment attorneys on both sides of the fence are thinking that more employers and employees alike should be encouraged to mediate their cases early.

The examples/issues above are just the tip of the iceberg, I suspect, in how folks could answer the two questions above.

I suspect many answers to the two questions will be broad and basic.  Answers may involve fundamental issues like improving means of attorney-client communication, trust, disclosures upfront about expected fees and costs, problem-solving, etc.

In any event, to the employment law attorneys and legal actors out there, I would very, very much appreciate your answers to the two questions above.

You can leave a comment below, or email me at mbrown@dvglawpartner.com.  Thank you.

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