What concessions might law firms seek if they agree to provide a discount?

“In seeking new business, your last resort should be to discount fees,” intones Patrick McKenna in Law Practice, Vol. 32, Oct./Nov. 2006 at 16. If law departments force their law firms to discount fees or rates, the firm “must extract a reasonable quid pro quo in exchange.” After all, McKenna asserts, giving something away will only cause the law department to attach no worth to it.

He offers four compensatory demands that law departments might face when they insist on discounts. (1) The department could award the matter to the firm as a result of the concession. (2) The department could pay the firm electronically within two business days of receiving the invoice (See my posts of May 4, 2005; Aug. 24, 2005; Aug. 27, 2005; and Oct. 14, 2005 on prompt payment schemes.). The department could provide staff to do some of the mundane work of the transaction. (4) The department could agree to serve as a spokesperson for the firm or as a reference with interested prospects (See my post of Sept. 21, 2005 on publicizing firms.).

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