Three points regarding your law firms if you want them to work on fixed fees

Most partners need considerable nudging from their clients if they are going to commit to fixed-fee billing. An article in the ABA J., Vol. 94, July 2008 at 26, gives three suggestions.

Choose services that are amenable to fixed fees (See my post of March 1, 2008 – 36 references to fixed fees.). The example given in the article is immigration law, “where flat-fee billing is the industry standard from boutique to multinational giant” (See my post of June 17, 2008: real estate services.).

Choose services where the law firm can analyze years of its bills and thereby propose a reasonable and reliable fee arrangement (See my posts of Feb. 19, 2007: “data mining”; and Feb. 24, 2008: analytical tools of law firms.).

Choose firms that will bill on a fixed fee but also track their time and submit it. Even with a fixed-fee arrangement, the department needs to receive and review bills (See my post of Sept. 13, 2006.). I mention this mostly because the article states that one firm, having moved to fixed-fee billing, adamantly refuses to “secretly” keep time. That may be fine for the firm, but not for the law department that wants to know how long tasks took so that it can re-bid the services later and use the billing information to inform its competition.

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