As the economy continues to ebb and flow, law firms, legal vendors, and corporate counsel alike agree that law is as much a business as it is a practice. The recent past has highlighted a general consensus that money must be saved and the legal industry’s shift towards value-based billing.
Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), a major component of value-based billing, are part of the vast majority of law firms’ arsenal - 96 percent of firms report that 1 percent or more of their billings come from alternative fees - but that does not mean parties to AFAs are only focused on dollars and cents. Most agree that AFAs are about more than just saving money – AFAs promote communication and relationship development between a firm and its corporate client, encouraging the parties to collaborate and find the most efficient and effective way to handle a matter.
Although the drive to save money remains strong, industry leaders have started reflecting on how costs may be reduced long-term without sacrificing quality. The fact that the legal industry as a whole is searching beyond a “quick fix” indicates support for the belief that cost reductions are not always the best or only way to obtain value from an engagement.
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