The Search for the Goldilocks firm

Searching for the right team to help in a litigation matter often means looking for the Goldilocks firm.  As companies and in-house counsel are under increasing pressure to find quality representation at lower costs, there are lots of paper proposals and tough decisions to make.  Big Law has high overhead that comes with multiple offices and mergers/expansion, which translates to higher billing rates (with multiple firms now having partners billing at over $1,000/hr) and more bodies on matters.  Smaller law firms may offer better rates, but often lack the depth of experience or the resources to manage significant litigation or represent clients in multiple cities.  I believe that the recent prosperity of mid-sized law firms reflects more companies and in-house counsel looking for Goldilocks firms and practice groups to represent them in most matters — not too big, and not too small, but just right somewhere in the middle.

Goldilocks firms:

  • Have invested in technology rather than bricks and mortar.
  • Use litigation/project budgets and alternative fee arrangements.
  • Develop a litigation plan, and adjust the plan as litigation proceeds.
  • Staff matters appropriately with people you meet and know.
  • Treat clients like business partners.

Finding the Goldilocks firm is more difficult than walking into a house in the woods and tasting porridge, but you will sleep better after investing the time and resources to get the decision right.  And in the legal climate today, it is definitely worth the time and effort to get it right. 


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