Firm News

Big Law Firms Charging $873/hour – I’m not!

Employment Law Attorney James Y. Wu

About 2 weeks ago, I analyzed a great article concerning the skyrocketing fees big law firms charge, and why business models like mine are the better way to go. On April 16, 2012, the ABA Journal reported that the priciest partners at large law firms are charging an average of $873/hour! These partners increased their fees by an average of 4.9% last year. TyMetrix and business research firm Corporate Executive Board Co. looked at billing rates at more than 4,000 law firms to compile this data.

At a time when companies, and individuals, are still trying to trim budgets and work more economically, there is absolutely no good reason to pay exorbitant big law firm rates. Again, don’t just take my word for it, but read my analysis of the article from the former VP/Global Head of Legal at eHarmony published in Forbes Magazine.

Whatever situation your company is in, do not overpay for, or put-off getting, the legal services your company needs.

Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small Firm Advantages – A Slam Dunk!

Small firm advantages are numerous.

Recently, former VP/Global Head of Legal at eHarmony, Antone Johnson, tackled the question: “Why Are Lawyers So Expensive Even With The Excess Supply Of Lawyers?” Mr. Johnson’s focus was on why large law firms charge their very high rates. Significantly, and not surprisingly, top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness (three important aspects of my practice) were not listed.

Classic lose-lose situation. Mr. Johnson dissected how most large law firms are obsessed with rankings, have huge overhead, and grapple with other aspects of the legal industry that cause their fees to skyrocket. He also reflected that many companies are “fed up with large firms’ endlessly escalating billing rates and cost insensitivity.” As he pointed out, the result is that the legal services industry now has overpriced lawyers sitting around doing nothing, and clients not getting served because they can’t afford those rates. Classic “lose-lose” situation.”

Obvious win-win or slam dunk. Importantly, Mr. Johnson acknowledged that there are alternatives. He noted that “many talented, experienced lawyers hav[e] left big firms [], and technology mak[es] it easier than ever to set up shop as a new solo practice or small firm…” Indeed, business models like mine provide a better alternative for clients who no longer want to (or can no longer afford to) pay large firms for everything except top-notch work quality, dedication, and responsiveness. Mr. Johnson calls such business models “such an obvious win-win — or slam dunk.”

  • If your company still depends on large law firms for employment/HR related issues, I personally invite you to discuss with me how large law firm “escapees,” like me, are able to provide top-notch service without worrying about firm overhead, rankings on the AmLaw100, or carrying the dead-weight of an under-performing practice area.
  • If your company still believes great lawyers are too expensive, and thus, unaffordable, I personally invite you discuss with me how I can help your company at rates much lower than you might think.

Whatever situation your company is in, do not overpay for, or put-off getting, the legal services your company needs. For example, there is usually no good reason to pay (or to delay in fear of) large firm rates to have your company’s Handbooks, policies and employment/severance/confidentiality agreements updated and compliant. Do not overpay for, or put-off, getting advice on tricky employment/HR issues, getting and keeping your company in compliance with wage and hour laws, dealing with social media in employment issues, and getting mandated training done for your employees. And certainly, do not overpay, or go unrepresented, when your company must defend against claims brought before administrative agencies and courts. Indeed, I will be the first one to tell you if your matter would be better served by having a large law firm on your side (perhaps, for example, in defending class actions).

Mr. Johnson’s article in Forbes can be found here.


Happy New Firm (and Year)!

Happy New Firm (and Year)!

Welcome to James Wu Employment and HR Law, my new firm.

Happy New Year! I hope you had a festive start to 2012. I’m off and running with my new firm! I’m continuing to provide top-notch legal services, but without the big firm rigmarole, red tape, and higher fees. As my clients know, I don’t overlook the small stuff, don’t turn molehills into mountains, and don’t count you or your legal needs as just a business opportunity. To me, relationships matter. Please contact me to discuss how my expertise and work ethic can benefit you and your specific situation. If I can’t help you – I’ll be honest and tell you – I can probably refer you to someone who can help you.

For now, as you settle into 2012, ask yourself the following: Is my business/employer in compliance with the new California employment laws effective January 1, 2012? To learn more contact us, or return here soon for more updates.