Legal fees are always a legitimate concern when you find yourself needing an attorney. Unfortunately, the extent of those legal fees can be hard to predict. Especially when your adversary can run up the legal fees and bury you in paperwork. Therefore, you want an attorney that values wins over profits.
It’s important to understand that most law firms are for-profit businesses. Ultimately, your attorney is selling his/her time and expertise to handle your legal matter. Moreover, many law firms impose billing requirements on their attorneys. Like other industries, law firms seek to maximize the profits of their employees. Thus, it is important to know whether your attorney values winning or profiting. If your attorney values profiting over winning, you are going to have a far different experience than if your attorney values winning over profits.
Smith & Hopen values winning over profits
To avoid creating an atmosphere where profits are values over winning, we make it a point to hire attorneys who value winning over profits. Furthermore, our attorneys have very manageable billing requirements with the understanding that the outcome is more important than the profits.
I have many examples for every attorney at our firm where they have sacrificed the bottom line to win. Recently, Smith & Hopen partner Andriy Lytvyn was drafting an inter partes review (IPR) petition seeking to invalidate certain patent claims being asserted against our client in a patent infringement case. The owner of the patent only asserted a subset of the patent’s claims in the patent infringement lawsuit. As a result, the client decided to seek invalidation of only the asserted claims to limit the legal fees.
However, the non-asserted claims would automatically survive the IPR unless challenged. By not attacking the non-asserted claims in the IPR, our client’s adversary would have the option of using these claims against our client at some later date. In addition, successfully invalidating all of the claims would completely eliminate the patent, whereas invalidating only the subset would allow the patent to survive. The best move would have entailed invalidating all of the claims. However, there were nearly twice as many non-asserted claims and the legal fee would have increased substantially. Ultimately, the client opted to take the less expensive route.
Even though the client decided to attack only the non-asserted claims, Andriy knew that the client would have a substantially better result if we attempted to invalidate all of the claims. Thus, Andriy worked every night for several weeks to bolster the IPR petition by attacking the non-asserted claims. Andriy did this on his own time. Not for profit, but for victory.
Ultimately, the adversary in that case decided to settle the case to avoid a final outcome where his entire patent would be declared invalid. Andriy valued winning over profits and the outcome reflected that. Your success is based in part on your attorney’s desire to win. You need an attorney that values winning over profits.