Two recent announcements have shaken the commercial litigation space as many insiders have remarked. Texas Lawyer conducted a survey revealing that Texas firms and the Texas offices of East and West Coast firms have raised their rates once again, with record numbers of Texas lawyers charging over $1,000 per hour and even $1,500 per hour for commercial litigation. Personally, as someone running a Dallas law firm, I just don’t think most Texas clients can afford that much, much less want to pay that.
The announcement follows on the heels of several Texas firms, most notably, the stalwart (and my former law firm) Susman Godfrey LLP, who recently announced that they will be substantially paring down their contingency fee practice, and shifting towards representing larger companies who want to hire them for hourly fees.
These announcements come at a huge toll for Texas clients who are going to be forced to pay sky-high hourly rates.
Fortunately, there are several firms out there answering the call.
My firm, Sbaiti & Company, for example, touts its flexible fees and relatively low hourly rates and low overhead as a boon for clients. Competing on price is not our core value proposition, but let’s face it, we have lower overhead and we pass a lot of our efficiencies on to our clients, and we have a track record of pretty fantastic results achieved at incredibly affordable fees.
So my message for small and medium-sized business: “We’re not leaving Texas clients behind. Our rates aren’t anywhere near those levels. We’re not raising our rates to price our services out of your reach and we’re still willing to do contingency fee work.”