What Predictable Legal Means, and How it Can Help your Business or Practice Weather This Storm
People love a good surprise, right? Unfortunately that’s not the case when it comes to legal fees, and attorneys have historically received a bad reputation for “surprising” their clients with exorbitant bills that they were not expecting or budgeted for.
We believe that the key to a successful, modern attorney-client relationship is through what we call “Predictable Legal,” which means that these legal “surprises” would become a thing of the past. Here’s why Auxana is promoting Predictable Legal, and how it can benefit all players involved.
What “Predictable Legal” Means for Your Business
We likely don’t need to make the argument that your business needs legal advice; even if you’re not at a stage where you require full-time legal services, you probably at least call for legal assistance on a per-project basis. Here’s the great news – Most growth state companies simply don’t need a full-time attorney because there simply isn’t enough work to support that salary, which can easily cost over $200k per year. Especially during times of economic uncertainty, a full-time attorney simply doesn’t make sense.
However, when you do recognize the need for in-house legal services, you can greatly benefit from a “shared services” concept in which an attorney with expertise in your business’ distinct vertical or industry can work to support multiple companies, including yours. This “shared services” concept plays well into Auxana’s “flat fee legal”, meaning that not only does your business benefit from targeted legal expertise, but that expertise comes with an agreed-upon flat-fee structure that you’ve already budgeted for. Both your legal services and your legal fees are known in advance, preventing you from feeling like you’re left writing a blank check over to your attorney each month.
Predictable Legal also means that you’ve added a trusted advisor to your team of key players. Auxana’s outsourced GCs work to be present and cognizant of what’s actually happening within your company day-to-day. This is part of what makes a real difference in how Auxana GCs engage with clients. From getting to know your team personally to being on hand for an impromptu strategy session, having your outsourced GC present, even on occasion, can reap many benefits. When your GC understands your operations, they can recognize when there are things that can be done with contracts and processes that could not only streamline operations, but improve your bottom line. Remember that your Auxana GC isn’t just a vetted lawyer, they’re also a valuable partner who’s working with a handful of other companies like yours. They possess an epicenter of tribal knowledge. Something that’s helped improve one of their other clients’ operations may be helpful to yours – They may have some tricks for automating HR processes that cut onboarding costs and time, or they may know how to make issuing sales contracts so fast and painless that your sales cycle is meaningfully reduced.
Speaking of promoting efficiencies, our overarching goal is always to help align incentives between the business and the attorney. Auxana GCs promote the intelligent use of resources, which means economical and productive solutions leading to positive outcomes for your business. Our GCs are here to find the most efficient and transparent ways to meet your business’ goals, turning your legal department into a growth engine rather than just another cost center. This model also means that you won’t get stuck in a bad contract or with bad hire – If your Auxana attorney ends up not being a great match for your business, the monthly structure allows you to easily pivot to a different GC or option entirely. Not only does Predictable Legal promote predictable legal spend, but also predictable processes.
Attorneys Also Thrive Under Predictable Legal
Under the Predictable Legal model, the attorney is also empowered. Our “fractional executive” model helps those attorneys who are looking to kickstart their solo practice, as well as those who seek more control and flexibility over their lives. Auxana attorneys can choose to work with multiple companies at various levels of engagement, and figure out where and how they shine. Many of the attorneys we work with also find that it’s both exciting and fascinating to serve multiple companies consecutively, learning from each, and bringing their best practices to their book of business.
Simply offering reduced hourly rates does not serve the attorney. One of our primary missions at Auxana is transparency, and our goal is to help solo attorneys run their practices better by utilizing our flat-fee Outsourced General Counsel model. Tracking time in minute increments is never fun – for either client or attorney. “Billing time for simple conversations, listening to voicemails, and reading emails never made sense to me,” says Auxana CEO Beth Lebowitz. “Once the billable hour was gone, the attorney-client relationship became something very different to me and, I believe, my clients”.
Frankly, the billable hour requirements that most law firms practice incentivize flawed work ethics that don’t support the needs of growing companies. Attorneys are pushed to bill as many hours as possible, as opposed to promoting efficient, technology-backed processes. These misaligned economic incentives mean that those who succeed in this field often find it increasingly difficult to have authentic relationships with clients, while also sacrificing their lives and well-being outside of work. It also means that your success becomes tied to your time rather than your actual value, which only further diminishes what should be a very client-centric practice. A traditional law firm model is challenging for many practicing attorneys, most of whom are often burning the candle at both ends. Spending hours tied to an office worried about that billable hour quota is stressful. However, most don’t believe it’s possible to reduce their workload while still achieving their career goals. The truth is that leading an improved work-life balance actually makes you a better attorney, and you can absolutely still accomplish your desired professional ambitions.
Strength in Predictability
The Predictable Legal concept offers a superior, more collaborative rapport that benefits both businesses and attorneys alike. This model promotes the symbiotic relationship between GC and business, which helps to ensure mutual success and satisfaction across the board. Everyone’s experience is elevated once services, fees, and scope of work are simply and transparently laid out.
It’s our mission to promote Predictable Legal within the industry, and step-by-step, help bring our marketplace to a more modern and approachable standing, rain or shine.
Are you over “surprise” legal fees and services? Let us show you how easy it is to bring Predictable Legal into your business
Do you like the sound of being able to offer your clients Predictable Legal? Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help kickstart your own flat-fee legal service