As a low-overhead firm, Culhane Meadows does not employ any non-attorney legal staff. However, for partners who occasionally need support resources such as paralegals, legal secretaries or file clerks, we have partnered with Robert Half Legal (RHL) through a national account to make such services available to our partners on an a la carte basis. Please note that the firm’s policy does not permit engagement of any contract attorneys to perform client services. Our arrangement with RHL provides that CM partners can obtain legal support resources as follows (based on pricing as of 2/15/17, and subject to change):
File Clerk $40/hr
Legal Secretary $55/hr
Each partner is fully responsible for any charges incurred for the resources he or she obtains through RHL, though partners have flexibility to absorb the resource costs themselves or pass the costs through to a client. Please note that the hourly fees above already include a slight markup to account for the added administrative costs to the firm of using these resources. As a result, if a partner elects to pass the cost to a client with an upcharge, the partner gets the benefit of such markup upon receipt of the client’s payment. For example, if a partner orders paralegal services from RHL, the partner is responsible for $65/hr for such services regardless of whether the client pays the invoice or not. However, if the partner’s client agrees to pay $120/hr, the partner will receive the benefit of the profit margin of $55/hr once the client pays the invoice as all amounts allocated to such paralegal’s work on the invoice payment will be paid in full to the partner (without any additional cut from the firm).
In addition to the above-described staffing resources, RHL can also provide eDiscovery support as described HERE. Such services will be priced/quoted by RHL upon a partners request.
As with any costs paid out of pocket by a partner for a client’s benefit, it is strongly advised that an advance retainer be obtained to cover any costs that will be passed through to the client–including RHL resource costs for which the partner will bear financial responsibility via an automatic draw deduction.
REMINDER: A partner who requests and uses an RHL resource (or any support staff resource, for that matter) is 100% responsible for supervising the resource and approving any work product before it is delivered to a client.
Here is the process for requesting and using resources from RHL:
1 – Contact our RHL account representative, Tom Frohne, to discuss your particular needs so he can help you assess the appropriate resource. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-203-7161. He will make recommendations for you based on the proposed scope of work and you can then select the best resource for your project. A “Statement of Work” will be generated and an email confirmation will be sent to you regarding your request of the RHL resource.
2 – If you intend to bill the resource through to the client, (a) seek approval from the OA for that client if you are not the OA as the OA is responsible for payment of the RHL fees even if the client doesn’t pay and (b) send an email to Accounting to request that your RHL resource be provided a Bill4Time login and attach a copy of your Statement of Work from RHL to the email. Your email should also state how you want the resource to be identified on the client’s invoice and the hourly rate you wish to be charged to the client. If you are not the OA for this client, then the OA’s name should be listed in the resource’s name (e.g., “Please set up a B4T user called ‘Walsh-Paralegal Support Staff’ at a rate of $120/hr and send me the login credentials so I can share them with the resource.”) Please note that you can charge different clients different rates for the same RHL resource by asking Accounting to set this up for you. You would then forward the Bill4Time credentials to your assigned resource with any special instructions about how his/her entry should be entered for your particular client. Conversely, you can skip this step if you intend to absorb the resource’s costs without billing them to the client because no Bill4Time user account will be needed.
3 – On a weekly basis, the RHL resource will enter his/her time into the RHL billing system. Your initial confirmation email from RHL will include instructions on how you can login and view the resource’s time entries in the RHL system, allowing you to monitor the progress and total time that will be charged to you for that resource. If you are going to bill the time to the client, the resource should also be requested to enter his/her time concurrently into Bill4Time, where you are able to edit the entries according to the level of detail you want to include on the client’s invoice.
4 – Each month, RHL will invoice the firm for any services you request from RHL, and the firm will send you a summary of the total hours, resource types and total amount to be deducted from your draw. Assuming the report provided by Accounting accurately reflects the amounts you previously approved on the RHL billing system, Accounting will deduct the charges from your draw based on the most current hourly rates for your resource (see above rate menu, which is subject to change), and then Accounting will pay the RHL invoice. When the client pays the invoice that includes the RHL services (assuming the charges are passed through to the client), you will receive 100% of the amount the client pays, including any upcharge profit margin you may have built into the fees charged to the client. If you have not received enough in draw payments to pay the RHL amounts, then you will be required to reimburse the firm for such amounts. Note: Any profit margin will be taxable income to you because it is a greater amount than a pass-through non-taxable client reimbursement.
5 – As the project draws to a close, contact the RHL account representative to inform of the likely end date with as much advance notice as possible so RHL can work on the next re-assignment for that resource.
6 – After your project is complete and you no longer have a need for an RHL resource, please notify Accounting via email to deactivate the Bill4Time user account for that resource. If a Bill4Time user account created for an RHL resource remains inactive for an entire month, the account will be deactivated by Admin.
Questions about using RHL resources can be directed to Grant Walsh or Heather Haughian.