Cost predictability and value for money
Business Legal is first and foremost an efficient business service. We understand business, the need for cost certainty and cost predictability, the need for cash flow management, and the need to evaluate the cost benefit proposition before a project is embarked upon. We understand that businesses may have different cost centres, and profit centres, and that a project which represents value for one part of the business, may not represent value for another part of the business.
From our own perspective, we value the insight that a project management approach can deliver, so that we can see where we are delivering value to clients, and efficiencies for ourselves. For this reason, we are business focused and client centred when it comes to costing projects. We have moved away from the traditional Standard Open Quote, the open ended hourly rate model much beloved of our competitors and instead concentrate on providing fixed and capped price quotes, delivering certainty and transparency on price.
We do still offer the Standard Open Quote to those clients who wish to avail of it. In fact, for each piece of work that we are asked to quote for, we provide each type of quote so the client can make an evaluation as to which quote suits it best in that particular project. We are able to do this because our pricing is open and transparent, and the same calculation as to the likely amount of time to be spent on a matter is used for our Standard Open Quote, our Fixed Price Quote, our Capped Price Quote, and our Blended Rates if any.
Standard Open Quote
This is the traditional legal quote. The project may take more or less time than envisaged in the quote, and you will be charged according to the actual amount of time spent, and the quote is therefore only a “guesstimate”. We much prefer providing certainty to our clients, for no additional cost, as set out below.
Fixed Price Quote
As it is at all times our intention to be accurate in our Standard Open Quote, and it represents our genuine informed view as to the likely cost of the project, there is no reason why that Standard Open Quote cannot be offered to you the client as a Fixed Price Quote. In a Fixed Price Quote, both parties take on some risk, as the project may take more, or less time than envisaged. We do not charge any premium for the fact of giving a Fixed Price Quote as both parties are taking some risk, and it is our genuine estimate of time to be spent.
Capped Price Quote
A Capped Price Quote means that you will not be charged more than the Capped Price Quote, but may be charged less. Some firms operate a hidden policy, whereby miraculously all projects reach or exceed the capped amount of time quoted. Business Legal is more transparent than this. Business Legal charges a 10% premium on the rates applied to a Capped Price Quote, to compensate for the fact that the risk is on one side only. Having thus factored in the one-sided nature of this arrangement, Business Legal is scrupulous in charging only the time actually spent on the project.
A Blended Rate is a “one size fits all” solution when multiple fee earners are on a project. Instead of quoting each rate separately (for example 5 hours @€295, and 10 hours at €145 [total €2,925], the quote would be a Blended Rate for 15 hours = €2,925/15= €195 per hour). This Blended Rate has the effect of pushing the work down the line meaning that you don’t get charged lots of more expensive time, when the work could be done at a more junior level.
We can therefore also offer a Capped Blended Rate, where the rate quoted is a blended rate, but the fee is capped.
We do not negotiate discounts on an ad hoc basis. Because our service is already discounted with regard to our competitors, there are a number of things we do differently. Our invoices are due from the date of issue, although we do understand that it takes some time for accounts receivable admin to be completed by you, the client. We offer discounts for defined, commercial reasons as set out below only.
Many of our competitors use retainer fees as a facility whereby the client pays for an underutilised service. In many cases, the client does not get value for money, as they do not use the entirety of their retainer. There is no incentive to the client to use a retainer fee structure, but it is sold to them by our competitors on the basis of having availability to legal advice without the hassle of setting up client matters, purchase orders etc.
At Business Legal, we recognise the value to us of having a predictable cash flow input from our clients. This cash flow predictability is obviously also a benefit to clients. As an additional incentive, we offer clients a 5% discount on time utilised in a retainer. At the end of each calendar year, we reconcile the retainer fees received with the actual time spent on matters within the scope of the retainer. Matters are reconciled on or about 15 December, or such later date in December as you specify. This once yearly reconciliation reduces the amount of administration time spent on matters within the scope of the retainer. If fees due are significantly in excess of the reteiner fee, we reserve the right to reconcile at an earlier date.
Brand association discounts
If we wish to be associated with your brand in our promotional material and pitch documentation, we can offer a discount of up to 5% per annum.
If we have received fees of more than €35,000 from you in a calendar year, we will give a discount of 5% of those fees which are in excess of €35,000 at the end of the calendar year. This is in relation to fees received by 15th December, or such later date in December as you specify.
Each of the discounts above is cumulative, so any particular client can achieve a discount of up to 15% on our standard rates. Our standard rates are themselves discounted by approximately 25% to the market rate.
Discount applies to all types of fees.
Discounts can be applied to Fixed or Capped Quotes also. They can also be applied to Blended rates. Provided the spend is in excess of €35,000 per calendar year, the volume discount will be applied on all fees received in excess of €35,000. Retainer discount applies to all fees where the time occurred in the particular month during the time that the retainer applied. Brand discount applies to all fees paid while the brand discount is in force.
Our current rates for 2018. Rates have been updated from January 2018.
Our rates are:
Lawyers qualified over 10 years – €395 ph
Business consultants – €255 ph
Regulatory Compliance specialists – €255 ph
Lawyers qualified from 5 to 10 years – €215 ph
Lawyers qualified less than five years – €175 ph
Paralegals – €125 ph