This is not phoolishness. American Express sets the fees it will pay litigation counsel for certain phases of predictable types of cases that should be resolved by a motion for summary judgment. According to a teleconference hosted by three ACC committees, where one of its litigators took part, if the case isn’t resolved during the fixed-fee phase, the firm works thereafter on a discounted hourly rate.
Phrankly speaking, a phine idea. The fixed fee gives the firm an incentive to resolve cases as promptly as possible; the reduction in the firm’s billing rates thereafter adds another dose of incentive.