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Veeto's Fixed-Fee Pre-Litigation Services—Are They Worth The Money?

Here are ROI numbers from 3 sample Veeto cases won by court verdict

· Pre-Litigation,Pricing,Sample Cases,Veeto Review,ROI

When someone is considering using Veeto to resolve a contract dispute, there are a few FAQs commonly asked to aid a person's evaluation about whether or not hiring Veeto makes sense.

One of these FAQs regards the results past Veeto clients were able to obtain, and another regards what kind of ROI ("return on investment") those clients ended up getting on the money they paid to Veeto (i.e. how much money did they pay Veeto, and how much did they end up getting back?).

In this article, we'll provide you with ROI data from three sample Veeto cases to answer both of these common questions.

pre-litigation case manager

Why we chose these three sample cases

We chose three cases Veeto handled against the same opponent so that you can get some sense of what is typical in a given (what we call) Veeto "use case." Further, we chose three cases that were specifically resolved by court verdict, so that none of the data presented here is bound by any sort of confidential settlement agreement. (In fact, because the verdict in each case is a matter of public record, you should be able to verify each result independently if you wish to do so.)

Also, to make it easier to compare the results obtained in each case to both the other to cases given here and to your own case (now, if you have one, and that is the reason you are reading this post at all), we will present the data for each case in a uniform format:

  • What was the "problem" the client was trying to resolve?
  • How much money did the client pay Veeto?
  • What was the total value of the case result for the client?

Got it? Good--let's do it.

Background on the three sample cases

Because each of these three cases featured the same opponent, some of the background for each case is common to all three: the opponent was a commercial landlord, and the client had entered into an agreement to pay for and receive office services from that landlord for a certain period of time; in each case, the relationship soured when the landlord failed to perform as agreed, and each client subsequently sought to teminate the relationship with the landlord and end the agreement prior to end of the agreement's stated term.

Some of the differences between the three cases pertain to where the dispute arose, the total value of "the problem," and the specific legal claims each client made via Veeto's pre-litigation services. One client rented office in the Boston, Massachusetts area; one in the Chicago, Illinois area; and one in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. So, let's refer to each case by its respective locale.

1) The Boston Case

Before Veeto got involved

A boutique insurance brokerage firm based in Massachusetts, our Boston-area client had been a tenant of the landlord for almost three years before the contract dispute arose. At first, the client tried to resolve the dispute by working directly with the landlord. But after more than eight months of trying and failing, the client eventually decided they needed help. The client booked a micro-consultation with Veeto because Veeto "hyper-specializes" in cases against this particular landlord.

The substance of the client's dispute with the landlord

In the micro-consultation, the client listed the following component issues:

  • Deposit - the landlord had failed to properly account for the client's paid deposit of almost $3,000, which led to the landlord overcharing client by that amount;
  • Extra charges - the landlord charged client for "extra services" the client never used, asked for, or agreed to pay for, and even after complaining about these extra charges repeatedly, the landlord continued to levy the charges counter to the terms of the office service agreement;
  • Rate increase - the landlord had unilaterally increased the client's rent, which was, again, counter to the terms of the governing office service agreement;
  • Billing errors - the landlord had committed several billing errors on client's account, and one result of those errors was that the landlord had erroneously charged the client undue late fees that had ulitmately been triggered by the landlord's seminal billing errors.

The client explained that the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" was when the landlord agreed to rent client a second office, to replace the first, and then repudiated that agreement, insisting instead that the client was stuck with the first office. So, even before Veeto got involved, the facts and evidence underlying the client's legal claims against the landlord were many.

Veeto's offer to help

Based on the case details the shared during the micro-consultation, Veeto offered to help via Veeto's fixed-fee pre-litigation services, of which there were several options the client could choose from. The client narrowed down their interest to three different options on Veeto's menu of pre-litigation services, and Veeto provided the client with a fixed-fee quote for each option. The client ended up selecting one of the two full-service options--the quoted fixed fee for that option being $1,885, which was determined based on several factors particular to the case and the specific pre-litigation services the client wanted to hire Veeto to do.

Are Veeto's pre-litigation service fees really fixed?

The client expressed both shock at how low the price was and suspicion about whether any caveats existed that would result in the client paying anything more than the quoted fixed fee of $1,885. This is because, as the client seemed to already know, fixed-fee legal services are very rare in contract disputes (the more common pricing model is the "traditional law firm's" billable-hour service fee; see this article for a detailed comparison of the three most common pricing models in legal services). Not wishing to be met later with the same kind of unexpected, extra fees that the client's landlord had charged the client, the client dug into this question at length during the evaluation of Veeto's pre-litigation service:

...what happens if [the case ends up requiring more work than expected]? Should I expect additional billing?

Veeto answered: "you should not expect any extra billing from us." But the client wanted to be doubly sure. So, the client asked once more:

[T]hank you for the clarification. Let’s play devil’s advocate and assume it goes beyond the [the amount of work expected]. What should I expect in terms of future billing[?] other words will you be expecting another $1885 if this goes beyond [the amount of work expected?]

Again, the client's doubt was perfectly understandable given how rare fixed-fee legal services are in contract disputes, and because the client had never worked with Veeto before, Veeto's fixed-fee pricing model must have struck the client as something approaching too good to be true (honestly, we take that kind of shock as a compliment). So, we were happy to field the question once more, and we restated our prior answer: "Again, the answer is: no, you should not expect any extra billing from us."

The stakes of the client's case

When the client asked Veeto to help, only 4 months of future obligation remained on the office service agreement's term, a total monetary value of just over $5,000. Keep in mind, though, that the client had already been trying to resolve the dispute for 8 months by the time the client reached out to Veeto. So, really, there were 12 months of agreement obligation "at issue." But because the client had struck out so many times DIY by the time Veeto got involved, the client had essentially "lowered" their objective outcome from about $15,000 of value to about $5,000 of value. In addition, for the same reason, whereas the client had initially sought refund of deposits totalling a little over $5,000, throughout the client's DIY attempts to resolve the dispute, the client had grown weary and had similarly decided to abandon this part of the orginal objective. So, what should have been a total stakes of about $20,000 had essentially eroded to a baseline stakes of around $5,000.

The client's expected ROI

After conducting the pre-purchase evaluation, the client hired Veeto, and Veeto was able to help client win the dispute. Although most Veeto cases do not go to trial, this one did. So, we are not constrained by any sort of confidentiality clause (which is a typical part of a mutual settlement agreement, the more common mode of case resolution) with regard ot the specific case result, and we have a public-record court verdict to reference. At trial, the court ruled in favor of our client on all claims, resulting in a judgement of several thousand dollars agains the opponent, along with taxation of our client's costs. So, the value of that win consists of three parts: the value of the claimed money owed by the opponent to our client, the value of the compensation from the opponent for the client's dispute resolution costs, and the ruling that our client had no further obligation under the office service agreement as of the date the dispute arose. Adding all of that together, then, the total "return" on the $1,885 the client paid to Veeto was about 10.5x, because the total value of the win was around $19,735. In other words, the client's actual ROI ended up being almost exactly what the client estimated at the outset to be the highest possible ROI. Not bad--the client, of course, was very pleased with this outcome.

2) The Charlotte Case

Before Veeto got involved

A marketing agency based in North Carolina, our Charlotte-area client had only been a tenant of the landlord for less than a month before the contract dispute arose. As with our Boston-area client, at first, our Charlotte-area client tried to resolve the dispute DIY ("do it yourself") by working directly with the landlord. But after five months of trying, but failing, the client eventually decided they needed help. The client found Veeto while researching how other client's of the same landlord had resolved their various issues with the landlord. The client booked a micro-consultation with Veeto to find out how Veeto might be able to help.

The substance of the client's dispute with the landlord

In the micro-consultation, the client listed the following component issues:

  • the landlord's salesperson had made several misrepresentations to the client to induce the client to enter into the office service agreement; but when the client quickly discovered only weeks after executing the agreement, the landlord attempted to eschew any accountability for the salesperson's misrepresentations; in addition to the issue of principle, the practical problem was that the client suddenly found themselves locked into a deal that was not nearly as attractive as the salesperson had represented it to be;
  • the term of the office service agreement was for 24 months, with an automatic renewal provision that permitted the landlord to automatically renew the agreement for another 24 months if the client failed to give written notice of termination prior to the three months in advance of the term's end date; however, only two months into the 24-month agreement, the landlord automatically renewed the agreement for another 24-month term, which was plainly counter to the terms of the office service agreement's automatic renewal provision;
  • there were a number of other performance failures by the landlord pertaining to add-on "office services" the client's agreement with the landlord obligated the landlord to provide, some of which exposed the client to financial and legal harm external to the client's relationship with the landlord.

The client was a long-time member of their local chamber of commerce, and, as such, at first expected that the dispute could be resolved amicably and professionally by trying to work directly with the landlord to find a resolution. That proved to be an missed expecation, however, which the client eventually realized after giving the landlord several months of opportunities to "do the right thing" and resolve the issues.

Veeto's offer to help

After the micro-consultation, the client knew right away that they wanted Veeto to handle the case. So, the Charlotte-area client's evaluation turnaround time was much shorter than the Boston-area client's. Within 48 hours of the micro-consultation, the client hired Veeto to handle the case full-service for $1,885.

The stakes of the client's case

When the client asked Veeto to help, 19 months of future obligation remained on the office service agreement's term, a total monetary value of just over $10,000. Being excsued from that ~$10,000 obligation was the client's primary objective.

The client's expected ROI

In the micro-consultation, Veeto detailed to the client what we believed the client could reasonably expect Veeto to be able to help accomplish in this case. As with our Boston-area client, Veeto that and why we were confident that we could go after a larger pot of gold than $10,000--again, based on the claims we believed to be viable and the estimated "value" of each of those claims. We believed that a baseline pot of gold of closer to $13,000 was a vialble minimum objective to aim for, and that we were also confident we could land higher than that. So, in this case, we're guessing that the client was hoping for an ROI of somewhere between 5.3x and 6.9x on the $1,885 paid to Veeto.

The client's actual ROI

When the court issued its verdict, however, the client actually ended up with an ROI that was at least 9.1x, excluding the interest the court ordered the opponent to pay to our client, because the total value of the win was around $17,232 without adding in that interest. As with the Boston case, the value components of this verdict included the value of the claimed money owed by the opponent to our client, the value of the compensation from the opponent for the client's dispute resolution costs (which the court taxed to the opponent), and the ruling that our client had no further obligation under the office service agreement as of the date the dispute arose (in fact, the court ruled that the effective termination date of the office service agreement was concurrent with the agreement's commencement date, which, in effect, meant that Veeto helped the client achieve what is probably the best possible outcome in a case like this: fully wiping the slate clean and recovering a full refund of all money paid the client had paid to the oppoent). As you might imagine, our client was very pleased with that outcome:

We are very happy that the decision is in our favor, and they ordered [the landlord] to pay us the $7000 plus interest. Thank you for your help!

I really appreciate the help and thorough explanations throughout the whole process.

3) The Chicago Case

Before Veeto got involved

A communications consultancy based in Illinois, our Chicago-area client had only been a tenant of the landlord for almost exactly 3 years when the contract dispute arose. Somewhat unlike our Boston-area client and our Charlotte-area client, our Chicago-area client tried for only about a month to resolve the dispute DIY ("do it yourself") by working directly with the landlord--as the client explained to us, they knew right away that "winning" against this landlord was likely going to require more effort and experience than the client had internally. So, the client decided within that first month that they needed help. Our understanding is that the client found Veeto while discussing the matter with a law firm the client knew, because that law firm recommended Veeto to help (the client is a board member of a national trade organization, and we believe the client knew that law firm through that trade organization). On the strength of that recommendation, we understand, the client booked a micro-consultation with Veeto to find out how Veeto might be able to help.

The substance of the client's dispute with the landlord

In the micro-consultation, the client listed the following component issues:

  • the landlord had chronically failed to provide reliable internet service at the rented office, and the office service agreement specifically obligated the landlord to provide internet service; the internet issues had been ongoing for several months, despite several complaints to the landlord form our client, but the landlord never really figured out how to fix whatever was causing the internet to be unreliable;
  • for this reason, when the deadline to give notice of termination approached prior automatic renewal, our client gave the landlord notice of termination, citing the internet service issue specifically; landlord then promised to finally fix the internet issue and proceeded to automatically renew client's office service agreement for a new 24-month term, although the landlord had still not resolved the internet issue; the client explained to the landlord that the client had given the required notice of termination and was only willing to 
  • consider
  •  entering into a new agreement term when/if landlord followed through on the promise to finally fix the internet issue; the automatic renewal, as it stood, therefore, was not valid, according to the client's argument; but the landlord disagreed, albeit not on the strength of any legitimate rebuttal or counter-argument; instead, the landlord seemed to adopt the posture toward the client of, "what are you going to do about it?"
  • there were also attendant issues pertaining to unauthorized charges by the landlord to the client's credit card,  unilateral rent increases by the landlord, and certain misrepresentations the client had only recently discovered around the time that the dispute arose.

After the micro-consultation, the client decided to give the landlord one more chance to resolve the matter amicably before handing the case to Veeto: "I’m waiting to hear back from [the landlord] if they offer a reasonable exit plan. If not, I will contact you." Spoiler alert: the landlord offered no resonable resolution; so the client circled back to Veeto.

Veeto's offer to help

As with the other two cases featured in this article, the Chicago-area client wanted to hire Veeto to handle the case full-service, for a fixed fee of $1,885. However, this client was keenly interested to speak some of Veeto's past clients who could serve as customer references. In the context of this article you are now reading, it is somewhat meta that the client's request for Veeto customer references broached the topic of the standard confidentiality requirements of a mutual settlement agreement. It's meta-relevant to this article because it also explains why the three sample cases we chose were cases that were not resolved by mutual settlement. As we explained to this Chicago-area client in response to their request:

[W]e have to limit our search for client references to a smaller pool of cases that were not resolved by confidential settlement (because the majority of our cases are resolved by confidential settlement). When a case is resolved by confidential settlement, all parties (and agents of those parties, including Veeto) to that settlement agreement have a legal duty to not discuss the matter; that's what the "confidential" part means; and since most of our cases end by confidential settlement, it constrains what info we can give you, and also constrains whom I can introduce you to.

Because this particular client has many law firms and attorneys as clients, the client replied to Veeto to say that they understood and were happy working within that confidentiality constraint:

Not a problem at all [...] I definitely do not need to discuss the case or case outcome, I really just need to perform basic due diligence for working with a new vendor partner and confirm my very positive impression of your process and knowledge based on our call. Perhaps a couple of your law firm clients would be an easy option for you since they know what they can say and would not violate any confidentiality.

The client's expected ROI

The stakes of the client's case

The client's primary objective was to defeat the landlord's claim that the client was obligated under the automatically renewed 24-month term which occurred after the client had given notice of termination. The total value of that alleged obligation was a little over $12,000. As a secondary objective, though, the client was also interested in obtaining a refund of the client's deposit the landlord was still holding, along with a refund of several erroneously charged fees. Altogether, then, the baseline stakes of the case were a little over $14,000.

As requested, then, Veeto provided the client with three customer references of law firms who themselves had used Veeto in the past to resolve contract disputes against the same landlord the Chicago-area client was, at that time, dealing with, and the client circled back the following day to say that the references "passed the test," as it were: "Your references checked out as expected so I would like to get started ASAP (also [one of Veeto's past law firm clients] said hello)." So, at that point, the client hired Veeto and we got started on the case.

The client's actual ROI

Second, we chose these three cases because they feature what most legal service providers would consider to be baseline stakes that are too low to handle profitably. Every "use case" Veeto hyperspecializes in tends to fall under the upper limit of what we consider to be a "low stakes case" (which, in the US, is about $200,000 for a contract dispute), and many legal service providers find it difficult to impossible to help clients profitably when the case stakes are that low--at least in a way, and at a price, that the client can practicably justify. Not only do we thrive in that "low stakes" category, but we can also handle cases with stakes that on the lowest end of that range, cases worth $1,000 and lower, for example; that's shockingly low in legal services; so, we chose these three sample cases to also illustrate that key difference between Veeto's model and (what we might call) "the traditional law firm" business model--we're more like a legaltech company in terms of how we help, how efficient our processes are, and, in turn, how low our prices can be while still being profitable for us, even when those prices are fixed. Anyway, as you'll see the three sample cases featured here featured initial stakes of around $10,000 ; that's far too small for most attorneys to touch, but not for Veeto; and not only were we able to handle the case, profitably, but our clients were also thrilled with the respective ROI they got on the fixed fee they each paid to Veeto.

ROI numbers without context? Gross!

Viewed in isolation or presented without context, our view is that "ROI numbers" don't always give an accurate picture of how those ROI numbers were actually calculated. So, here, we also tried to provide some narrative details about each case so that you have sufficient insight on how to understand the ROI figures associated with each case. On the downside, that required this article to be longer than mere "bathroom reading length." But on the upside, if you've actually taken the time to read this article end-to-end, you probably learned somethig useful. We hope it was helpful.

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