Mexican Law Firm Eliminates Billing Conflicts of Interest

    May, Cruz Consultores says "Adios" to Hourly Billing

    QUERETARO, MEXICO, December 12 /CNW/ - The prevailing system used by law
firms to charge for legal work has long been considered the scourge of the
legal profession. The practice of billing clients by the hour has been roundly
criticized, both by clients, who see it as a conflict of interest, and
lawyers. Yet despite nearly uniform disdain for the practice, few
international law firms have voluntarily abandoned it.

    Now a prominent Mexican law firm has announced it has discarded hourly
billing in favor of alternate billing methods that better meet the needs of
their clients. May, Cruz Consultores, a boutique international corporate, real
estate and environmental firm catering to multinational clients, has virtually
eliminated the concept of billing clients for time worked.

    "We will use hourly billing only in very special circumstances in which
it really benefits the client, or when the client insists," said managing
partner Robert R. May. "But we will first offer clients other options."

    Struck Gold

    "I feel like I've struck gold with May Cruz," said Steven M. Bradford,
vice president and regional general counsel for the Americas for British
chemical conglomerate Imperial Chemical Industries PLC (ICI). "Over the years
we have used a variety of counsel in Mexico -- large and small law firms. I
struggled to find a firm with whom I had full confidence."

    "May Cruz provides excellent value and expert targeted legal service,"
Bradford said. "Their new billing system simply shows me once again that their
primary concern is for the wellbeing of the client."

    "For some time we have had a fixed retainer with the firm," continued
Bradford, "but recently we have had some extraordinary M&A and joint venture
work that would normally have been charged separately. We were quite pleased
when they made us a rather innovative proposal to enable those more
complicated and time-consuming matters to be included in our standard retainer
at no additional cost to us."

    According to May, the ICI flurry in 2007 of complex legal work on a
variety of matters, including the more than EUR 11 billion (US$16.7 billion)
sale of the company to Akzo Nobel, demonstrated to the firm's partners that
they could offer alternatives to hourly billing for virtually all matters
while preserving its high-quality service. "The increased activity with ICI
this year gave us the opportunity to be creative and give the client an
attractive alternative that ensured the work was properly handled without
undue expense," May said.

    "We know that May Cruz is concerned about all of our needs and long-term
interests, including managing the costs of our legal services, and that's what
ICI looks for in its service providers," said Bradford. "We want experience
and excellent service at a reasonable price. By using alternatives to hourly
billing, we get the level of service we need and don't have to worry about
unpleasant surprises when the bill comes."

    According to May, the elimination of hourly billing came as the result of
the firm's desire to innovate and provide added value to its services. "We
have never gotten a complaint about our billing, but we believe the future of
legal services will be based on fair-value billing instead of charging for
time. Our firm prides itself on its leadership in providing value for our
clients, and implementing a fairer billing system is just part of that
continuing effort."

For further information:

For further information: May, Cruz Consultores Robert May, +011 52 (442)

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