Pratt & Flack is a firm of trial and appellate lawyers focused on providing winning representation in complex business, securities, and employment disputes.
Our ability to succeed starts with our trial experience. Our three partners have over 60 years of combined experience representing both corporate clients and individuals with the trials and appeals of complex commercial disputes and employment claims. We have practiced with, and litigated alongside and against, some of the nation’s most respected and sophisticated firms.
We know how to win because we have spent our careers as courtroom and arbitration trial lawyers, not paper pushers. We have successfully tried dozens of jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and injunction hearings.
Experience from All Viewpoints
Our practices are not limited to one side of the bar. We have successfully tried significant claims for both corporate and individual plaintiffs, and have defeated bet-the-company claims on behalf of defendants. Our experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants allows us to better understand both our case and our opponent’s. We know what motivates our adversaries and the tactics that they are likely to employ, because we’ve been in their shoes.
Nor are our practices limited to one type of client. While we frequently represent major corporations, we also represent small and mid-size businesses and individuals facing serious legal issues. This experience allows us to comfortably work with clients to pursue the strategy and tactics which appropriately balance the needs of the case and the resources available to address them.
Lean and Focused
Our trial experience allows us to succeed efficiently. We know what persuades juries, judges and arbitrators. We also know what efforts are a waste of time and money. This experience allows us to focus our investigations and trial preparation on the core issues that matter to the outcome.
We do not dilute our experience by overstaffing our cases with inexperienced junior lawyers. Our clients get the hard work, insights and creativity of the experienced lawyers they retained, not just their names.
Achieving Client Goals
Not every business and employment dispute should go to trial. Because of our courtroom experience, we are often hired before a lawsuit is filed to investigate the claims at issue, make recommendations and, when appropriate, attempt to reach an agreeable early resolution.
Whether our engagement begins before or after suit is filed, however, we approach every dispute with the assumption that it will go to trial. We believe that this is the only approach that both positions our client to obtain the most favorable settlement and, if that is not an option, to prevail on the merits before a jury, judge or arbitrator.
Preventing and Limiting Employment Litigation
Our experience as trial and appellate lawyers also enhances our ability to advise employers and executives with the goal of avoiding employment disputes before they arise. We counsel companies large and small on the web of laws governing employee relations and non-compete agreements, providing supervisor training, counseling on employee discipline and terminations, and advice on the language and implementation of employment policies. We conduct internal investigations of discrimination complaints and related compliance issues. We bring to these engagements the experience, skill and judgment honed through years of experience before judges and juries.
Aligning Our Interests
Litigation carries cost and risk. While the unique and uncertain nature of many of our engagements require us to charge an hourly fee, with the attendant uncertainty of cost, we have years of experience in collaborating with our clients to reach alternative fee arrangements under which we share some or all of that cost risk.
The common element of any workable alternative fee agreement is the sharing of risk and reward between the client and attorney. All or part of the attorney’s fee is determined by the result obtained, rather than merely by the number of hours dedicated to that uncertain result. It aligns the financial interest of the attorney and client by making the result for the client the ultimate factor in determining the attorney’s fee. It rewards the attorney who can accomplish the task more efficiently and effectively than one who gets paid for leaving no rabbit trail unexplored, regardless of its likelihood of success. It also allows the motivated attorney to spend time researching and investigating any potential avenue of success he perceives worthwhile, without burdening the client with the risk of excess fees for an exploration which may prove fruitless.
The most typical alternative fee agreement is the straight contingency fee, where we are paid a percentage of the recovery (for plaintiffs) or a defined fixed or percentage savings (for defendants) upon achieving a successful outcome for the client. We receive no fee for our efforts that fail (although in some cases our client agrees to pay court costs and other litigation expenses). If we are efficient and effective, we share in our client’s bounty. While our effectiveness hopefully provides us a larger fee than straight hourly billing would have generated, our client does not suffer the uncertainty of paying hourly invoices for services that may not result in the desired goal.
In appropriate cases, we also provide representation pursuant to hybrid hourly/contingency and fixed fee/contingency fee agreements.
- Under a hybrid hourly/contingency arrangement, we charge a lower hourly fee in exchange for an agreed-upon “bonus” (based either on a percentage or fixed amount) upon achieving the desired result within a budgeted cost, or a desired cost-result ratio. Such arrangements may also include a penalty point, where we are not compensated for certain hours above budgeted cost unless the result justifies those costs, and/or a “bonus pool” where a percentage of unbilled hours are multiplied if the desired result is obtained.
- Under a hybrid fixed fee/contingency fee arrangement, we agree that all or parts of our work will be constrained by a fixed, budgeted amount, in exchange for a bonus for exceptional results.
Under any such alternative fee arrangement, the ultimate goals are to align the interests of the attorney and client, to reward the attorney for results rather than hours, and to provide the client some level of predictability of cost.