After working in law firms for ten years, I saw how the upfront retainer fee, hourly rates, and uncertainty of overall costs kept many small businesses from getting the representation they need and deserve. The pandemic only further laid bare how disadvantaged small businesses are, in part, by not having had access to legal services from their earliest stages of development. After becoming further disillusioned by the status quo, Stephanie (my wife) and I embarked on the journey to create our own small business, with the goal of being a resource for others.
I had been a practicing attorney for over ten years and came from a family of attorneys. I previously worked at two law firms that handled a wide variety of legal work in both New Jersey and New York. As a result, I handled almost every type of case there was, with the exception of divorce because well, I am not a masochist. I focused my efforts on employment law, business litigation, consumer law, and construction. However, I never felt that the traditional law firm was where I belonged, and wanted to find a way to live well and do good.
Stephanie was in the fashion business for 18 years, earning a reputation as a master of all trades and essentially running a $500 million business. But priorities shifted, and she knew that her knowledge and experiences were transferable to any business. Using her merchandising background, Stephanie analyzed the idea for NextGen, researched the market and competitors, ran scenarios, and said, “it can work, let’s do it.” And so as with all things since we met, when Stephanie said to do it, I did what I was told.
When starting or running your own small business there are so many things that may be insignificant in the moment but be tremendously important down the road. Or other things you just wouldn’t even know to think about. Having access to regular legal advice with an attorney who knows you and your business can give you peace of mind and help you take proactive steps to protect yourself and your business. At NextGen, we aim to build lasting relationships with our clients by being transparent about our pricing, approachable and responsive, and practical. From inception to expansion, NextGen will be a resource for you.
In addition to upfront retainer fees and high hourly rates, the current hourly rate structure used by a large majority of attorneys creates uncertainty for the client and disincentivizes efficiency for attorneys. By better utilizing technology and moving to a fixed fee model instead of an hourly billing rate, NextGen can offer the quality representation of a traditional law firm for a much lower and foreseeable fee.
We developed a subscription plan that is meant to provide our clients with bang for their buck, even if they rarely utilize our services. Our first level subscription plan is $250/month, totaling $3000 for the year. For that you get 1.5 hours of consultation and research time, review of a contract or document up to 15 pages, and access to our flat fee menu of services. To retain another attorney to simply review and discuss a contract or document once, a small business would likely have to pay a minimum retainer fee of about $2500 and then be subject to the uncertainty of how many hours will be billed. Thus, we designed our subscription plan to be worth it even if our monthly services are only used once.