Legal costs can quickly spiral out of control when attorneys are allowed to proceed on an open mandate of instruction that is based on per hour billing.
Having an undefined scope and budget for a legal project may eventually lead to the bill far exceeding the real value of the professional services provided by legal practitioners.
“This is a risk that has severely tainted the legal profession over the years. It largely stems from an outdated approach to legal practice. Attorneys have previously failed to present clients with the proposed solutions to their legal problems from a project-management perspective. This is despite a clarion call by both businesses and individuals for a more pragmatic approach that will provide certainty right from the outset of a legal project,” Mahube Mogashoa, a representative of Argumentum Legal Services, says.
Mogashoa, a self-proclaimed “legal reformer”, is part of a new generation of legal practitioners who are redefining “reasonable expectations” by providing agile, client focused legal services.
The Argumentum team of legal practitioners has refined its project-management skills and methodology to find ways in which to eradicate client uncertainty, especially in terms of legal fees and budget scope for a specific instruction.
She points to the recognised benefits for clients in providing detailed proposals that plainly describe the relevant legal processes, as well as alternative options and associated costs involved in carrying out the required work.
“They provide clear project phases, timelines and contract-management stages. Importantly, they also contain fixed-fee estimates for particular actions that are reasonably expected throughout the legal process. These actions include a project design phase, client’s approval, the initial scope of work and all foreseeable steps to be taken to reach the desired outcomes,” Mogashoa says.
The primary purpose of the Argumentum client proposal, is to give every client a clear picture of the required actions to be taken and resources to be allocated to achieve a specific desired outcome.
However, Argumentum remains determined to avoid the profession’s bad habit of “solutionising”. This is an approach often adopted during the first client consultation and
entails suggesting a quick solution that eventually requires drastic alterations later on in the process.
The Argumentum Periodical Progress Report on the status of a client’s legal project also stands in stark contrast to the practice adopted by most attorneys who only interact with their clients as and when the case develops, or when they require specific information.
As Mogashoa notes, traditional service models tend to contribute towards the minefield of uncertainty, considering that clients are largely left in the dark as to what further steps will be taken by their legal representatives.
Importantly, Argumentum’s fixed-fee estimates have also greatly assisted in managing clients’ budgets for a particular instruction by eliminating “bloated” invoices.
Notably, the firm also informs its clients of any variations to the fee estimates, thus, ensuring that they do not incur unforeseen costs over-and-above the budgeted amount.
“Innovation will remain a key focus for Argumentum. This has enabled us to break traditional boundaries in the legal industry and retain our strategic competitive edge. We encourage emerging legal practitioners and industry associations to explore collaboration opportunities with us,” she concludes.