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What's unique about our legal fee management
Experienced: The Devil's Advocate has examined over $1
billion in legal bills from hundreds of firms,
nationwide. In addition to our other consulting
services, we can examine millions of dollars in fees per month and have the technology and
resources to examine far more. Beyond simply skimming the bills, we bring additional
insight and depth to our bill examination because of our litigation and legal management
- We have extensive trial practice experience.
- We have extensive experience managing lawyers and legal fees, including experience from
the lawyers' perspective.
- We bring a multi-disciplinary team to each engagement, including lawyers
and other specialists, as needed.
- We can augment our team through joint ventures
with large and small accounting firms and our own network of specialists, including
practicing lawyers, law school professors, and accountants.
Authoritative: The Devil's Advocate is a nationally
recognized authority on legal fee management and litigation consulting. It has been
recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,
Business Week, Miami Herald, American Lawyer, National Law Journal, Legal Times, Inc.
Magazine, Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur, ABA Journal, and dozens more
- Devil's Advocate authored the official "white paper" on Managing Legal
Services for the International City/County Management Association.
- Our work for the U.S. Congress, General Accounting Office, and Department of Energy
became part of the Congressional Record and was specially commended by Congressman
- Our work for the U.S. Congress, Department of
Transportation, and Amtrak was the subject of a C-Span press conference (in
which Mr. Toothman participated) and special thanks from Congressman Mica.
- We have worked for companies in the Fortune 50, let alone the Fortune 500, insurance
companies, large and small law firms, associations, labor unions, local government
agencies, and individuals.
- John Toothman, Esq., our president, has B.S. and M.S. degrees
in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from Harvard Law
School, with many academic and professional honors and awards. He speaks regularly on
legal fee management subjects to lawyers, accountants, business people, government
officials, and others, and testifies as an expert on legal fees and related topics.
- Mr. Toothman is the co-author of Trial Practice
Checklists 2d (published by West Group)
and of Legal Fees: Law & Management
(Carolina Academic Press).
- Mr. Toothman has published over 25 articles about legal fees and trial practice.
- Mr. Toothman received the ABA's Ross Essay Award.
Honest: We know what
we're doing and we tell you what we see, whether it's what you want to hear or
not. We screen our engagements to avoid conflicts of interest and
situations where our services are unlikely to be cost-effective.
- Even when we're hired to conduct a review in support of
a bill, we use the same methods and flag the same things we would normally
- Unlike some bill reviewers (especially those working,
for example, in some bankruptcy courts and for debtors' counsel), our reports
are thorough, honest, and real. There are, unfortunately, some firms
claiming to review or even "audit" legal bills, but their reviews are not real
or honest. Instead, a cursory review, with a proposed trivial adjustment
less than the cost of their "review," is used to deflect criticism from
creditors, the press, and the public. If you're looking for a fake
review or you just want to rent our name and reputation, you've come to the
Cost-Effective: Devil's Advocate gets results for
its clients, at a reasonable cost. Rather than imposing a "one size fits all" approach on every engagement, we
instead fit our services to the client's budget and to the situation.
Our services often cost less
than the copying and computerized legal research services we find in the bills we are
Comprehensive: Instead of focusing exclusively on the face
of the legal bills alone, running each through the same cookie-cutter process, Devil's
Advocate can also review work product, correspondence, and retention agreements to gain a
better understanding of the circumstances in which the bill arose.
- In addition to enhancing the value of our bill reviews, this tailored, comprehensive
approach allows us to analyze performance, work product quality, strategy and tactics, and
staffing, thereby turning a narrow bill review into a comprehensive performance audit.
- As often happens with those firms with the most to hide, law firms may try to stonewall
-- even when they owe ethical and professional duties to their clients -- we can work with
whatever information becomes available.
- Our comprehensive approach is also manifested by the additional services we provide
beyond basic bill reviews: Devil's Advocate consults with clients at every step of the
legal process, including selection of counsel, retention agreements, budgets and plans,
fee and strategy/tactics monitoring, second opinions, alternative fee design, and fee
- Integrated management of performance as well as fees is our goal.
Constructive: We look for opportunities to avoid problems
before they fester. For example, through careful law firm selection,
"client-friendly" retention agreements, and early monitoring, our clients can
avoid over-staffing and wasteful habits or nip them in the bud.
- This not only saves our clients money, but avoids high stakes fee disputes in which
careers or firms may be in jeopardy.
- To preserve the relationship with the law firm, many clients prefer to have us work
behind the scenes until it becomes appropriate or necessary to introduce us to the law
- Our reasoned analysis, reputation, and experience can resolve even the most inflammatory
Automated: Devil's Advocate makes full use of sophisticated
technology. While we can handle data in almost any form (even bills handwritten on
note cards) or establish a reasonable fee based on benchmarks without time records of any
kind, we also have the state of the art electronic tools to scan, convert
("OCR"), and analyze bills quickly and accurately.
Professional: The Devil's Advocate
is not a law firm, but lawyers often work for us. Our professional standards are high, as is our work product quality. An
added consideration is that we adhere to professional standards with regard to the
confidentiality of our communications and work product.
Independent: Unlike many bill review companies that are
owned or controlled by major insurance companies -- whether they disclose their
affiliation or not -- Devil's Advocate is completely independent.
- We are also independent from the law firms and clients
we work with -- again unlike some other bill
- Devil's Advocate's independence from its clients helps it to resolve billing disputes
through its unbiased approach to bill examination.
- We can act as independent monitors, mediators, or arbitrators when in-house personnel or
captive bill reviewers (identified closely with the client) would never do. We can
also serve as court-appointed experts or special masters.
- We are retained both to support and challenge legal fees, another demonstration of our
- The only "side" we're on is the side of the reasonable legal fee.