Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : January 2013

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More details on Fastcase and other MSBA member benefits are available at the MSBA Member Benefits page.

An ABA Journal article (“Firms Wave Goodbye to Billing for Research Costs” posted November 14, 2012 at www.abajournal.com)  noted that while clients have become more cost-conscious, some are refusing to pay for research costs.

Of course, attorneys still have to conduct the legal research, but they should consider how using Fastcase, an MSBA member benefit since 2006, can help minimize those non-recoverable costs.

First, Fastcase will increase cost recovery by shifting non-billable or discounted research.

What happens if a client informs you that he or she is unwilling to pay for their attorney’s research costs? Rather than conduct the research and absorb the cost that would have been billed, use Fastcase.

Fastcase allows for unlimited research at a set price. Since there’s no charge for printing, downloading, or emailing cases, attorneys know exactly how much they’re spending before they even begin researching. By shifting research that would be discounted or otherwise non-reimbursable, attorneys’ overall percentage of recoverable costs will increase. When they run fewer unrecoverable searches, they will be able to bill through a greater percentage of their research cost, thus increasing their cost recovery.

Also, attorneys should consider adding paralegals or law clerks onto their Fastcase subscription. With the support staff using Fastcase, attorneys can have them conduct the preliminary research and pull all the cases needed without worrying about the usage amount or cost of printing cases.

Second, attorneys can stop incurring “off-plan” charges when they’re researching outside their subscription coverage. If a different provider’s subscription is limited to an attorney’s main practice jurisdiction(s) and that attorney needs to do research in another jurisdiction, use Fastcase instead of paying to go “off-plan.” A national appellate or national premium plan on Fastcase includes federal and state case law for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the federal statutes and most state statutes. Attorneys can research surrounding jurisdictions to see how a similar issue was treated, or look up a case that’s outside their subscription and was cited by opposing counsel.

And finally, if attorneys provide pro bono services – or want to provide more but are held back by the cost of legal research – consider using Fastcase. The flat fee pricing and unlimited research allows attorneys to share their services with others while still controlling their research costs.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin : January 2013

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