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Scharf Banks Marmor

Approach to Client Service

We are often asked: why are you different? The short answer is, we bring an unusual combination of highly experienced lawyers, state of the art technology, and a focus on quickly getting to the results our clients want without time-consuming and costly detours. Here's how we do it.

Our Lawyers: All of our lawyers come from substantial large firm practices, or were high level officers of law departments, having represented Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller public and privately held businesses in high pressure, high stakes matters. As a women-owned law firm, we appreciate the benefits that diverse perspectives bring to analyzing and solving legal problems.

Our lawyers have specialty skills, unusual even in larger firms, which have direct benefits in our areas of practice. One of our lawyers has a medical degree and conducted scientific research before practicing law. Another one of our lawyers has a doctorate in social sciences with special training in statistical analysis and medical research.    Two of our lawyers are members of the patent bar. As a result, we have a special affinity for work in industries or matters with scientific or technical issues. We are frequent invited speakers at national seminars and authors of leading law publications. Several of us edit or write annual treatises in the the areas of litigation, compliance and antitrust.

Targeted Focus on Results: We operate under the “no surprises” rule. We value early strategic planning, regular reporting as often and in as much detail as our clients would like, and practical advice to achieve the business results that our clients want. We understand the importance of minimizing risks to the business and minimizing costs. In litigation, we have successfully tried many cases to juries and judges and know how to press for trial.  At the same time we deliberately leverage opportunities for very early disposition of a matter, which is most often the goal of our clients.

Innovative Staffing: We follow a “V” model, that provides to our clients the benefits and efficiency of working with experienced counsel who give practical, straight-to-the point advice.   Most of our lawyers are partner-level attorneys and we do not staff any lawyers on your matter with less than 5 years full-time experience.   We do not have minimum billing requirements for our attorneys and encourage them to be active in community and  other activities that enhance their practices.

In addition to the professionals listed on our website, we retain specialty lawyers and paralegals who work on a flex-time basis, an approach welcomed by many corporate clients because it provides seasoned, efficient professionals on an as-needed basis. All of our flex-timers are known to us personally, most coming from large firms to practice law without the burden of unwieldy minimum billing requirements.    We also employ highly talented paralegals and, as in many corporations, maximize the role they play to minimize legal costs. 

Technology: Our strategy is guided by client need for quick, secure and reliable access to data and work product, while minimizing costs. The Firm uses a robust and secure cloud-based computing environment that avoids the need to invest in hardware and software which become obsolete or unreliable – costs that clients should not bear. Our lawyers serve clients from virtually any location, using web-enabled devices.

We provide our clients with state-of-the art technology and access to key materials on their matters.   As examples, we give each client full on-line access to pleadings, case documents and transcripts for a given matter, all in one secure and easily used site.  Materials can be searched and organized chronologically, by issue, and/or by keyword.  Our technology allows a seamless transition from the pretrial, trial preparation and trial phases of a case, avoiding costly loading and reloading of documents at each phase of a case.

Fees and Fee Arrangements: While many of our clients continue to prefer hourly rates, we also look for opportunities to use alternative fee arrangements. We have implemented a number of such deals and especially like arrangements that push for early results. Alternative fee arrangements can work in counseling as well as complex litigation, using such approaches as flat fee, sliding scale, partial contingency and results bonuses, alone or in combination, among a wide array of arrangements that can be win-win for both client and firm.

Deep Local and National Networks: Our networks, and the reputations we have from them, benefit our clients, even on matters that seem at first blush to be far removed from bar and community activities. We have been elected and selected as leaders in such legal organizations as the American Bar Association, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), and specialty bar groups. We serve on the boards of community organizations. As a few examples, our lawyers have served as: 

  • President, National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Chair, Chicago Regional Business Ethics Network
  • Leader, North Shore Compliance Officers' Roundtable
  • Board Member, Keep Chicago Beautiful
  • Board Member, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago
  • Board Member, DirectWomen