07 November 2023
pinqDR - What's in it for law firms?
In this blog post Guy Pendell, co-founder of pinqDR, explains how pinqDR works for firms, how it can help clients with those disputes that are not economical to litigate or arbitrate in the current system and how that can be wrapped into your service offering. Find out what makes pinqDR different and how it can help both law firms and their clients.
Why pinqDR works for law firms
Are you a litigation or arbitration lawyer? How many times have you had calls from clients asking you to act in their £200k / £400k dispute, and your heart sinks as you have to explain why your firm won’t be able to act or why the claim is not economical to pursue? Do you refer them to a different firm, and risk that firm doing a bad job and your client blaming you (or worse, that firm doing a great job and more of your client’s work is lost to them). Or do you try to manage it internally on a shoestring, knowing that you won’t be able to offer your usual level of service and risk disappointing a long-standing client.
This is a problem that law firms face on a weekly basis. Cases are lost to other firms, or not brought at all, because the cost, time and hassle of litigation and arbitration for lower value business claims is rarely worth it.
pinqDR changes that. Now you can partner with pinqDR, provide light touch support to your client with their case and deliver a binding resolution in 6 to 8 weeks. And, importantly, distinguish your firm for the client’s higher value, strategic cases.
Why should law firms use pinqDR?
Let’s just summarise how pinqDR works for law firms.
pinqDR enables law firms to support the full range of disputes for their clients, even smaller value claims
No need to refer clients to other law firms, or tell clients that the claim is not economical to bring. Instead, partner with pinqDR, retain the client and the claim.
Law firms can offer clients light-touch support with the pinqDR process, for a proportionate fees as the process is predictable and time-limited.
Ideal for junior associates to manage a case themselves, as the process is intuitive
Demonstrate to clients that your firm is innovative, using the latest technology to save clients cost and time
Get more of the client’s larger cases, by helping clients deal with their lower value claims swiftly and efficiently
How this works in practice
If your firm receives a call for a case that ordinarily would be uneconomical to bring, mention pinqDR to your client. What does your client need to know?:
pinqDR is a neutral, transparent online dispute resolution platform for business, established and run by highly experienced disputes practitioners, providing a fair, level playing field for the resolution of legal disputes from £5,000 to £2m+.
Instead of taking 1 year+, pinqDR leads to final, binding decision in 6 to 8 weeks, far quicker than any other option on the market.
Your client’s case is decided by a single experienced arbitrator. A knowledgeable, respected and neutral person (usually a lawyer), in whom your clients will have a high degree of confidence. You, as a lawyer, will likely know many of our arbitrators because they are some of the most prominent and respected names in the field.
Each party gets to set out their case, explain the issues and respond to requests by the arbitrator needed to decide the case. They can attach documents such as the contract, correspondence, photos, videos or other evidence which they wish to rely on. All of that is considered by the arbitrator, in the same way a Judge would.
We strip out all the steps which could delay the proceedings and cause unnecessary expense. There is no disclosure, parties submit documents they rely on, no counterclaims (those have to issued by way of a new claim) and the evidential requirements are quick and limited. So the process is streamlined, slick and designed specifically for lower value cases.
The decision made by the arbitrator is in the form of an award. The award is final and binding, just like a judgment. The losing party is legally bound to comply with it, and can be compelled to do so – just like a judgment. This relies on the existing global legal framework for arbitration which is well established in England and Wales and internationally, and requires no change in the law.
The pinqDR process will be confidential, but it doesn’t have to be if both parties agree that the dispute should be made public.
The Claimant pays a single up front fee which covers the entire process, including the cost of the arbitrator.
If your client would like to proceed with pinqDR, we can help with materials and support in suggesting the use of our platform to the client’s counterparty. The benefits to the client’s counterparty are usually equally clear – resolution of the dispute in 6 to 8 weeks, at a fraction of the cost, and in a process which is far more likely to preserve the commercial relationship.
A simple pinqDR Arbitration Agreement is then entered into between your client and their counterparty. You can see that agreement here. This is all that is needed for both parties to be able to use pinqDR (and of course be bound by the outcome).
The parties’ submissions are made on the platform. It is an easy to follow process. Your firm can provide light-touch support to your client if they wish. This would be ideal for a junior lawyer to manage a case themselves, because the process is intuitive. Law firms tell us that they would probably charge the client for their services as a fixed fee, because the process is short and each of the steps are clearly set, so it is easy to accurately predict the time that will be spent (how you charge your clients is of course a matter for you). The arbitrator is able to order legal fees, as well as the fee paid to pinqDR, are paid by the losing party (just like in court and arbitration).
And because the entire process is online, you can do the work required at times that suit you and your client, around your other commitments.
Communications with the arbitrator
The first thing the arbitrator does when appointed is to issue a procedural order which says what further information the arbitrator needs to decide the case, who from and by when. The platform monitors these orders and the deadlines, providing parties an easy way to see when their responses are due. There is a progress bar at the top of the page which shows clients (and you) what stage the case has reached at any particular time – it is entirely transparent, and user-friendly.
Responses are provided by the parties to the arbitrator through the platform. There is a dedicated in-platform messaging service for that communication.
The arbitrator will tell you when they are deliberating and working on the award, and you will know when the award is due to be issued. Communication is clear and transparent.
Once you and your client have the award, it is enforceable like any other arbitral award (e.g. like an award of the LCIA, ICC, SIAC or any other arbitral institution). There is no appeal against the award on grounds of law or fact. The award is challengeable only on the same very narrow grounds of jurisdiction or procedural errors that all arbitration awards are subject to.
pinqDR is familiar yet a step-change
The platform has been designed so that it is familiar and reassuring to those who have experienced litigation and arbitration before. But likewise, pinqDR is a step-change in the way that dispute resolution is conducted and the dispute resolved: you will feel at home and yet find the process far more intuitive and user friendly. Clients experienced in litigation or arbitration will find, by comparison, the pinqDR process is less stressful, less time consuming and far more efficient.
We look forward to welcoming you and showing you why pinqDR is dispute resolution that powers business. If you would like to try pinqDR for free, click here to contact us.