Q&A with Kurt Glitzenstein: Patently Powerful


Patently Powerful: When complicated tech, facts and law intersect, clients call Fish

Patent trial lawyer and Litigation Practice Group Leader, Kurt Glitzenstein, was interviewed by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel in the article "Patently Powerful: When complicated tech, facts and law intersect, clients call Fish." In the interview, Glitzenstein discusses alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and Fish’s innovative offerings eFISHency™ Legal Services and eFISHent™ Litigation. He also comments on Fish’s 13-year reign as the top patent litigation firm, and what’s in store for the future.

MCC: Our readers will be especially interested in your role as chair of the firm's alternative fee program overseeing pricing and budget management. Give us your perspective on alternatives to the billable hour and how Fish approaches alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) both concerning patent litigation and litigation generally, which led to your inclusion by BTI Consulting in an elite group of corporate clients singled out as especially adept at AFAs.

Glitzenstein: We have been a pioneer in the area of alternative fee pricing for a long time. Fish started its AFA program in early 2009, and we have been partnering with clients to come up with fee arrangements that are tailored to their business needs and objectives before AFAs and fixed fees became industry buzzwords. Right now, AFAs (primarily fixed fees) represent 27 percent of our litigation business.

One of the many salutary benefits of having these conversations with our clients at the outset of a case is that it ensures that everyone is on the same page. We discuss schedule. We talk about when the case will be busy, and when it might slow down, so clients know when their scientists, engineers and businesspeople will need to engage. We explain how the case is likely to unfold on the merits. Importantly, we make sure we know their commercial objectives. We then come up with a proposal that takes into account all of these considerations. I've got a terrific team assisting with this, and we take great pride in both our flexibility and our creativity.

While we price many of our matters with a set monthly fee schedule, we also craft collared-fee deals and blended-rate arrangements. In addition, we're very willing to explore bonus payments for achieving specified objectives or milestones. We understand that clients are generally very open to paying for success, and we are confident enough in our diligence and our abilities in the courtroom to make that option available.

One of the things I find very interesting is the number of times we go through this exercise and the client opts instead to retain us on a traditional hourly billing structure. This shows me that we are doing things right. We are presenting an array of options alongside a detailed discussion of how the case is likely to unfold, allowing our clients to make a well-informed business decision about what works best for them.

MCC: On a related note, tell us about the firm's eFISHencyTM suite of services, which is billed as enabling you to deliver exceptional value without sacrificing client objectives. What are the key elements of your approach?

Glitzenstein: Our ever-expanding suite of eFISHencyTM legal services includes a wide range of cutting-edge yet practical tools and practices that help us deliver exceptional value. We have created very sophisticated Legal Project Management tools that allow us to quickly create a litigation budget, monitor actuals compared to budget, and allocate hours to our litigation teams to ensure we run the case to budget. To ensure we're not recreating the wheel, we have customized best practices resources for use by litigation teams, including templates, checklists and guides to complete a variety of patent litigation tasks most efficiently, while maintaining our high standards. We also have an internal, custom-developed repository of tens of thousands of pleadings and memos as well as an extensive database of trial transcripts, outlines and demonstratives, with tailored searching by claim construction term, jurisdiction, judge or full text.”