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Helping Clients Tighten Their Belts

Money from legal heaven.

Money from legal heaven.

VALLEY FORGE PA – Patent attorney Jonathan Spadt, who as a Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township commissioner played a role in trimming the municipality’s 2009 budget, is helping his clients do a little belt-tightening too.

RatnerPrestia, the Valley Forge law firm where Spadt is chairman of its Intellectual Property Strategy and Risk Management Group, earlier this month (Dec. 18, 2008) announced it would freeze attorney billing rates for at least six months to help clients weather “the current economic storm.”

The firm even said it would consider having clients pay fixed fees for “well-defined projects” as an alternative to charging them for billable hours. Fixed-fee work requires “discipline on the part of both the firm and the client,” Spadt said, but it allows clients to better predict and budget costs for legal services, firm co-founder Paul Prestia added.

Other law firms planned to raise their fees by 5 percent in 2009, according to published reports cited by RatnerPrestia.

Coincidentally, the firm’s billing rate freeze was publicized the same day Spadt and his fellow commissioners unanimously voted to approve the township’s $5.3 million spending plan.

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