PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY AND FEES
While serving as a State Medical Board of Ohio Hearing Examiner from 1990-1992, I personally witnessed the pervasive need for informed, effective, legal counsel for the targeted doctor. Many of the attorneys involved in defending physicians did not practice in this legal niche on a regular basis. Thus, they often were unfamiliar with the pertinent procedural rules and did not seem to have a grasp of the essential issues which were driving the prosecution of their client. Without a solid knowledge of Board precedent and history gained by regular work before the Board, it seemed that many attorneys were not affording their doctors the legal counsel necessary for the best outcome possible. I learned that just because an attorney may be a well-regarded civil or criminal litigator did not necessarily mean that their performance in this forum would be productive in bringing about a palatable outcome for their client.
In November 1992 I resigned from the State Medical Board position and opened my solo private practice in downtown Columbus. For over a decade now I have limited my practice to the defense of healthcare professionals. The vast majority of my clients have been physicians but I also have meaningful experience with the Ohio licensing boards for dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and psychology. I am also admitted to practice in the District of Columbia but have not represented any doctors there for quite a few years.
I have closely monitored State Medical Board of Ohio disciplinary and licensing outcomes since 1990. I believe this gives me an unequaled grasp of Medical Board history, policy, and precedent. To better serve my physicians, I maintain a unique archive of hundreds of unpublished Board decisions, agreements, orders, and minutes. These materials are quite difficult to locate since there is no flexible search engine available to utilize on the Board's website. Furthermore, retrospectively finding meaningful decisions and outcomes is prevented by the lack of a centralized index or topic list at the Board office or website. Thus, I make it a practice to attend all Board meetings and update my archives monthly to stay on top of every new development and trend in Ohio medical licensing, regulation, and discipline.
Because I limit my practice to a precise niche of law, I can usually quote my clients a capitated flat-fee schedule. This is because of my years of experience and involvement in a wide variety of cases ranging from CME deficiencies to surgical standard of care issues.
I do not believe it is economically reasonable to retain an attorney on an hourly basis in these kinds of cases and then just hope that the hours invested in the case do not run out of control. Moreover, hiring an attorney unfamiliar with this area of law may very well result in paying significant fees for time while the lawyer educates themself about the procedural and substantive aspects pertinent to this forum. I have seen what initially appear to be moderate monthly billings by other attorneys eventually accumulate into an overall legal bill which is astonishing because the case may drag on for quite some time.
With my flat-fee billing I rely on my experience with a wide range of cases and factual scenarios to tailor a fee agreement to the specific aspects of a case at hand. I can usually anticipate and plan for how much of my time and attention will be required to vigorously defend my client. This billing method permits my clients to know, up-front, what their total fee exposure will be, depending upon how far through the litigation process we are forced to defend. Even in the rare case where I simply cannot devise a fair flat-fee schedule, I always capitate my fee so my client is certain of their maximum potential fee exposure.