Once upon a time, professionals of all stripes—including lawyers—believed that they were in charge of a client’s or patient's affairs. In their view, the client’s role was to watch from the sidelines, say little or nothing, and pay the bills. Over the past 40 years, in law, medicine, engineering, and accounting, this traditional model has gradually given way to a more participatory approach. Increasingly, clients take an active part in shaping the legal work, even asking questions about how the fee is determined and expecting value-based pricing of legal services.
Good lawyers will always have greater professional expertise than clients—particularly in the dispute resolution field. But that doesn't mean that clients should be bystanders. Clients should be actively involved in developing a dispute resolution strategy. Executives and managers not only have expertise in the subject matter of the lawsuit; they also have a better grasp of their organization’s interests and the ability to assess various options for satisfying them. In-house counsel, who function as the liaison between the organization and the law firm, typically have an essential understanding of the interplay between business objectives and the legal framework. Most of the time, they decide which firm to hire and need to know how to negotiate the scope of work and compensation.
The Proactive Client is devoted to assisting business managers and in-house counsel proactively manage legal risk by helping the organization develop legal risk management practices and actively engage in the strategic resolution of legal disputes.
How will we provide this assistance?
First, we want you, the client representative, to have an understanding of your rights and the lawyer’s responsibilities toward you. To help with this, we will explain the lawyer’s basic fiduciary duties of loyalty and care. We will introduce the Rules Of Professional Conduct, which spell out how those fiduciary duties apply to communication, legal fees, competency, conflicts of interest, and more. And we will provide guidance on what you should look for (and refuse to accept) in an engagement letter, how to analyze legal bills, and how to evaluate the quality of services you receive.
Second, we will provide a guide to legal risk management, with which you can take charge of dispute prevention, legal risk intelligence, and strategic dispute resolution.
Third, we will introduce the fundamentals of negotiation analysis and practice as they apply to the negotiated resolution of disputes.
Fourth, we will share the theory and practice of case assessment, with which you can help estimate the financial value and risk of a lawsuit, whether your organization is the plaintiff or defendant. Win Before Trial welcomes your participation in the development of this page. We want to respond to your needs and address your concerns. To that end, we invite you to comment on individual posts and articles, to suggest topics we should address, and to contribute your own posts on legal issues from the client’s perspective.