Does acceptance of alternative fee structures vary by type of matter?

Alternative fee arrangements were the focus of the September 17, 2004 Web conference by Foley & Lardner. The conference summary reproduces a chart, without source, that gives by types of matters rates of taking up alternative fees. The least likely candidates included bankruptcy, benefits, regulatory, securities, other, and environmental. Slightly above them in acquiescence to alternative billing were capital markets, international, real estate, and general corporate. The five most amenable matter types were IP, contracts, acquisition, litigation and labor & employment.

When the in-house counsel attendees of the webinar responded to the same question, litigation and IP significantly led all other matter types, followed by regulatory and labor & employment.

The summary of the conference does not elaborate on why people identified some matter types as more accepting than others of alternative fees. In my experience, since the variety of “alternative fees” cuts such a wide swath, I’m not sure if the metrics — which also came from an unknown population by size and characteristics — have much value (See my post of May 24, 2006 on unit billing.).

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