Why Work With Next Phase Legal?

(Like almost all content on this site, this page was written by Stephen McDonough, owner of Next Phase Legal)

First, thank you for visiting our website and considering working with my firm.  It is not an easy task for any business owner to identify concrete examples that set one’s own business apart from the competition. Frequently, businesses make claims consisting mostly of empty phrases and buzzwords, such as:

  • Client-focused
  • Experienced
  • Trustworthy
  • We get results

Almost every attorney or mediator could likely describe his or her services with those exact same terms. So, what, if anything, makes Next Phase Legal unique?

Over the years, I have worked with clients through the adversarial court process and through other forms of dispute resolution.  These experiences and observations have shaped the direction of my firm and my professional shift away from relying on the courts to resolve most matters. I believe that in most instances, families are better served by avoiding the traditional adversarial legal battle.  Respectful and peaceful options to resolve conflict, guided by skilled professionals, are simply better options in my opinion.

Even in a high-conflict situation, perhaps marked by poor communications and other obstacles, adopting a problem-solving approach can lead to numerous benefits. Research is clear that family conflict is bad for children. In fact, the research is alarming.  Thus, when parents work with me through mediation, the collaborative process, or as a parenting coordinator, they are very possibly changing their children’s lives for the better.

Additionally, legal fees are expensive.  Litigation can have long-lasting negative impacts on a person’s or a family’s finances.  Hourly billing, although still the industry standard, continues to lose ground to more creative and modern approaches that tend to more closely align your interests with that of your mediator or lawyer.  Whereas a less scrupulous lawyer or mediator has a financial incentive to bill you for more hours to increase revenue, that is not good for your wallet.  Consider that many firms have enormous billable hour requirements to feed partner’s high salaries, and it is not at all difficult to see how hourly billing can seem to be a never-ending roller-coaster ride.

I anticipate that by 2018, all of our fees will be project based, meaning clients will pay a mutually-agreed upon fixed fee for our services. For more complicated matters, our services may be separated into multiple phases, with a fixed price for each identified stage of the case or project.

For professionals focused on helping their clients, the tedious process of hourly billing and getting retainer funds replenished can unfortunately at times almost seem like the focus more so than resolving a client’s situation. Many attorneys would probably not share this info on their website, but I think many would agree.  Moving to fixed fees is a significant change and one which I believe will help us zero in on what is most important to our clientele.

Another area where we continue to focus is adopting more of a project-management approach to our services. If you are getting divorced, or need to make changes to your parenting schedule, then there are certain steps that will need to be completed from initiation through completion.  Communications are key throughout the process, and I think it is important for my clients to be involved in making decisions with my guidance and support.  Technology can help improve efficiency and improve communications. Clients appreciate their ability to access their case-related documents 24/7 through their client portal and reach us in a number of ways.

Divorce and family law attorneys and mediators serving the Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, Norwood, Natick, Walpole, Medway, Franklin, Dedham, Dover, Sherborn, and Millis, MA areas.  Norfolk, Mansfield, Sharon, Medfield and Westwood divorce lawyers and mediators.