How we keep our rates low

13+ years experience as a lawyer has taught me how to get the fundamentals right.

Although legal disputes are complex, fundamentally what lawyers do is write documents, plus some speaking (either public-speaking in Court or private-speaking in mediations / meetings).

Getting the fundamentals right requires clarity of thought about the tasks-at-hand.  

These are:

  1. First, being able to write well.
  2. Second, calling upon skills and knowledge to make that writing quality-writing and persuasive.
  3. Third – after these are achieved – doing it fast.

Being fast means cost-savings to clients, because less time is spent.

Slow lawyers, sitting at their desks typing slowly, is a fact-of-life in our modern legal system. (People would be shocked to know how much slow-typing feeds into massive legal bills.)

Dictation, instead of typing, is what makes for fast lawyers.

My methods are:

  1. Don't type - dictate.
  2. Don't incur the costs of typists to type the dictation.
  3. Automate.
  4. Get physically away from the computer-screen, so you can quickly scan/look at documents whilst dictating.

We use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to produce our written work.

This is done by using dictaphones to create an audio-file, that is processed by Dragon automatically.

It is then checked for accuracy by a secretary, before being printed-out for us to:

  • do any additional drafting,
  • sign-off.

These fundamentals have helped us keep our hourly rates low compared to most other lawyers.

Note:

Many other lawyers around the world are also doing this - but the take-up is slow. 

This article by Liz Harris, a lawyer in Victoria, explains the issue perfectly.