Before we begin to work together, I will meet or talk with you to get an initial understanding of the issues, facts, goals and potential parties.  If you decide to hire me as your professional business litigator, I will send you an engagement letter for your signature, which outlines our mutual obligations.  Once I have an understanding of the facts, the law involved, your goals, and your constraints, I will propose a mediation strategy that meets your needs.

This is your case.  That means you are in control of, and consulted on, all major decisions.  This also means that you are in the driver seat with regard to how far you want to take the matter within your personal or business limits.

Good Communication is essential to the client-attorney relationship.  I endeavor to return all calls, emails and texts within 24 hours.  Remember, though, that sometimes a response requires significant thought and consideration, which can impact turn-around time.  In that case, I will let you know.

WORKING EFFICIENTLY TO DRIVE THE BEST RESULTS

Contrary to popular belief, law is not cookie  cutter.  Yes, there are forms that I use, but your case is unique and that is where experience comes into play.  I will exercise my best judgment in connection with your input, when it comes to deciding where to spend time and effort.  There is no sense in winning pyrrhic victories.  The objective is to formulate a rational strategy that best enhances the result you would like to achieve.

I also have working relationships with outside litigation support vendors, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of document discovery.  And, I have the flexibility to structure my fees to take into account the costs of work that I know will take significant amounts of time.  I welcome your help and expertise since you know the facts of your matter better than anyone on the planet.

 

PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS Litigation

TRIAL COURTS:

If your case is to be litigated, I can handle all aspects, from bringing or answering a complaint and counterclaims, to handling motion practice and conducting discovery, to drafting and arguing dispositive motions, to preparing and trying your case, to arguing post-trial motions.  There are many ways to handle a matter.  Some attorneys and law firms employ a scorched earth approach, others believe that no rock should remain unturned.  Both of these approaches can have their merits in particular situations; however, both are extremely costly and inefficient ways to litigate a case.  I bring judgment to a matter.  That does not mean I won't act zealously on your behalf but it does mean that I won't act mindlessly and without a particular purpose.

 

APPELLATE COURTS:

I am well-versed in appellate practice.  Whether or not I handled the case in the trial court, I can take on your appeal.  I am familiar with appellate practice and procedures and I know how to craft a brief.  I have handled matters before single justices as well as full panels of appellate courts.  And, I have been fortunate to have been involved in the rare instance where a single justice has reported an interlocutory appeal to a full appellate bench.  I have argued cases of first impression before the Supreme Judicial Court and I have argued a case in the First Circuit where former Supreme Court Justice Souter was on the panel.  From this experience, I have learned how important it is to simplify and distill issues so that they can be explained quickly and concisely.  And, I have learned that your lawyer needs to know the record cold in order to always answer the judge's specific question.

OTHER FORUMS:

Persuasion and advocacy is necessary in other forums as well.  Whether you are before a local zoning board, a state or federal administrative agency, or an industry-related organization like FINRA, I can help.  The key for working within these venues is to be well-prepared on the facts, to be able to educate on the law, and to be respectful of their particular procedures.  

When considering who to use as a neutral, you should consider the dynamics of the situation.  There are certainly times when lawyers feel the need to have former judges serve as mediators on the theory that a judge can better educate a party on the potential outcome of a case.  However, in my experience, a neutral who can explore the issues, understand what each party needs to achieve in the lawsuit, listen carefully, think creatively and stay with the process is the neutral who will get the parties to a settlement.  

I was trained in mediation by Metropolitan Mediation Services.  Sometimes the hardest cases to settle are the smallest so I have served as a court-available mediator in state small claims court for disputes between non-represented parties, where one party was represented and where both parties were represented.  I will come to your mediation having read what you've submitted, researched points of law that seem to be at issue, and armed with an understanding of the matter at hand.  I will work with you as long as is necessary - even staying with the matter beyond the mediation day - to bring parties to settlement.  

According to an old curse, "May you be involved in a lawsuit in which you know you are right."  Another old lawyer's proverb says, "A lawsuit is a fruit-tree planted in a lawyer's garden."  When clients "who know they are right" meet the lawyer who sees their problem as "fruit-tree", there is a recipe for disaster.

HDB Avoiding The Trees at Sugarloaf

HDB Avoiding The Trees at Sugarloaf

Even before you meet with a law firm or another lawyer, you may wish to have a written, pre-dispute analysis of your matter performed.  What are the legal issues?  What facts need to be developed?  Where are there potential weaknesses?  What claims might you bring?  Will you likely be met with counterclaims?  What kinds of damages might you get?  Are your expectations consistent with reality?  There can be real value in having someone who is not expecting to litigate your matter give you an overview of your case.  And, depending on how deep you want to go, I can arrange to have the appropriate non-testifying, consulting expert review your facts and provide an analysis.

Whether this analysis is done on a fixed fee or hourly basis, it will give you an independent point of reference, which you can use if you decide to go forward.

For Individuals

There are times when you may not need strict legal advice but instead the wisdom and skills that someone who has practiced law for a quarter of a century can offer.  Perhaps you need someone to help you craft a letter in response to a billing or contract issue.  Maybe you need to talk through a work-related problem.  You might want a second opinion on how to handle a career move.  Or maybe you just need help in finding a good lawyer.  Having someone who is impartial, non-judgmental, and who will treat your matter confidentially, can be an invaluable ally.  For a reasonable fixed fee, you can have this service.  

For Businesses

A good General Counsel does more than provide legal advice, a good General Counsel understands your business and the competitive environment in which you operate.  That way, a good General Counsel can provide that combination of business and legal advice that can make the difference between financial success or ruin.  If you don't have a General Counsel, I will coordinate and help to provide the kind of consulting advice that you need to be successful, all for one fixed monthly fee.  

If you are a General Counsel, there may be times when you need the down and dirty answer to a question that you will not be able to get from the larger law firm that has layers of lawyers.  By establishing an ongoing relationship, I can provide the kind of service that you would expect from the person down the hall.  And, by having it as a fixed monthly fee, it will help you to control costs. 

For Other Lawyers

Even lawyers need help.  I have extensive experience in working with out-of-state lawyers who have cases in Massachusetts and can provide both the traditional local counsel as well as substantive advice and support.  Or you may be in need of support in terms of helping to draft a brief, to ready a witness, or to moot argue an appeal.  In fact, you may find that seeking assistance on any discrete task may be more cost efficient and profitable for you if you are assured of a fixed cost.  

For Everyone

I can be your settlement counsel.  Too often the dynamics of litigation are such that the attorney handling the matter is constrained about when to make a settlement approach to the other side.  As settlement counsel, I can make the approach and attempt to get the case into mediation or negotiation on a business-like basis, without the posturing that too often accompanies a litigation.  I can also work internally with you and your litigation counsel to assess when a settlement approach makes sense, what a reasonable settlement might look like, and how to get there.

Paying legal fees can often feel like throwing money into a pit.  This is because you are buying intangibles - experience, judgment, knowledge, creativity - and not tangible property, like a car.  Moreover, much of what lawyers do, like a director making a film, ends up on the cutting room floor.  There are often multiple drafts of contracts, memos, briefs and emails.  Remember what it was like to write a term paper?  All of this has a purpose, however, and that is to provide you with the best possible work product in order to maximize your chance for success.  

I try to keep my rates affordable but I am not cheap and nor should you want the cheapest lawyer.  I also try to work with a client to structure a written fee agreement that makes sense for both the client and for me.  This typically involves the payment of a retainer, against which I can bill, before I start work on a new matter.  Among the types of fee agreements that I use are:

Hourly Rates

This is the standard way many attorneys bill.  you agree to my hourly rate, I keep track of my hours, and you pay me for the hours I work.

Task Billing

This is a variation of the hourly rate, I will provide you with hourly rates for particular tasks.  For example, courtroom work will have a higher hourly rate than document review work.

Phase/Project Billing

I will bill you a fixed amount for each phase of a case or for a particular project. For example, I will bill you $X to provide you with an analysis of your case, $Y to prepare a demand letter, and $Z to prepare and file a complaint.  This gives you the comfort of knowing how much your legal fees will cost.

Contingent Fee

In particular circumstances I will work on a full or partial contingency.  A full contingency means that you don't pay any legal fees unless you recover money.  If you do recover money, then you will pay me a percentage of the recovery.  In a partial contingency, you pay me a reduced hourly rate and I get a percentage of the recovery (or savings in the case of a defendant) at the conclusion of the matter.  This has the benefit of reducing your out-of-pocket legal fees but also provides me with an incentive.

Expenses

The client typically is responsible for out-of-pocket expenses such as deposition fees, filing costs, mass copying, and expert fees in any fee arrangement.  These expenses are passed through to you without any mark-up.

Payment

Getting paid for work performed is part of the bargain.  Brown Counsel accepts credit cards through a secure portal, checks and wire transfers.