In today’s challenging economy, it seems that everyone is trying to minimize expenses in order to cope with the sluggish market. Law firms, and specifically personal injury firms, are no exception. While some cost cutting can be wise for the overall success of the lawyer team, other financial savings can be highly detrimental to clients. The following is a list of 10 ways in which personal injury law firms cut costs and what it may mean to their clients:
— One area in which a firm can slash costs dramatically is eliminating personnel. Some potential staff that may fall victim to a firm’s savings plan can include: receptionists, paralegals, legal secretaries, investigators, administrative personnel, legal assistants, and the like. The loss of these vital law firm members can impact the client by eliminating essential organizers, researchers, and evidence gatherers.
Hiring Freezes or Elimination of Positions
Staff are not the only law firm members impacted by budgeting decisions. Associate or contract attorneys may lose their positions, and the firm may institute a hiring freeze on new counsel. This can leave current lawyers overwhelmed, meaning less attention to your case and an increased likelihood for error.
Cuts to training
Training of new attorneys or staff may be decreased or eliminated to cut costs. The negative impact on clients is obvious—clients will be represented by counsel without requisite preparation.
Elimination of research tools for Dallas Car Accident Cases
Attorneys generally rely on research portals such as LexisNexis or Westlaw, which can be costly. Cancelling such services is a means to save for the law firm, but the client will suffer in the long run. Less effective research means weaker filings and briefs.
Pay cuts at the Law Firm
Firms may elect to slash the salaries of staff and lawyers, which can lead to decreased satisfaction amongst law firm personnel. The client can suffer if their lawyer loses his or her zest for the job.
Accepting fewer cases
Personal injury attorneys often accept cases on a contingency basis. As such, they will not receive payment for their fees unless the client recovers and may be responsible for outlaying considerable expense litigating the case. Firms could elect not to accept as many cases due to the expense and clients might be left without their first choice counsel.
Attracting clients through advertising is an expensive process which some firms view as the first expenditure to eliminate in a recession. This can lead to fewer new clients, which can equate to stagnant growth of the firm.
Reduction of real estate expenses
Personal injury law firms struggling to stay afloat in this economy may elect to move into smaller offices in less desirable areas or postpone moves to larger offices. This can decrease convenience to the client and result in less satisfied staff.
Charge more for services
Personal injury firms may decide to increase their charge for services in order to cope with the sluggish economy. Contingent fees could increase and clients could be held responsible for more expenses.
Avoidance of trial
Lawyers, and particularly personal injury attorneys who work off contingent fee arrangements, might elect to pursue litigation at decreasing rates. Trial is expensive, and firms cannot afford to invest the requisite man power and resources. This can negatively impact clients whose cases would be best served by proceeding to trial.
Contact Tate Law Offices
At Tate Law Offices, P.C., we promise never to enforce budgetary cuts that will harm our clients and their cases. Our firm strives above all else to maximize your recovery and we take no action to the contrary. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.