About Our Fees
A Message From Our Chairman - Neil H. Wasser
Every year, at the firm’s expense, I get on an airplane and visit a few clients whom I have never met. I intentionally select clients who work closely with other lawyers at Constangy. Let’s face it, it’s not cheap for you to defend your company against workplace disputes. People generally expect to pay a premium price for a premium product, and legal service (or, keeping your company out of trouble) is no different. But among the many things clients tell me is that our firm provides value.
In fact, since 1994 when Altman Weil performed Constangy’s first comprehensive client satisfaction survey, our own subsequent surveys continue to confirm several points year after year. Ninety-six percent of our clients rate our firm as excellent or very good in value for services rendered for the money spent. Ninety-one percent of our clients report that our fees are at or below our competition’s rates. But what about how we take care to ensure your limited dollars are well managed?
I recall a conversation I had with one of the clients I visited a couple years ago. He is employment counsel for an international retailer and told me that one of the things he most appreciates about Constangy is that he doesn’t get charged for every five-minute phone call. I have found he’s not the only one who thinks so. Frankly, when it comes to billing our clients, we don’t send two lawyers to do the work that one can do either. Believe me, clients will notice if they think they’re being overcharged.
You know, we are a law firm, and a law firm is a business, and businesses are in business to make money. But because we run our firm like a business, we make careful, strategic decisions that result in lower overhead – and that means clients benefit from more efficient billable rates. For example, most of our offices are located in cities where the cost of living is lower. And our administration aggressively negotiates for the best cost of office space, even in the more expensive markets.
In meeting with another client, this time the VP of Labor Relations for a Fortune 500 company, I inquired, “So, what was it about Constangy that made you decide to bring your business to our firm after all of these years?” I received an eye-opening answer. “Your partner,” the client said, “called me back within 15 minutes with the answer to a question I had, and he said don’t worry about getting billed. I later received a 10-page memo answering the same question and a bill for $5000 from the firm I had a relationship with for over a decade.” Wow. I’m glad our firm got that right.
When you consider a firm that has lawyers ranked among the country’s best in labor and employment law and a 60-plus year history behind it – yes, Constangy was founded the year before the Taft-Hartley Labor Act was signed – you know going in that fees can be steep. But isn’t it good to know that lawyers can make a conscious effort to keep costs at a minimum? Constangy also works with companies to customize alternative fee arrangements that are better suited to the client’s matter type and volume of work than traditional hourly rates can be. After all, you have a business to run, too, and we know you have budgets to meet.
Perhaps the client comment that most resonates with me came from the senior HR executive of a multi-state, family-owned business. While I don’t think she had any idea that our website would one day sport a clear weather theme, she said what I find a number of people really think. “Constangy doesn’t soak my company for all it’s worth.”
If I can ever answer any questions about our services or fees, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at my direct line, 404.230.6782.