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Today’s Value-Able Lawyer

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What is value if not cost?

When we speak of the value of a service or product, we naturally think of the cost of that service or product. (I’ll refer to “service” in my posts, since legal service is the general subject of this website.) In fact, though, other qualities of the service or product (what I refer to as Value-Related Qualities) comprise some aspect of that value. A VRQ other than cost may matter more than the outright price of the service.

To analogize from another context, if you awaken at 3 a.m. to the sound of rushing water and discover a pipe leaking substantial amounts of water, you immediately search for a plumber to repair the leak. If you contact two plumbers (to increase the chances that you will receive good service) and one quotes a lower hourly rate than the other but cannot begin the repair until the following afternoon, while the plumber who quotes the higher rate promises to arrive within thirty minutes, which plumber offers greater value?

It’s clear that the context will affect your perception of value in that situation. Moreover, the higher price of the plumber who will arrive shortly may pale in comparison with the “cost” of delay until the next afternoon in commencing the repair.

Steve Lauer