Reliable Budgeting

To provide clients with predictable legal spend, the Legal Project Management Team assists lawyers with the development of reliable budgets. Budgets are created using a bottom-up approach which includes phases, tasks, activities, deliverables, proposed staffing, estimated time for completion, and assumptions. Budgets are then stored in our proprietary budgeting tool, Budget Designer, by department, practice area, and matter type and can be used to streamline future budget development across the Firm.

Budgets can be incorporated into the BakerManage system. Via secure access to our SharePoint system, BakerManage provides your in-house team with real-time information on actual spend against budget. Instead of managing legal spend on a 30-day billing cycle, BakerManage provides Baker Donelson attorneys and the client with current information on team performance, including that of local counsel.

After development, the budget template was compared against historical information to confirm the phase-level cost estimates. The budget is now used at the outset of any engagement as a guideline for the work to be performed in the case. If modifications are required due to unique issues, a revised template is submitted to the client for approval. Budget-toactual reconciliation is provided for all cases through BakerManage.

Case Study

  • Client: Corporate legal department
  • Problem: The client sought to obtain more predictability in its legal spend on a portfolio of repetitive cases, but had insufficient information to develop a reasonable fixed or flat fee proposal.
  • Solution: Baker Donelson recommended the development of budgets at the outset of every engagement to be used as a management tool to control legal spend. We worked with subject matter expert attorneys to develop a budget for the entire life cycle of a case. The budget was developed at the phase, task and resource levels to provide a reliable estimate of the work. If modifications are required due to unique issues, a revised template is submitted for approval. The budgets are loaded into BakerManage so that budget-to-actual reconciliation can be provided for all cases.

“Baker Donelson worked with us to develop a project plan and to develop a preliminary budget…Other Firms we interviewed…did not take this approach and this is one of the reasons we retained Baker Donelson.”


Real Estate Holding Company

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