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’ favour.
Contrary to what some lawyers would have clients believe, it is entirely possible to obtain the highest-quality international legal representation at reasonable rates, 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.
Arbitration can – and should – be faster and less expensive than international litigation. In addition, arbitration lawyers should not be able to force their clients to pay monopoly rates as before State courts, since they hold no monopoly in terms of pleading or legal representation. Nevertheless, legal fees have come to constitute, by far, the largest cost element of any international arbitration.
We do not merely pay lip service to value. 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 complex arbitrations for our clients, we pride ourselves on providing our clients the best value in international arbitration, globally. We typically charge 1/3 the legal fees of the large corporate firms we face and where our lawyers previously practised law, writing off all work we do not consider to have been particularly efficient or valuable for our clients.
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 prior to incurring any significant costs, while also allowing us to familiarise ourselves with the facts of a given case.
For claimants involved in arbitrations we typically bill (1) on the basis of competitive hourly rates or (2) on a capped, stage-by-stage basis (with or without a success fee element). For respondents, we similarly bill (1) on the basis of competitive hourly rates or (2) on a capped, stage-by-stage basis (with or without an uplift element, if our client’s objectives are met in full).
When we bill on a capped, stage-by-stage basis, we only charge for the phases of the arbitration that are actually required. We also write off all legal fees for work that exceeds the cap for any phase of the arbitration. As many lawyers attempt to renegotiate caps mid-course on the basis of various pretexts, our standard letter of engagement also contains a provision whereby agreed caps cannot be increased, ever.
Savings for our clients in past international arbitrations have been dramatic. For instance, in a recent, two-year-long ICC international commercial arbitration against a large 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 1/5th 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 less than 1/3 this amount, our client won its claims, the opponent’s counterclaims were dismissed, and our client was awarded the vast majority of its costs. In a recent investment treaty arbitration, our own legal fees were approximately 1/4 those of the large corporate firm we faced, and we succeeded on all legal issues for which we were retained. In a large, successful investor-State arbitration in 2019 where our lawyers served as counsel, the legal fees charged were very reasonable. In a recent ICDR case, we were able to assist our client in settling a dispute against a Fortune 500 company for less than some firms would charge for a retainer. In other UNCITRAL, ICC, SIAC and JAMS arbitrations, our legal fees have also paled in comparison to opposing counsel’s fees, although the disputes were won or settled on highly favourable terms for our clients.
Even arbitral tribunals have remarked that Aceris Law’s legal fees are very 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 of the criteria taken into account by arbitral tribunals when deciding whether or not to award costs to the winning party is whether the legal fees paid to counsel were reasonable, it is unsurprising that many of our clients have been awarded the entirety of the legal fees they incurred.
We can offer unbeatable value because we only hire the best, brightest and most energetic lawyers, we are highly-experienced in international arbitration, we have the highest standards, we make use of the latest technology, we refuse to overcharge clients, 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 and every client we agree to represent.
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 an initial trial period, Aceris Law guarantees to reimburse all legal fees that were paid.
Finally, we have successfully assisted clients in obtaining third-party funding in the past, for both commercial and investment arbitrations, and we are glad to work with clients in need of third-party funding if we consider their claims to be meritorious.
If your business or State would like to obtain unbeatable value for the highest quality international arbitration legal representation in the world, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we would be glad to provide you with a fee proposal for our services.