Budgetary concern that generates value

Intelligent Oversight—Cost Control and
Project Management for Litigators

Cost control works. Lower costs may mean higher quality if effort is directed towards the goals of the case rather than churning hours and chasing ideas. And providing Cost Control and Project Management is what your client is asking you to do.

Controlling Costs in Creative Services

A whitepaper by Douglas Filter detailing a six-step approach to cost control in the legal setting

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In today’s Big Litigation, it is common to outsource services like Exhibit design and Production, Trial Technology Support, Mock Trials, and Creative Consulting. It is also common to partner these service providers with in-house personnel, who provide a myriad of support services including overlapping into presentation, technology and document databases.

In a Litigation phase, a lot of time and cost can add up in a hurry without intelligent oversight.

Douglas Filter has budgeted, proposed, managed and produced exhibit strategies for a very wide variety of big and small cases. He has served as an in-house department head in a multi-office regional law firm, working with responsible attorneys, clients and staff to produce exceptional work on time and under budget. He has owned his own service company, worked within the structure of boutique agencies, trial support companies, and major legal visual consulting firms. He understands both sides of the litigation process; within the firm and from the consultant side.

He has developed methods of tracking expenses and time to anticipate abnormalities within the timeline, stage reviews, staffing and ultimately, the final bill, anticipating and solving those situations before they become problems.

Two important tangibles will be created and monitored during the engagement; 1) a Strategic Plan and 2) a Living Budget.

Because engaging in litigation is a strategic business decision involving the commitment and employment of significant corporate resources, it is crucial to identify the ultimate strategic goals for litigation support and the most efficient way to accomplish them. The Strategic Plan sets out the overall strategy and the tactics to implement that strategy, identifies tactical uncertainties as well as identifying the structure of their relationship to each other and to potential outcome.

The Living Budget is coupled to the Strategic Plan, and should both track and meet outcome and cost objectives. The Budget establishes needs during case phases, such as fact investigation, discovery, motions, pretrial, and trial, and sets limits for activities within these phases. Consideration of alternatives to hourly billing will be suggested, where appropriate. The Living Budget will be continuously monitored and communicated to the Gate Keepers of the Firma and to the Client whenever an anomaly is detected, and a decision needs to be made either to add resources or halt an unnecessary production effort (e.g.; an issue was no longer deemed critical, was resolved or a new concept replaces the current plan implementation.)

The proposals will be the base for budgets. If the budget looks stratospheric, that is an early warning that we will need to intervene with Lead Counsel and Client to either understand the costs or to sensitize partners about a more ‘practical’ approach to litigation prioritizing key issues.

Douglas Filter is now serving firms with large scale litigation projects by: