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I'm thinking about getting a patent and was wondering about an alternative to spending $400 per hour on one attorney. What if someone spent $200 and got 2 attorneys/law firms that work together remotely with secure collaborative office software similar to Google Docs?

That way an average person like me would have a team of lawyers each with a different point of view. Maybe even a paralegal or someone with less experience would be willing to be a part of the team for free for experience.

Would something like this ever be possible, or is it unnecessary for an average person to have a team of lawyers?

I have no desire to patent a possible invention from this idea... Maybe if someone got a patent, they could make a donation to charity with royalties.

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    What you suggest should lead to a bill of at least 2000. One hour each for the attorney to do the work, then the rest for them to argue who did it better.
    – Pete B.
    Mar 22 at 19:34

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Have you heard of The Mythical Man-Month? Adding programmers to a delayed software project increases the delay. Nine women cannot give birth to one baby in one month.

Even if the lawyers are in agreement or refrain from the arguments that user Pete B. mentions in a comment, the time required for the lawyers to coordinate their work will increase the total lawyer time necessary for job. If you have two lawyers working simultaneously, the hourly rate is $800, not $200, so you need to decrease the time each works by over 50% in order to save money. This is unlikely.

A team of lawyers can complete a project more quickly than a lawyer working alone, provided the project is big enough to be broken into tasks that can be performed in parallel, but the overhead required to coordinate this means that the cost of doing so is likely to be higher overall, not lower.

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I think this idea has prior art. It is called "a law firm".

There are many ways in which such organizations can be structured, but what you end up with is a team of people with different levels of experience, and different specialities, who are able to take on a variety of legal work. Some of that will be routine, and some of it will explode into years of complex litigation. Internal collaboration is normal, including with the aid of technology. Larger firms will have many locations and lots of people.

As a client, the fees you pay are a reflection of the market. If you would like to pay $200/hour for two people rather than $400/hour for one, then a prerequisite is that those people are willing to do it. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't. It's just like paying for any other kind of service.

In some practice areas, it's possible to offer low fees for "bulk" or "routine" work - sometimes because that's amenable to automation, such as with air passenger delay claims. Patent law may not fall into this category because it is genuinely very difficult to write a patent well. You have to know the law and the technology, and the starting point presented by the client may be far from expressing the actual patentable ideas, if any. That means we have a more high-touch process with specialized expertise. The long durations involved also make it unsuitable for a "no win, no fee" structure (that is essentially a business risk management issue, where some cases pay for the rest). As a business idea, you would have to think about how to manage all that. Maybe you can make it work.

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  • That makes sense. However, how much internal communication is there, and wouldn't there be benefits from having two law firms rather than one?
    – greyyit
    Mar 23 at 0:08
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You might try to find a patent practitioner who is part of a firm and routinely bounces ideas off others.

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