Alternative Fee Arrangements: Opportunities and Challenges
The growing prominence of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) among many law firms can be attributed to client pressure during the recession. Instead of hourly charges, many clients are now being offered billing based on case outcomes.
According to some experts, the current backdrop can provide law firms with more opportunities. The fixed demand for legal services and the disinclination of many clients towards rate increases, make it hard for most firms to obtain more billable-hour profit. AFAs can be a good way for law firms to be more profitable and to differentiate itself from its competitors. A recent survey revealed that half of the polled clients consider a firm's openness to AFAs as a huge factor in choosing an outside counsel.
Appropriate measures should be taken by law firms to make AFAs work for them. Those with internal procedures that deal with the growing need for AFAs will take the leading position to take away opportunities from the unequipped ones.
In this two-hour LIVE Webcast, a panel of distinguished professionals and thought leaders assembled by The Knowledge Group will help law firms understand the important aspects of this significant topic. They will provide an in-depth discussion of alternative fee arrangements’ implications. Speakers will also offer best practices in developing and implementing an effective AFA strategy.
Key topics include:
- Alternative Fee Arrangements – An Overview
- Law Firm Billing Problems
- AFA Advantages and Disadvantages
- AFA in the Legal Landscape
- AFA Profitability
- AFA Implementation
- Best AFA Practices
- AFA Agreements
Lawrence & Bundy, LLC
- Discussion about who is using AFAs and which type of AFA is most often used.
- Discussion of AFAs and whether they are likely to remain in the legal landscape.
- Discussion of AFA profitability.
- Discussion about training needed to fully implement AFAs and gain maximum benefit.
- Discussion of Legal Project Management as a tool for AFA implementation.
Archer Norris, PLC
FIVE MISTAKES AND MISCONCEPTIONS SURROUNDING AFA AGREEMENTS
- Not understanding the potential client’s motivation to pursue/accept an AFA.
- Not offering an AFA to all clients. Samples of successful AFAs used by law firms include:
- A flat rate for particular projects both in the context of litigation and transactions. For instance, when appropriate, Archer Norris has devised fixed fee agreements for preparation of a Motion for Summary Judgment in litigation and fixed fee for various contract negotiations and due diligence assignments. Fixed fees are negotiated with the client on a case by case basis.
- A reduced fee, plus a multiple of the reduced fee payable as a success fee. This involves a fraction of the rate, plus a success fee calculated as a multiple of the rate upon achievement of an agreed-upon case result.
- A pure contingency fee, as well as a reduced fee plus a percentage of a recovery or cost avoidance, basis.
- A straight retainer basis.
- A guaranteed volume-based discount basis.
- Ignoring creating the perception of having “skin in the game.”
- Not considering an exit strategy and what both sides consider a successful business “venture.”
- Not developing a “trust culture” with existing clients to create AFAs which produce “profit” for all involved parties.
Mario C. Ciano, Chairman
Reminger Co., LPA
- AFAs and Overview.
- OBJECTIVE OF SHARING WITH OUR AUDIENCE BEST PRACTICES IN USING AFAS TO MAXIMIZE CLIENT SERVICE AND VALUE WHILE MAXIMIZING LAWYER PROFITABILITY.
- SHORT HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON LAWYERS CHARGING FOR THEIR SERVICES.
- Itemized invoice
- Predominance of the hourly fee
- ECONOMIC INCENTIVES OF THE HOURLY FEE
- ECONOMIC INCENTIVES OF THE ALTERNATIVE FEE ARRANGEMENTS
- BEST AFA PRACTICES
- The Preconditions that must be satisfied by the client before entering into an AFA.
- The preconditions from the law firm’s standpoint that must exist before submitted an AFA proposal.
- Accountability and review.
Who Should Attend:
- Legal Counsel
- In-house Counsel
- Senior Counsel
- Corporate Senior Management
- Other Interested Professionals
Mario served as Managing Partner of Reminger Co., L.P.A. from 1990 to 2005. A few of his many accomplishments include his vision to successfully expand Reminger from 45 attorneys in two offices to over 125 attorneys in eight offices. An Italian immigrant, Mario's hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and sense of fairness makes him a frequently requested mediator by both plaintiff and defense attorneys for complex litigation matters.
Mario has always maintained an eclectic legal practice. He enjoys representing businesses and professionals including attorneys, doctors and accountants. In fact, he is frequently hired by other attorneys to assist them or help resolve their own legal matters.
Mario has been recognized and included among the 'Best Lawyers in America' for the last ten years. He has been a featured 'Leading Lawyers' by Inside Business Magazine and is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and Defense Research Institute. He is also a faculty fellow for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a life delegate of the Eighth Ohio Judicial District. He frequently lectures to peer groups on various trial, litigation, professional liability issues, and alternative fee arrangements.
Mario served as Managing Partner of Reminger Co., L.P.A. from 1990 to 2005. A few of his many accomplishments include …
Allegra Lawrence-Hardy uses creativity and results-oriented strategic analysis to develop legal solutions that work for her clients. Allegra focuses her practice on Business and Commercial Litigation and Labor and Employment. She works with her clients on complex commercial and labor and employment matters. She has successfully defended Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States and abroad in numerous trials, arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Allegra is known for her skill in trying cases, negotiating complex settlements and finding creative solutions. She helps develop processes and tools for improving the efficiency and delivery of legal services.
Allegra served as a law clerk for the Honorable Susan H. Black of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She was recently recognized as Attorney of the Month by Attorney at Law Magazine and was named to the “Rainmakers” list by Diversity & the Bar for having an established record of generating business. Allegra has been repeatedly selected as a Georgia Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, named to The Best Lawyers in America, and selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers® “Top 50 Georgia Super Lawyers” and “Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyers.” She has been recognized by Chambers USA: Guide to Leading Business Lawyers. Allegra is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
Allegra Lawrence-Hardy uses creativity and results-oriented strategic analysis to develop legal solutions that work for her clients. Allegra focuses her …
As managing partner of Archer Norris, Gene Blackard applies the same creative, strategic and, when necessary, aggressive approach he brings to his cases to transforming Archer Norris into a leading innovator in California law. Lean and efficient with resources as the companies he serves, Gene also maintains his litigation practice.
Alternative fee structures, efficient use of office space, and forward-thinking approaches to legal project management are hallmarks of how Archer Norris does business under Gene’s watch. His enduring commitment to the firm’s client value proposition, focused on being lean, flexible, efficient and relatable, pave the way for Archer Norris to deliver highly efficient, cost-effective legal services to its clients.
Gene joined Archer Norris as associate in 1989 and was named Managing Partner in 2008. He holds a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a B.A. from Cal State University, Sacramento.
As managing partner of Archer Norris, Gene Blackard applies the same creative, strategic and, when necessary, aggressive approach he brings …
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About Reminger Co., LPA
Reminger Co., L.P.A. has historically represented a diverse client base in civil litigation. Areas of specialization within the firm have also evolved to include corporate, tax, real estate and probate matters. Our offices are strategically located so as to enable us to serve our clients more efficiently on a statewide and/or regional basis. Our attorneys have experience representing clients in complex and catastrophic matters throughout the United States.
About Lawrence & Bundy, LLC
Founded by Allegra Lawrence-Hardy and Thomas Bundy, the litigation firm Lawrence & Bundy delivers the results clients demand. With innovative problem solving and creative fee arrangements, the firm provides agile, effective, efficient solutions for clients nationwide. Lawrence & Bundy represents an array of sophisticated business entities and people in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, DC.
About Archer Norris, PLC
A leading California-based law firm, Archer Norris has more than 100 attorneys admitted to practice in 16 states. California law is unique, and our experience with growth-driven business gives us a clear perspective on laws in other states too. Archer Norris delivers solid, affordable legal counsel that is direct and on point. We resolve commercial disputes, steer groundbreaking deals, reduce risks and maximize opportunities. And that gives us a long view on your legal landscape.
BTI Consulting Group named Archer Norris to its 2016 Client Service A-Team, and the National Law Journal recognized Archer Norris on its “Midsize Law Firm Hot List” in 2015. The firm focuses on business law from five strategically located California offices. Archer Norris counsels clients in commercial and complex litigation, insurance coverage, bad faith litigation, business, healthcare, intellectual property, public entity, environmental, and real estate transactions throughout California and wherever our clients need us.