The “Flex lawyer”, for tailor-made solutions
Most law firms work in a highly traditional manner: the firm accepts advisory or trial cases for an agreed-upon hourly fee, the diverse activities are executed at the office, and the services provided are of an excellent quality. This traditional method is both clear and transparent and will continue to be around.
However, in some cases the market requires a more modern, more flexible approach. We want to respond to these new developments with a new, additional service.
What does the Flex lawyer concept entail, exactly? And how does it differ from the more traditional approach? The word “Flex” says it all: the Flex lawyer is flexible and adjusts – more than is customary – to the client’s wishes about how to use his knowledge and experience, for instance on location, for extended periods of time, on an interim basis, etc. (see below). These assignments are usually spread out over the long term, which allows for a tempering of the overall compensation costs.
And what is the added value the Flex lawyer has to offer? The fact that the services are tailor-made to the client’s needs and wishes is a unique approach. The Flex lawyer is also a fully trained attorney, meaning that he doesn’t merely have all the required knowledge of legislation and jurisprudence, but is also a seasoned litigator. These factors make the Flex lawyer an excellent aid in negotiations, drawing up agreements, and assessing paperwork, because he knowns the common bottleneck issues and can anticipate how judges will respond to something. This knowledge greatly benefits the agreement phase. In addition, the Flex lawyer is part of a larger firm, where all the legal experts keep each other on their professional toes, where they can deliberate on cases if necessary, and where the continuity of the service is always guaranteed. Finally, if the client decides that a lawsuit has become unavoidable, it is a quite (cost-)efficient method to have a flex lawyer on hand who is already intimately familiar with the case and can ¬– using traditional approaches, if necessary – instantly launch the procedure.
Flex lawyers can be hired for project-based work, interim work, (in-house) trainings, and work on basis of subscriptions, among other things. Let’s clarify this with some examples:
- A foreign investor acquired a real estate portfolio and has three weeks to perform the due diligence. He looks for legal support to do this, but realises that the task requires on-site activities as well as office work. And it would actually be useful to have one less experienced lawyer on the project. A firm or team will accept this reasonably clear-cut assignment as a project for a fixed price.
- A retail chain wishes to expands the number of its locations in Europe but can’t estimate how much time and effort will go into the legal work every month – it just seems like a lot. This assignment is accepted by a specially-formed legal team with all the relevant experience, for a certain compensation for every finished location. The parties agree that if the number of hours worked skyrockets or, conversely, if the duties require much less work than expected, they will apply a retroactive settlement. They also record clear agreements about travel expenses.
- A company is trying to solve the temporary understaffing in its legal department. A lawyer is asked to support the company for a certain period of time. This could be compensated for by an hourly rate, or by fixed (tiered) pricing. Does the one lawyer not suffice? Then they simply request a second one. Very flexible, and the company doesn’t need to hire new personnel itself.
- A start-up or a company that doesn’t employ a legal team needs some primary legal support. The company doesn’t want any complex advisory briefs, but is looking for quick advice, short strategic meetings, or a legal sparring partner. The company is also deterred by the standard hourly legal fees, which they consider to be a bit on the steep side. This company takes out a subscription for a fixed, monthly sum. Now, the company can submit all the quick legal questions it wants.
- A company notices that they run into the same legal issues time and time again, and they would also like to have some additional training for their staff. The company looks for a specialised attorney that would be willing to provide in-house trainings. The employees can then apply their newly-acquired knowledge in practice, and the issue is resolved completely. Trainings are offered by the hour, by the part of the day, every week/month/year.
As you can see, the Flex lawyer will support your company exactly the way you want them to.