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CJA Cost Savings

Written by Daley Benson

Co-Owner

Behind the Gavel, LLC

Hold onto your hats, we’re going to do some math!

 We here at BTG are well-aware of how difficult it can be to get funding from courts that are suspicious of requests for seemingly “Cadillac” services for a defense.  It is an extraordinary, uphill battle that’s often intimidating, frustrating, and defeating.  We’re here to provide you with a little information to put in your back pocket the next time a court balks at the use of BTG or any other service-provider.  We are steadfast in our belief that we are not an expense.  We can and will save money and we will provide the best available products with the best possible service.

 

Let’s say a Grand Jury indicts 50 co-defendants in a massive federal drug conspiracy case.  The 6th amendment requires that all 50 of those defendants receive representation.  Let’s assume that all 50 of those defendants can’t afford an attorney, so they’re appointed a Criminal Justice Act Panel attorney.  Through our research, 70% of those attorneys are either solo practitioners or practice in a small firm (2-5 attorneys).  It is highly unlikely that they have the time, staff, or software/equipment to process and organize discovery in-house. 

 The case itself contains voluminous discovery.  There are multiple wiretaps, transcripts, tons of Facebook and Twitter data, phone downloads, toll records, surveillance video, pole-camera videos, and tens of thousands of pages of police reports and court pleadings.  It is overwhelming.  In order to perform their due-diligence, however, each attorney must somehow wade through all that stuff to find the most pertinent information for their client. 

 In our experience, attorneys do not receive neatly organized discovery from the government, and the government isn’t under any real obligation to produce it that way.  It is often distributed on multiple cd’s, dvd’s, blu-rays, external hard drives, in no particular form or fashion, and typically without any sort of index.  Suffice it to say, it takes a substantial amount of time to get everything in order to even begin a meaningful discovery review.  It may take several hours just to find a single document that a client is mentioned in!    

 Let’s assume that it will take each of those attorneys 100 hours to process and organize their discovery (keeping in mind that 70% are solo practitioners or work in a small firm and lack the staff to do it for them).  Let’s assume that the hourly rate for each of those attorneys is $135.00 per hour.  Each attorney, therefore, will require a budget of $13,500.00 for discovery processing and organization.  The total cost then, would be $675,000.00 for the entire case (50 attorneys x $13,500.00).

 If all of those attorneys instead hire paralegals to organize discovery, and those paralegals have an hourly rate of $45.00, the cost will be $4,500.00 per paralegal for a total of $225,000.00 (50 paralegals x $4,500.00) for the entire case.

 (here comes the math)

We have compiled three tables to outline the cost and cost savings for an entire case that utilizes BTG:

***These estimates are extremely conservative.  According to our survey results, we average over 300 hours saved per attorney per case

 

Attorney Rates:

 

Budgeted Attorney Hours

Cost (1 Attorney)

Total Cost (50 Attorneys)

Estimated Savings

100 (No BTG)

$13,500.00

$675,000.00

0

75 (BTG saves 25 hours)

$10,125.00

$506,250.00

$168,750.00

50 (BTG saves 50 hours)

$6,750.00

$337,500.00

$337,500.00

25 (BTG saves 75 hours)

$3,375.00

$168,750.00

$506,250.00

  

Paralegal Rates:

 

Budgeted Paralegal Hours

Cost (1 Paralegal)

Total Cost (50 Paralegals)

Estimated Savings

100 (No BTG)

$4,500.00

$225,500.00

0

75 (BTG saves 25 hours)

$3,375.00

$168,750.00

$56,750.00

50 (BTG saves 50 hours)

$2,250.00

$112,500.00

$112,500.00

25 (BTG saves 75 hours)

$1,125.00

$56,250.00

$168,250.00

  

Historically, for all of our work-products (Discovery Hub, Relational Chart, De Novo), our average cost is $2,100.00 per defendant (equaling approximately 16 attorney hours or 47 paralegal hours).  The more defendants on a case, the less that cost becomes.  In terms of total cost on cases with 10 or more defendants, our average total cost is $46,000.00 (our cases have ranged between a single defendant and up to 62 codefendants). 

 

Putting everything together:

 

Hours Saved

Case Savings Attorney

Case Savings Paralegal

Fixed BTG Cost Per Defendant

Average BTG Cost

Net Savings Attorney (per defendant)

Net Savings Paralegal (per defendant)

Net Savings Attorney (average)

Net Savings Paralegal (average)

0

0

0

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

-$105,00.00

-$105,00.00

-$46,000.00

-$46,000.00

25

$168,750.00

$56,750.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$63,750.00

-48,250.00

$122,750.00

$10,750.00

50

$337,500.00

$112,500.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$232,500.00

$7,500.00

$291,500.00

$66,500.00

75

$506,250.00

$168,250.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$401,250.00

$63,250.00

$460,250.00

$122,250.00

As you can see, there are only two scenarios in which BTG doesn’t save any money:

1)      If the attorneys or paralegals don’t use our work-products, or

2)      Our work-products don’t save paralegals 25 hours of time

 Regarding the second scenario, we believe that we save 25 hours nearly automatically by centralizing the flow of discovery.  Attorneys, paralegals, and other staff do not need to copy multiple discs (we’ve had cases with over 100 separate discs in a single discovery disclosure) or download materials from government platforms.  Additionally, or work-products take care of all discovery issues that would ordinarily require special attention by a paralegal, an investigator, an IT person, or some other subcontractor (OCR, audio/video conversion, Wiretaps, social media data, phone data, etc.).  We do it all in-house and we do it all with CJA panel members in mind.

 From a logical, financial, mathematical, practical, and/or nearly any other perspective, BTG just makes sense for this case and cases like them.  Why do something 50 different ways when you can have us do it once, and better than it’s ever been done before

 Please call us, email us, or contact us through our website.  Our goal, very simply, is to help. 

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Our Company Story

We are Behind the Gavel and this is our story.  Behind the Gavel was started by Cary Christiansen and Daley Benson in February 2016.  The desire to start this company came from years of experience working on federal criminal cases where many attorneys lacked sufficient resources to manage and review complex, voluminous discovery.   Cary’s background includes positons at the Federal Defenders Office in Las Vegas, NV and Spokane, WA as a litigation support specialist/ACSA for over fifteen years.  Daley has worked as a contract paralegal and a litigation support specialist on many complex cases throughout the United States.  He has assisted attorneys through every stage of litigation via research, writing, analysis, organization, trial-preparation, and a number of other litigation-related tasks. Daley has also created a first-of-its-kind interactive charting technique that can be applied to multi or single defendant cases.

With Cary’s IT background and Daley’s experience with the litigation process, they knew they could create something better for attorneys who deal with complex discovery situations. 

Our approach is easy: “Keep it simple”.  We understand your workloads and time constraints and want to focus you on the review process rather than spending time learning complex software or using ineffectual methods.  In fact, while educating attorneys about our products, they are often surprised at the depth we go, while still making the product user friendly and effective. 

With the ability to save attorneys hundreds of hours on a case and get them to the pertinent material quicker and easier, BTG has become a valuable resource on CJA appointed cases across the U.S. 

Cary and Daley have built a team committed to due process, equality, and justice.  They have developed tools that are easy to learn, easy to use, and come with a team of support committed to your success.  In fact, a big part of our story is the culture here at BTG.  While we understand the seriousness of the work we do and treat every case, big or small, as if it is the most important work we will do, we also have learned to find time to let off steam and have some fun.  Our team values collaboration, whether that comes in the form of improving internal processes, or teaming up against Daley in a nerf war.  As a team, we celebrate accomplishments both professional and personal and our office is very unique because it is full of people who want to be here.  At BTG you will find we are passionate about the work we are doing, motivated to perform at a high level, and genuinely care for one another and the success of this company. 

Over the last 3 years, BTG has worked on dozens of Federal, State, civil and criminal cases.  Combined, those cases contained approximately 2,500,000 discovery pages.  We have helped legal teams all across the United States with massive conspiracy cases, gang cases, drug cases, firearms cases, human sex trafficking cases, RICO cases, Title III cases, fraud cases, and more.

Our team continues to grow, as does the scope of the work that we are able to complete.  We have no geographic boundaries and look forward to continuing to assist attorneys become more effective and efficient with our innovative tools and hard working, dedicated staff.