Contrary to what some lawyers would have clients believe, it is entirely possible to obtain the highest-quality international legal representation at a reasonable cost, allowing businesses and States to spend their finite resources on core activities rather than on legal fees, as long as legal representatives are selected wisely. Aceris Law’s goal is to do everything that is in our client’s interests, which includes ensuring that each client receives exceptional value for its legal expenditures, while leaving no stone unturned to resolve each dispute in our clients’ favor.
We can offer unbeatable value because we only hire the best, brightest and most energetic lawyers, we are highly-experienced in international arbitration, we make use of the latest technology, we refuse to overcharge clients, we maintain a reasonable cost structure, and we always love a good fight and will not bill for the extra time that is required in order to obtain a positive outcome for each client we represent.
We truly believe that better value is required if international arbitration is to thrive over the decades to come. Although our firm’s track record is among the best in the field of international arbitration, and we have won or settled numerous large, complex arbitrations for our clients, we pride ourselves on always offering excellent value to our clients for unparalleled arbitration legal representation. We typically charge 1/3 the legal fees of the large corporate firms we face and where our lawyers previously practiced law, writing off all work we do not consider to have been particularly efficient or valuable for our clients and capping our legal fees for each phase of a dispute so that there are no surprises. As legal fees are typically the largest single cost element of any international arbitration, the overall cost of arbitration itself can be reduced, often by half, for our clients.
We also know that our legal services will meet or surpass our clients’ demands of quality and performance. Thus, unlike any other law firm of which we are aware, if a new client is not entirely convinced that it is receiving the best international arbitration legal representation available over a three-month trial period, Aceris Law guarantees to reimburse all legal fees that were paid. While no client has been dissatisfied to date, we are bound to this commitment by our standard, client-friendly letter of engagement.
We charge a small, flat fee in order to prepare an initial legal memorandum on issues of jurisdiction, merits and quantum that may arise for a given commercial, construction or investment arbitration. This allows new clients to see the high quality of our work, while also allowing our lawyers to familiarize themselves with the facts and legal issues in dispute.
For claimants, we typically bill (1) on a capped, stage-by-stage basis (with or without a success fee element and also subject to an overall cap), (2) on the basis of competitive hourly rates or (3) at a flat monthly rate for an unlimited number of hours of legal work.
For respondents, we similarly bill (1) on a capped, stage-by-stage basis (with or without an uplift element and also subject to an overall cap), (2) on the basis of competitive hourly rates or (3) at a flat monthly rate for an unlimited number of hours of legal work.
When we bill on a capped, stage-by-stage basis, we only charge for the phases of the arbitration that are in fact required. We also write off all legal fees for work that exceeds the capped amount for each phase of the arbitration, often writing off significant amounts since we do not count our hours of work. If our hourly legal fees do not meet the cap for any phase, then our clients do not pay the full, capped amount. As some lawyers attempt to renegotiate caps over the course of an arbitration, our standard letter of engagement contains a provision whereby caps can never be increased.
Savings for our clients in past, successful international arbitrations have been dramatic. For instance, in a recent ICC international commercial arbitration against a large international corporate firm under English law, where our client won the full value of its USD 20 million claims, opposing counsel’s legal fees were GBP 1,007,284.90 (USD 1,408,194.36), our legal fees were 1/4 this amount, the opponent’s counterclaims of USD 123 million were dismissed, and our client was reimbursed nearly all of its costs. Similarly, in a recent LCIA arbitration, opposing counsel’s legal fees were USD 911,379.50, our legal fees were 1/3 this amount, our client won its claims, the opponent’s counterclaims were rejected, and our client was awarded the vast majority of its costs. In another recent, successful arbitration in the aviation industry facing one of the world’s leading global law firms, our fees were also less than 1/3 the fees of opposing counsel. In a recent investment treaty arbitration, as well as a successful construction arbitration for a State entity, our own legal fees were also approximately 1/3 those of the large corporate firms we faced. In other UNCITRAL, ICDR, ICC, SIAC and other arbitrations, our legal fees have also paled in comparison to opposing counsel’s legal fees, although the disputes were won or settled on favorable terms for our clients.
Even arbitral tribunals have remarked that Aceris Law’s legal fees are reasonable in their final awards. For instance, in a recent successful arbitration, one arbitral tribunal indicated, “As regards the reasonableness of the Claimant’s legal fees, we find that the amount of legal fees of Aceris Law LLC is, indeed, very reasonable, in light of the complexity, duration and the considerable value of the claims and counterclaims of this Arbitration.” As one criterion taken into account by arbitral tribunals when deciding whether or not to award costs to the winning party is whether the legal fees paid were reasonable, it is unsurprising that many of our clients have been awarded the entirety of the legal fees they incurred in the decision on costs.
We have also successfully assisted clients to obtain third-party funding in the past, for both commercial and investment arbitrations, while winning third-party funded claims and ensuring that compensation is distributed in an entirely transparent manner for clients and funders. We are glad to assist clients to secure third-party funding, at no cost, if we consider the claims in question to be both meritorious and fundable.