How do you structure fees to fit client needs?
San Francisco business litigation attorney, Bahram Seyedin-Noor, talks about how he can suit his clients’ needs in designing certain fee structures to accommodate them.
Phone: (415) 868-5602
Structuring fees for clients is one of the most important things that we do at the engagement stage. And because we’re a litigation boutique, we have a lot more flexibility in structuring fees that really fit our client’s needs. If a client comes to us and would like advice on whether to pursue a particular claim be it a trades secret dispute or a securities claim we always make it a point to see if we can align our incentives and have our fee structure reflect the fact that we may be giving advice that they pursue a claim. So the first issue is just aligning incentives, which can be done through success fee, it can be done through other measures that align fees with the outcome of the litigation.
The second measure is transparency. We are very, very upfront with our clients about what we think the actual budget will be for a lawsuit. And it’s happened in the past, it doesn’t happen often but it has happened where initially the client thought that the budge we provided was a little above what their expectation was for the matter. And then they came back four months later because they ended up hiring a firm that wasn’t realistic with them. They were unsatisfied then they came back to us and they realized that the budget that we’d provided was actually the actual budget for the matter. So we’re pretty up front about what fees would be for a matter ’cause if you’re not and you lack that transparency then you’re not doing your client a service and people will find out sooner or later what the actual budget is.
There are other ways of controlling costs other than not being upfront about what the actual litigation costs can be and those are what we really try to pursue is those other ways of structuring the engagement. Whether it’s a fixed fee engagement or whether there are limitations on how much can be billed per month all these are tools that we can use to make sure that the client’s objectives are achieved in the fee structure that we agree to.