How We Are Different
Our Commitment to You
“California has more than 160,000 practicing lawyers. You should be able to find the right one—if you know where to look.”
California State Bar Website
How are you different from other tax lawyers? Why should I hire you? These are two of the questions that we encounter frequently in client interviews and for a while were the most difficult to answer. After all, what separates one tax lawyer from another and how do you draw a comparison? After some thought, what we tend to tell prospective clients is that those shopping for a tax lawyer should be concerned with three main factors 1) Utility (can your lawyer get the job done that they are being hired for), 2) Cost, and 3) Trust/Values.
What is frustrating for most clients is that there is not a solid method for determining how effective your tax lawyer is until after you retain them and can evaluate the quality of their work. Generally, prospective clients will go with their gut. Even more frustrating is that most law firms charge similar rates and the legal costs associated with most matters runs roughly the same between firms (be weary of those that offer “low” prices, as that is a common trick to get clients in the door). So, if you eliminate those two factors, where the distinction lies between lawyers is in how must you can trust them and what their value system is. Do I trust this person? Do they share the same values as I do?
We cannot speak as to what other firms value or how other firms conduct their affairs. What we will tell you is we know that we are different by the nature of how we conduct ours. Our website is designed to provide you with information about the problem you are facing and with enough information about us so that you can determine if you value the same things are we do and whether we are a good match. As such, we place less emphasis our accolades, although we have quite a few, and place more on who we are as people and the results that we can achieve for you. So our answers to your three factor test are:
1) Utility – We are effective. We provide you with solutions that are smart and that are designed to be utilized to help you achieve your goals. Our client’s experiences with our firm, the results we have achieved for them, and their testimony provided will speak for itself.
2) Cost – We also know that we are cost efficient. We will not take on a matter for a client unless we are certain that we can provide value well beyond the client’s cost to retain us.
3) Values – What is left is the value system of our firm, which is described below. We are open and honest about our values because we feel that those prospective clients who gravitate toward our value system make the best clients and we achieve better results for them because of it. The following are the values of our firm. They are repeated over and over in our internal and external policies and procedures as a reminder of who we are. These values represent our commitment to you as our client.
1. Results – “Results” is the single most important word in our firm. We are cognizant that in spite of how much our clients like us that they retain us to do a job and deliver results. Results (goals) are clearly defined at the outset of the representation. They are defined by the client based on their personal, professional, and financial needs. Our job is to go get them, whatever it takes. We don’t settle for less.
We are ethically unable to guarantee results for our clients and, truthfully, we are unable to predict the future and the variables on the other side. However, you have our commitment that we will fight and advocate tirelessly on your behalf regardless of the end result. As tax lawyers, we play to win and do whatever it takes to deliver whatever you consider a “win.” We realize that there are often multiple methods toward achieving a goal. We value creativity and outside the box thinking in order to achieve those goals more efficiently. All operational aspects of our firm are geared toward delivering those results and more effectively serving our clients needs.
2. Efficiency – “Efficiency” is the second most important word in our firm. It is how we roll. Our job (other than delivering results) is to figure out the most efficient way to accomplish the goal that is set in front of us by the client. In doing so, we only perform tasks that are critical toward our end-game and do not bill for “fluff.” Our hourly rate is a constant and we do not price discriminate based on a client’s income level. Additionally, clients are not charged for administrative tasks, for routine phone calls, and for emails that are not substantive in nature. Matters are handled as expediently and as efficiently as possible.
3. Value (The “Cost/Benefit” Rule) – Under no circumstances is a matter taken by our firm unless we are confident that can provide value to the client that exceeds the cost of their representation. Our job as a firm is not to “sell legal services.” We provide value for our clients and are compensated for delivering that value to their client well in excess of the cost of our services.
4. Compassion – By virtue of the fact we are small, we can be selective about who we choose to represent. We feel it is important to find the right fit between the client and their tax lawyer. We screen prospective clients who are not a good fit for our services (often recommending other firms) and focus our resources toward a select number of clients that we know we can help. All of our clients share one attribute in common: they are good people. As individuals, we often admire what they do in their own lives and we work hard and strive to make their lives better. There is no better feeling than delivering a win for our clients.
All employees, at all times will be sensitive and as accommodating as possible toward the client and their circumstances. We strive to minimize the intrusion in the client’s lives and deliver the best possible outcome for their situation based on their defined goals (“results”). Professional courtesy toward our clients and responsiveness toward their concerns is absolutely critical to our success as an organization.
5. Candor – Our clients are kept fully informed and apprised about the events in their matters. Not a single attorney decision related to the outcome or the overall strategy is made without client consent. No matter how difficult the message, the client is always given the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6. Lean Business Practices – The business side of what law firms do is often not discussed. This is for good reason: no one teaches you how to run a business when you are in law school. In contrast, we believe that our firm has an ethical obligation to our clients to run our firm as efficiently as possible. As responsible business owners, we use metrics to manage our firm’s operating cost and to provide more outstanding client service. Inefficient business practices leads to higher overhead, which either leads to overcharging clients or taking on too many clients in order to compensate. Excess is not our friend. Our clients are not charged for fancy offices or cups of coffee, they are charged for legal services. We have a periodic obligation to examine our business practices in order to 1) increase efficiency, 2) provide better client service, and/or 3) provide better value.