Oops, we just did a Facebook

On Monday I posted new terms of appointment which include a new variable fee model. The update was effective immediately and made in terms of an enabling mechanism in the previous terms of appointment which allow for autonomous updates. That mechanism is important because it allows this firm to update its terms of appointment across the board without the added complexity of revisiting terms of appointment with each client, each of whom may have different requirements. Individual negotiations would lead to an overly complex array of legal frameworks for different clients and managing those frameworks would be prohibitively expensive. This is a mechanism common to virtually every business’ terms and it exists for practical reasons. That being said, there is no reason why the process of updating terms of appointment (or other terms, for that matter) shouldn’t take clients’ feedback into account where possible.

Updating our terms of appointment the way we did was a little reminiscent of how Facebook updated its website terms of use back in February 2009. The terms were updated without specifically informing users and contained some pretty onerous terms that many users were very unhappy with. This isn’t to say that our terms of appointment are equally onerous but there are certain aspects of the terms which some of our clients have raised concerns about, in particular the (now proposed) variable fee model.

I thought it would be a good idea to practice what we preach so I have set up a survey designed to elicit feedback on various aspects of our fee model and to help us design a fee model our clients will be more comfortable with. For example, I am not a fan of the typical law firm billing model which is typically based on an hourly fee but some clients prefer it. We would very much appreciate it if you could take the time to complete this survey below and give us feedback, even if you are not one of our clients. Odds are, you are someone’s client and you have your own thoughts about which fee models work for you and which ones don’t.

Our goal is complete our review process by the end of December and to implement an updated terms of appointment by 1 January 2010 so please submit feedback before then?

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