Boutique Firms Can Yield Big Benefits
When it comes to choosing a law firm to achieve its goals, a client has many things to consider. There are several benefits in utilizing a well-run smaller law firm which specializes in the type of legal work at issue. First and foremost is that the partner in charge will be intimately familiar with the case. Many duties will be delegated appropriately to an associate or legal assistant as a means of saving client money. Utilizing staff with the lowest hourly rate competent to perform the task at hand not only is less costly. It gets the work done more quickly and efficiently. In a small firm, the partner is reviewing the work of his subordinates, staying abreast of activity on the case and planning case approach and strategy. He directs the legal work to meet the client’s goals in accordance with their mutual litigation strategy. When a client wants to speak to the partner in charge of their case, they know who he is, how to contact him, and can be assured that he is familiar with their case and the direction in which it is heading.
The familiarity with the file which a small firm breeds yields further benefits when the case is prepared for trial. When the partner assigns out tasks like creating the trial notebook or drafting motions in limine, the legal assistant and associate have a history, context and familiarity upon which to draw in completing assignments. Trial counsel similarly benefits from his familiarity with the case as he prepares for direct and cross examinations, opening and closing statements, evidentiary issues and the like. The well-prepared small-firm attorney draws confidence from his mastery of the facts of the case, something which may be absent from counsel in a larger firm where several attorneys may have been performing discrete tasks without a constant broad overview to guide the case.
Small firms, niche practices
Small firms can’t compete with larger firms is in the breadth of legal areas covered. A client should be justifiably suspicious of a small firm claiming expertise in a dozen or more areas of the law. In this era of legal complexity, specialization has become the order of the day as a matter of necessity to keep up with changes and nuances in any given field of law. The parallel to modern medicine is obvious.
In this office, for example, the focus is on products liability, including medical devices. Clients and lawyers benefit from that focus. The firm has been designed from inception and continues to be refined to deliver the benefits of a streamlined, technologically-efficient, focused practice. When clients choose counsel intimately familiar with a particular area of law, they reap the benefits in several ways. First, they benefit from the firm’s experience dealing with this type of case. Counsel can advise the client early on what the likely course of the case will be. Armed with that knowledge, a case plan can be developed in conjunction with the client according to their goals in the litigation. When a nuance of products liability law is raised, the firm can rely upon its particularized knowledge of the issue and practical experience to deal with it in the first instance and guide any further research necessary on it. The client benefits in the form of more reasonable legal fees, reliable opinions and productive litigation strategy. The wheel need not be reinvented and re-examined and experienced every time a new products or device case comes in. Developed form pleadings and discovery as well as proven strategies can be easily modified and deployed to best suit the specifics of a case at hand. Our centralized case management and litigation analysis systems allow easy access to case information and direction. The most important benefit is advice and direction from a knowledgeable, seasoned and specialized perspective. All of this leads to quality case- and cost-efficient representation for the client and achieving their goals.
Specialization in a few fields of law and related areas, coupled with effective use of up to date technology, makes such a small firm the functional equivalent of the same department or litigation group in a larger firm but without the disadvantages.