FIXED FEES TO REVOLUTIONISE LEGAL SERVICES
The NSW law firm that pioneered Law 9000 Best Practice in Australia believes that experience will help it to revolutionise legal practice by transitioning to a fixed fee model across all its services.
RMB Lawyers Managing Partner Craig Osborne said fixed fee legal services would fundamentally change lawyer-client relationships, by sharing the risk with the client.
"There has always been a perception that whatever the outcome of a legal action, the lawyer is the real winner because of the fees they charge," Mr Osborne said. "But fixed fees shift part of the risk to the lawyers, while reducing the cost to the client. There is absolute transparency about fees, which creates a true partnership between lawyer and client.
"If we work fast and well, we will make money. If we do not, we won't," Mr Osborne said. "Fortunately, our experience as a test site for the implementation of Law 9000 Best Practice in Australia in 2004 means we have 10 years experience in lean delivery and fast turnaround of matters for our clients.
"We are extremely confident that this new model will work for us as well as for our clients."
Mr Osborne said the fixed fee model was not widely used in Australia despite having been highly successful in the UK.
"Some firms offer fixed fees in certain areas, such as Family Law, where they can be pretty sure of the process and how long it will take, but we are offering it across all our services," he said, adding that the firm would also continue to offer NO WIN - NO FEE in certain circumstances.
Mr Osborne said he had been inspired by the success of English firm Riverview Law, which had made major inroads into the UK's traditional legal markets by offering fixed fees and quick turnaround, as well as high tech legal services.
"People are coming to understand that high hourly rates reward slow, inefficient lawyers. We believe that with our regional roots, low cost base and experience in efficient service delivery, we can make major inroads into the legal market Australia-wide by delivering excellent legal services at a very attractive cost."
In 15 years as Managing Partner of Wollongong's oldest legal firm (established in 1885), Mr Osborne has transformed RMB into the largest regional law firm in NSW and expanded its base to include offices in Sydney, Bowral, Nowra, Kiama and Dapto.
The fixed fees model, which comes into effect on 1 July, is the latest in a series of initiatives by the firm. Others include introducing e-conveyancing using the PEXA electronic platform, and providing outsourcing services to large firms as an alternative to sending paralegal work off-shore. The firm's outsourcing services include digital dictation, eDiscovery and hard copy document discovery, complex forms, corporate transaction support and contract reviews.
RMB also offers information portals in key areas of the firm's expertise, including Business Law, Local Government and Planning Law and Superannuation/Estate Planning Law. For a small fee, business, institutional and local government clients can access specialised legal information to assist them to run their day to day operations without always needing to consult a lawyer. This service is also useful for in-house corporate lawyers seeking information outside their expertise.
RMB has just completed a major upgrade of its Wollongong headquarters, including a $500,000 technology upgrade to position it to service customers anywhere in Australia as well as overseas.
The firm has also created a "Legal Dome" at the refurbished Wollongong headquarters where clients can share office space and conference rooms with lawyers to work on specific projects.
For more information, contact Craig Osborne at (02) 4228 8288 or at firstname.lastname@example.org