TRANSFORMATION

Transformational Law means

1  The practice of law transformed to address client demands and unprecedented changes in the economy and the legal industry.

2  Law practiced in a manner that will help clients transform themselves to overcome major changes in their industries and unprecedented macroeconomic challenges.

Transformational Law means: 1  The practice of law transformed to address client demands and unprecedented changes in the economy and the legal industry

The firm is transforming the way law is practiced to the way law was practiced before the advent of the billable hour and law firm leverage, when senior partners were personally involved in every matter and the clients’ interests were more important than the firm’s AmLaw profitability rankings.  Dramatic Changes in the Legal Industry, accelerated by current economic conditions, have made clients of all sizes demand high quality work with more affordable pricing.

Senior Partners.  A core value of our firm is that senior partners must be personally involved in every matter.  Senior partner involvement dramatically improves the quality of legal advice.  As a result, the client benefits not only from the senior partner’s deeper experience, but also from his broader perspectives (including industry expertise) than a junior partner might have.  By contrast, in large firms, leverage is the key to profitability.  Often, the relationship partner views his or her role as traffic cop, assigning matters to a responsible lawyer based on a variety of factors, some for the benefit of clients (industry or subject matter expertise) and some for the benefit of the firm (availability, proximity or profitability).   Senior partners in large firms have an economic incentive to push work down, to facilitate training, to keep junior partners and associates busy and to maximize profitability.
High Quality Work.  The firm’s senior partners have been senior partners at large national and international law firms, and have had overall responsibility for major clients, including GE Capital, Cingular and BellSouth. We understand the levels of quality that are required to satisfy the most demanding clients, and have personally provided that quality. All attorneys who are assigned to client matters have large firm experience and have worked directly with us in the past.  These attorneys have demonstrated an ability to provide legal work at the highest levels.

Value and Affordability.  Lean staffing, technology and a low cost structure make it possible for us to achieve affordability.  We keep the number of attorneys on our payroll as low possible, but have access to a wide variety of lawyers–mostly former colleagues–to work on matters as an as-needed basis.  We outsource administrative functions.  We don’t have any HR administrators, controllers, HR administrators, business development and marketing professionals, billing coordinators or other administrative staff to pay for.  We outsource non-core functions.  Our offices, conveniently located in the heart of Buckhead, are comforting but are not expensive.

Our low cost structure gives us the flexibility to tailor our billing arrangements to the desires of our clients. Affordable pricing is a by-product not only of lower hourly rates– the billing rates of Atlanta-based national firms are at least 50% higher than ours– but also flexibility.  We are able to craft a customized approach to billing that would satisfy a variety of client needs.  Examples include monthly retainers, success fees, fixed fees, blended hourly rates, caps and firm estimates, outside general counsel services, and in some cases equity for a portion of the fees.  Although many of these approaches have been endorsed by the Association of Corporate Counsel and others in the industry, in practice most big law firms still feel uncomfortable with alternative billing arrangements.   We embrace them.

Lean Staffing.  Our billing rates are lower than those of large firms, but it is not only the lower rates that give us a decided cost advantage.   Our lean staffing means that we do not have teams of Associates and Junior Partners to keep.  Therefore, we don’t have attorney salaries to pay or recoup through billings. We staff matters with the lawyers needed to get the job done efficiently and with the highest quality.  We can assign to a matter as many lawyers as are needed.  Those lawyers work only as many hours as are needed, and we pay them only for the hours they work.  When the assignment is completed, we have no further obligation to those lawyers. By contrast, In most firms, each attorney has an annual billable hour target, typically of 1,800 to 2,000 hours or more; the working attorney’s incentive is to find a way to meet the target.  If an attorney is not busy, the attorney does not contribute to the firm’s profits.  Management’s incentive is to make sure all attorneys are busy, whether or not they are the best and the brightest.  As a general rule, the greater the number of attorneys assigned to a matter, the higher is the bill for that matter so equity partners don’t complain; the higher bills help achieve their billing targets.  No one at a large firm has an economic incentive to staff leanly.
Specialty Areas.  High quality transactional, restructuring and corporate services require numerous specialists.  Large firms employ those specialists.  We access specialists in a different way.  Our firm has arrangements with top-notch lawyers in the specialty areas that support our core practice areas, such as employee benefits, tax, and environmental, among many others.  Many of these specialists practice alone or in other small firms (including boutiques with lower rates).  We also have access to specialists at regional, national or international firms, through strategic alliances.  Unlike big firm lawyers, we are not limited to our own colleagues who may or may not be the appropriate choice.  In selecting a specialist for a matter, a large firm may be influenced by factors that go beyond the client’s needs: who needs more work, who practices in the same office or who may be in the general practice area but not a specialist.  As a result, the assigned lawyer may not be the most qualified or may be overqualified (and thus more expensive).   Because we do not employ these specialists, we are able to select the appropriate lawyer for each assignment.

Depth of Resources. We have arrangements with many talented lawyers practicing alone or in small firms.  All of them have experience practicing in large firms with sophisticated practices.  We recognize that in some transactions even greater bench strength is required.  Our alliances with large firms provide us with access to as much depth as we would ever need.

Transformational Law means … 2  Law practiced in a manner that will help clients transform themselves to overcome major changes in their industries and unprecedented macroeconomic challenges.

Active involvement by our senior partners also helps our clients transform themselves to overcome major changes in their industries and unprecedented macroeconomic challenges.
Our partners have practiced long enough, at a high enough level, through a broad range of economic conditions to provide pragmatic, thoughtful advice.  This results in more holistic counseling that takes into account business, as well as legal, issues.  We have developed significant industry expertise in a variety of industries, including healthcare-related industries, technology, transportation and logistics, real estate and telecommunications.  The ability to take industry factors into account enriches the quality of our advice.   Recent economic events have presented unprecedented challenges for many clients.  For many of them this is the first time they have faced adversity of this magnitude.  But not for us; we are able to draw on our prior experiences guiding clients through the recession of 1982, Black Friday in 1987, the S&L crisis in 1990, restrictive capital markets in 1997, and the dotcom meltdown in 2001.  Now, more than ever, “gray hair” is required.  Moreover, our value-oriented billing arrangements help clients reduce their legal expenditures while maintaining or, in some cases, dramatically improving quality.
History proves that the economy is cyclical, and today’s post-recession challenges inevitably will yield to happier challenges associated with growth, including accessing capital (through debt financings and equity raises), joint ventures and other strategic relationships and M&A transactions. We are ready to help our clients survive today and thrive tomorrow