January 3, 2018 News

David Scherl Quoted on MidSized Law Firms Competitive Advantage in Use of Alternative Fee Arrangements

January 3, 2018 -- Morrison Cohen Chairman David Scherl was featured in an interview with law firm leaders in New York on the competitive advantage for midsized law firms in offering alternative fee arrangements to clients in the article “Midsized NY Law Firms See Flexible Fees as Competitive Advantage” that appeared in the December 29, 2017 issue of the New York Law Journal.

David Scherl, managing partner of Morrison Cohen, which has 100 attorneys and offices in the heart of midtown, said the firm charges about 30 percent less than its Big Law competitors. His educated guess is that about one-third of the firm’s business is no longer calculated on the basis of the billable hour.

“Our partners understand that it gives us another weapon to use to service our clients, to serve their needs,” he said. “You’re giving the control back to clients where they don’t feel like you’re just turning on the clock.”

To work, alternative fees have to be a good deal for both the clients and firm, Scherl said. Morrison Cohen offers an upper and lower range rather than a fixed fee in which both law firm and client take a calculated risk. If the legal work turns out to be more complicated than anticipated, the firm won’t collect above the upper range and if it’s easier to handle than expected, the client still pays at the lower end of the range.

“We’re all making an educated bet together and we’re going to live with this fee,” he said.

Morrison Cohen continues to believe that when and where appropriate, providing our clients with the choice of being billed on a time basis, knowing what the educated/ estimated fee range might be based on the understanding of the matter at inception, or an alternative fee/ fixed fee based on an agreed upon set of assumptions about the matter, is in the best interest of our clients and we welcome working with our clients to provide them with such choices. At the end of the day, MoCo wants to provide commercial advice at costs that please our clients and cause them to both come back and engage us repeatedly, and also to recommend us to prospects.