Appropriately scoping out a matter prior to engaging a lawyer takes practice and process. The right level of scope will ensure that law firms provide more accurate fee estimates (or fixed fees if that is the preferred fee structure) and will also help prevent law firms claiming “scope-creep” further down the line.
Scoping a matter is itself a skill, especially a matter that is not a regular type of matter for the client. Litigation falls into this category for many companies. Lawyers who run these matters are in a much better position to know what items are likely to come up during the course of a matter.
“Scoping a matter is itself a skill”
Clients should, therefore, ask lawyers the following questions prior to engaging a law firm:
(a) “What other information do you need to be able to provide an accurate price estimate, or to provide a capped or fixed price?”
(b) “What out-of-scope items are likely to arise in this matter that are not currently included in the matter brief?”
These questions will also help to reinforce for the client that the lawyer has the expertise and the experience to be advising on the matter, as a lawyer experienced in these types of matters should be able to tell the client how a matter is likely to proceed, and where other legal costs may arise in that type of matter.
Lawcadia has also started to assist some companies without an in-house resource to scope exactly what they require in terms of legal advice. From the early experience of matters placed on Lawcadia’s Procurement Tool, excellent scoping has been a key element of being able to obtain clear, accurate pricing.