At Foley, we recognize that litigation is not immune to the business and economic realities facing clients like you. We reject the notion that litigation is different somehow; that it is impossible to assess costs and outcomes; and that general principles of business management do not apply to litigation.
We have taken a long look at how we litigate cases and have given a great deal of thought to how we can add value and lower your litigation costs. FOLEY LitAdvantageSM is designed to:
We have put together a menu of services and options to achieve the objectives outlined above, and believe that your experience will be different with Foley. We also believe FOLEY LitAdvantage represents the future of business litigation, and a discussion of its key elements follows.
We recognize that one of the biggest issues for clients is the way that we price our services. While the standard billable hour approach may work in certain situations, we are pleased to explore alternative fee arrangements as part of FOLEY LitAdvantage. We have successfully employed a number of different variations of alternative fees — from contingency fees, hybrid contingency fees, and fixed fees by case or by phase to fixed annual fees — to handle a whole portfolio of cases. We would be pleased to discuss alternative fee options that may fit your needs.
At Foley, we do not accept the premise that it is impossible to budget effectively for litigation. Whenever we use a standard billing approach — and where it makes sense with alternative fee arrangements — we will prepare a litigation budget. Our in-house tools help us formulate smarter litigation budgets for you, which more accurately estimate the costs of the various components of the litigation process, and allow your lead partner to put together the most accurate estimate possible. We will revisit your litigation budget quarterly. Any major case development with the potential to materially affect your budget will be addressed in an updated budget, which you will receive within five business days of the development.
To help you see your litigation budget numbers in real time and to avoid surprises, we provide reports from Evaluate – our budget management tool – where you can view comprehensive budget information, including fees incurred, progress against the budget to date, and projections as to whether the matter will ultimately finish on budget, under budget, or over budget.
We use Evaluate to monitor regularly the budget status of individual matters and to address issues early before they result in a material deviation. The tool is scalable and can report by individual matter or by other categories — such as type of case, geography, or business unit. This innovative and extremely beneficial tool helps us provide value to our clients.
We know you need timely information about your matters if you are to manage them effectively. That is why we also have developed FOLEY Collaborate, our virtual office that allows you to access case information through a secure intranet, whenever and wherever you need it.
With FOLEY Collaborate, you have quick and easy access to all documents and correspondence related to your matters. Virtually any type of document can be posted to FOLEY Collaborate, and documents can be categorized by type or further organized into custom folders. On the FOLEY Collaborate home page, you can track new documents, obtain updated matter news, and review tasks to be completed. In addition, tasks can be assigned and calendared directly from the FOLEY Collaborate site with automatic email notification.
Effective management of any piece of litigation requires a quality case assessment at the outset. When we have the opportunity to work on new litigation, we give you an early case assessment within 30 days of the initial engagement, which includes:
Once the case progresses and issues crystallize, we provide you with a comprehensive case assessment. This includes a more fully informed assessment of the claims and defenses, your exposure, and a “dashboard view” summarizing key information that you need when making decisions about disclosure and reserves.
We use the case assessments to develop a litigation action plan that most efficiently meets your objectives, then aggressively manage the Rule 16 process (or analogous processes outside of federal court) to keep the case focused and document discovery under control.
We recognize that, all too often, litigation proceeds on “auto-pilot” — clients get “one-size-fits-all” litigation service rather than the customized service they need. That is not the way we do it at Foley. Once engaged on a piece of litigation, we will sit down with you to discuss what you are hoping to accomplish at the end of the matter. We will collaborate with you to define concretely the scope of the litigation engagement as well as a comprehensive work plan that is proportionate to the risk involved and is directly related to your business objectives.
We have found that document discovery, particularly in the age of electronic discovery, has the potential to generate fees wildly out of proportion to what is at stake in a particular piece of litigation. We have identified several areas that, when managed properly, can significantly reduce the imbalance between cost and value.
Data Collection and Processing: Every gigabyte of data you collect will cost money to either discard or process. Collecting too much data is expensive and unnecessary. To minimize your costs, we work hard to narrow the scope of the collection and to target only key custodians of relevant data.
Once data is collected, there are two approaches that can be made to curb costs: pre-filtering or early case assessment. Regardless of the approach, the goal is to limit the number of documents that need to be processed and reviewed. We employ these techniques aggressively to try to minimize the quantity of data managed and thus the cost of processing.
Document Review: The document review phase of document discovery can be the most time-consuming and expensive aspect of a litigation matter, but it does not have to be a budget-breaker. Implementing the cost-saving measures outlined above in the collection and processing phases creates a document set that is much more focused and relevant to the case issues and eliminates a larger percentage of irrelevant documents from the review.
Our review platform — Relativity — uses highly developed keyword and conceptual search engines to help identify potentially privileged documents and zero in on the documents that matter most. This software significantly speeds up the review process, and further reduces document discovery costs.
In addition, we recognize that it often makes no sense to have Foley attorneys spending their time (and your money) reviewing documents. Where appropriate, we use specialized legal process organizations (LPOs), which can conduct document reviews producing extremely high-quality results at dramatically lower costs. We have vetted a number of these firms and have good relationships with the best of them. In cases where LPOs are not the right solution, we also will consider employing low-cost contract attorneys to conduct the review to reduce cost and to allow Foley attorneys to apply their talents where really needed.
At the conclusion of every litigation matter, we sit down with you to evaluate and dissect the case. At no charge to you, we will analyze the matter and determine whether we have learned anything in our work that might be of value to your business operations or that forms the basis for a “best practices” recommendation.
In addition, we will ask you to complete our Legal Services Report Card. The report card lets you submit feedback on our performance in several categories, including quality of work, communication, and budget performance, which we will then use to enhance the legal services we provide to you.
To enhance our partnership with you and your organization, we are pleased to offer a number of value-added services, including services like free compliance risk assessments and periodic CLE seminars for your in-house legal staff, targeted to issues your business regularly confronts.