Let's Negotiate: Are Flat Fees a Practical Alternative?

Published 09/01/2010

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The combined effects of the recession and client empowerment (symbolized by the Association of Corporate Counsel's (ACC) Value Challenge that is intended, in the ACC's own words, to encourage "value-driven, high-quality legal services that deliver solutions for a reasonable cost") continue to transform The Business of Law. A new report by the Altman Weil consulting firm, 2010: Law Firms in Transition, provides dramatic evidence of the change. The firm surveyed the managing partners and chairs of nearly 800 law firms with 50-plus lawyers, and these were the first two conclusions reported:

  • More than 75 percent of firms surveyed believe that more price competition, more non-hourly billing, and the use of project management to improve efficiency service delivery will be permanent changes in how legal services are delivered.

  • Nearly 95 percent of firms surveyed (and all firms that had 150 lawyers or more) offer some alternative fee arrangements – primarily in response to client requests, not proactively.

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