- Transactional experience
versus trial experience - What is the importance?
- What is a holistic
approach to the practice of law?
- How do I retain the services of Randall K. Edwards
it important that a transactional (business or
estate planning) attorney have trial experience, or that a trial attorney have
Many lawyers spend their entire
career behind a desk, never darkening the door of a courthouse. They draft
documents, negotiate contracts, meet with clients and formulate plans, but never
appear before a judge or jury.
Other lawyers spend their careers in
court, prosecuting misdemeanors or defending criminal cases, but never spend
time counseling clients on the legal aspects of important business or personal
The best combination of experience,
however, is for a lawyer to have a balance of both transactional and trial
experience. If, for example, a transactional attorney has never put a witness
on the stand, sweated through a deposition or waited for a jury’s verdict, the
lawyer will not really be able to predict with any certainty from real-life
litigation experience whether, and how, a transaction will stand up in court.
On the other hand, if a lawyer is a master of the courtroom but has little
experience in counseling clients on how to avoid litigation, the lawyer may be
ill-prepared to craft legal advice that is in the client’s best interest.
At the Law Office of Randall K.
Edwards, we offer a broad experience in trial and transactional law.
What is a
“holistic” approach to the practice of law?
Comedian Steve Wright used to say,
“You can’t have everything … where would you put it?” In the same sense, no law
firm – no matter how large – can “have everything” when it comes to addressing a
client’s legal needs. For that reason, it is necessary that there be a
“holistic” – or “complete” – approach to dealing with a client’s particular
Legal necessities do not exist in a
vacuum. To the contrary, every client’s situation is made up of a variety of
factors. For example:
business looking for help in plotting its course requires not only legal
counsel, but financial input, risk management assessments, insurance
specialists, and accounting and tax advice.
- A victim
of an accident seeking redress needs input from medical professionals, life
care planners, occupational therapists and financial advisers.
defendant in civil litigation needs not only competent tactical legal
advice, but also counsel on the management of potential risk in moving
forward to a trial.
elderly couple planning the distribution of their estate upon their deaths
need to review not only legal procedures, but also tax ramifications and
long-term needs for their heirs.
- A young
entrepreneur starting out in business requires advice not only from a
lawyer, but also from financial, insurance and accounting professionals on
the best legal structure to use for a maximum of flexibility and a minimum
of risk, the best way to utilize a business plan and, where necessary, an
- A medical
professional concerned about the possibility of a devastating lawsuit needs
help in protecting assets through the wise use of insurance, as well as
business and other legal structures.
individual cheated in a business requires an expert is finding and levying
assets in order to be fully compensated.
A “holistic” approach to the practice
of law recognizes that a client’s total situation must be addressed in solving
what may at first blush appear only to be a legal problem. A “holistic”
practitioner utilizes professionals from other disciplines – such as
accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, medical personnel and, where
necessary, other lawyers, to fully assess and address each client’s particular
The Law Office of Randall K. Edwards
is proud to use a “holistic” approach to addressing client needs. Our
professionals not only utilize our own team of accountants, insurance
specialists, medical experts, tax specialists, financial advisers, asset
protection planners and trial attorneys, but also work with each client’s
advisers in order to address every client’s unique needs.
There are generally three ways of payment for legal services; hourly, flat rate
and contingent fee. The Law Office of Randall K. Edwards utilizes all three
methods, each of which requires a signed agreement between the firm and the
client. Thus a general explanation of each is useful.
Usually an initial consultation
with the firm costs $150 for an hour’s consultation. In this consultation, the
firm can advise you whether you have a legal matter the firm can help you with.
The Law Office of Randall
K. Edwards takes cases on an hourly rate in most business planning and
litigation matters, as well as complex estate and asset protection planning.
What that means is that the office charges the client for all of the time that
is actually spent on the case. The hourly charge includes time spent on the
telephone, time expended researching the case and drafting legal documents, time
used in strategizing on the case, travel time and all other time spent working
on the case. The client is also required to pay all costs, such as filing fees,
expert fees, travel and lodging costs and other associated costs.
On selected types of cases,
including serious personal injury cases, medical malpractice matters, wrongful
death suits, civil rights actions and some collection matters, the firm enters
into a contingency fee arrangement with the client. This means that the firm
takes a certain percentage of the overall recovery as its fee. This percentage
generally ranges from 40% to 50% of the total recovery, depending on the type of
case. In cases where there is a statutory cap on fees, the firm is obviously
bound by the relevant regulations (for example, some state statutes limit
attorney’s fees in medical malpractice actions to one-third of the total
In contingency fee cases, the
client remains responsible for the payment of all costs of the case, including
filing fees, expert witness fees, travel costs and other hard costs associated
with the case. In the event that the firm pays any of the fees on the client’s
behalf, the firm expects to be reimbursed from the client’s share of the
recovery. In cases where there is no recovery, the client remains ultimately
responsible for the payment of costs.
In certain types of cases,
including immigration matters, estate planning and asset protection planning and
implementation, as well as certain types of business transactions, the firm may
enter into a flat fee arrangement. This means that the firm will be paid a
certain amount agreed on between the firm and the client, regardless of the
number of hours spent by the firm on the project. The amount of the fee will
depend on the type of case, the estimated time required for the project and the
complexity of the matter.