Time Sheets

is there another
better way?

 

Will Rogers on lawyers:

"The minute you read something and you can't understand it, you can be sure it was written by a lawyer.

Then, if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don't know just what it means, then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.

If its in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer."

 

J. Paul Getty on deals

My father said: ''You must never try to make all the money that's in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won't have many deals.''

 

Socrates on wisdom

"Wisdom begins in wonder."

"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us."

 

welcome

 

  • Message
  • Philosophy
  • Negotiating principles
  • Billing approach

 

A message...

 

Dear All:

Welcome to my new site...

With the economic downturn we experienced in 2008, the practice of law changed. The good news is that I don't think it will ever again be quite the same. I don't think clients will again accept accessive fees and double and treble billing as teams of lawyers are assigned to their projects.

The days of huge overheads driving excessive fees are waning. There is now a welcome flexibility in the marketplace. With less overhead, lawyers are now better able to provide affordable services. And relationships with clients can again become real relationships without the pressure and resulting resentment of recording time in 6-minute increments.

Ironically, this new world was the world in which I started practicing law many years ago. The circle has turned I'm looking forward to working in this much saner world!

I'm really looking forward to connecting with you and being able to help you define and reach your business goals.

Warm regards.

Michael

 

 

Philosophy about business—
and being a business lawyer...

 

  • Business is about relationships...
    People like doing business with people they like. Lawyers, therefore, must be consensus builders. And if they can't help build this consensus, they should consider getting out of the way...

  • Understanding business and negotiations...
    To be an effective business lawyer, you have to understand the nuts and bolts of business and have to understand and master the negotiation process...

  • Understanding the needs of clients...
    To be an effective lawyer, you also have to know what it is like to be the client of a lawyer. From personal experience, I can confirm that it offers a perspective that no law school teaches...

  • Understanding two broad tasks...
    Any business lawyer must understand and master these broad tasks:

    • He/she must find the most effective legal structures and relationships to allow his/her clients to reach their goals; and

    • He/she must anticipate problems that might arise and find ways to address them before they unravel the deals and relationships.

     

 

negotiation—some guiding principles...

 

  • Acting honorably is not a sign of weakness...
    To the contrary, acting honorably and reasonably in a negotiation is a sign of strength—particularly when it is made a condition for moving forward...

  • An opening statement and request...
    I like to open a negotiation by saying that we will not ask the other side for anything that we would not accept if we were in their position. I ask them to approach the negotiations in the same spirit. Whether or not they agree, this allows you to respond to unreasonable requests with the question of whether they would accept such a provision if they were us. This tends to keep everyone reasonable...

  • A negotiation is a window...
    Look through that window and each side will see what it will be like to do business together after the deal is done. Those who behave poorly in a negotiation will almost always behave poorly after the deal is done. And those who negotiate honorably and fairly are more likely to act honorably and fairly after the deal is done...

  • What is "success" in a negotiation...
    Many measure success in a negotiaiton as the closing of a deal they want. I don't share this approach. For me, success can only be measured some time after the deal is done. Success is when the deal you have negotiated operates smoothly with nobody regretting the deal they've done. Success is where no litigation is threatened and where the parties want to continue to do business together and expand their relationship.

 

 

Billing approach...

 

  • Where possible, fixed fees...
    I prefer to work on a fixed fee on a project-by-project basis. Clients prefer the certainty of knowing what a project will cost. If the project takes longer than is anticipated, I will bear the risk. For doing so, I would request that the agreed fee is paid when work on the project begins.

  • Otherwise, hourly...
    Where it isn't possible to anticipate the time a project will take, e.g. when the project is a negotiation and there is no way to anticipate how long it might take, I will bill on an hourly basis. In these cases, I will keep you informed of the time the project is taking.

  • Telephone calls, postage, faxes...
    Whether billing on a fixed fee or hourly basis, I will not charge for telephone calls unless the call is 15 minutes or longer. I want to encouage you to call if you think you are facing a problem if just if you want to brainstorm. I also will not charge for postage and faxes.

  • Travel...
    For travel outside Los Angeles, we would agree on a per diem fee.