My clients are sophisticated people from all around the globe who have tremendous amounts of assets. Often, these clients are not American, but they own assets in the United States. To manage these assets, they have multiple lawyers from various law firms each handling specific legal matters tied to these assets and the acquisition of new assets as well. One lawyer handles their real estate transactions, another lawyer handles the litigation tied to the assets, another lawyer handling the trust and estate work, another lawyer handing the hedge fund and investor management, an accountant, and other lawyers handling various aspects of the law and accounting– it’s a million different things going on at the same time. And costs can balloon quickly– that’s a very real fear that people have! So to simplify the process of hiring lawyers without worrying about getting billed who knows how much after who knows how long, I created the Corporate Assignment Form, and that’s what I use for my clients, in order to satisfy the issue of how much legal services are going to cost them. And it’s proven to be an extremely successful system, for my firm and for the clients.
I’ll give you an example of how this assignment form works. The form itself is very simple: it’s got the client’s name, address, which corporation or individual is being billed for the services, and then there are three lines to give us a very general description of what legal services he’s seeking or what problem he’s looking solve. The client fills this out, sends it back to me, and I figure it out based on the information provided: not only the estimated number of hours that it’s going to take to do it, but also who will be assigned to the case – which lawyer or lawyers, whether they’re from my own firm or a different firm – everything that needs to be involved in this case. And, at the end, how much it’s going to cost. I send that completed form back to the client by email, and all they need to do is check off “approved” and we proceed to do the work. Or, of course, the client doesn’t want to spend that money, and I say “good luck” and we part ways there.
The point is that this form alleviates a lot of the fears that people have about ballooning lawyer costs, because they can see from the outset exactly what work is estimated to be necessary and how many hours approximately are going to be billed.
Now, this isn’t a proprietary form. Anybody can do this. But most lawyers don’t do it, because they don’t know or care who the client is – they just want the money. They’re not investing in the relationship. Most of my time is spent investing in the relationship. I don’t try to make the most possible money on every single little deal. I try to provide the best service. Helping to demystify lawyer fees using the Corporate Assignment Form is one of the ways I try to provide that service, so that way the clients stay loyal to me and they always understand what I’m doing.