Moving Forward - To Embrace Alternative Fees


Reprinted/posted with permission of The Daily Journal Corp. (2009)

Fourth in a series of four articles on alternative fee arrangements by Pat McKenna, Pat Lamb, Jeff Carr and Ed Reeser.

Law firm leadership is being tested as never before. “Firms may be telling everyone how they’re on budget,” says one managing partner, “but the reality is that many will experience a decline in revenues again this year.”

In light of this, firms should focus their attention on securing relationships with their best clients, helping them do more with less. Unfortunately, many look at their client’s situation through the lens of their desire to increase revenues. Many general counsel sense that when their firm talks about “building relationships” it becomes nothing more than a euphemism for “give us more work,” while “providing added value” means, “at higher rates!”

The transition from hourly fees to alternative billing may be more evolutionary than transformational for many law firms. What will it take for more law firms to abandon the billable hour in favor of something that provides real value? Firm leadership that actually engages in a deliberate initiative to drive change, rather then forming internal committees to study alternative fee arrangements, has been lacking. Here are our recommendations for what capable leadership needs to do:

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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