Unbelievable! Legal departments don’t expect action from law firms, just “open discussions”

An article by the president of BTI Consulting, published in Strategies, Vol. 11, Sept. 2009 at 6, lists as one of “five new client priorities law firms can leverage to build business” a notion very strange to me and my clients: “Discussing alternative fees is more important than adopting alternative-fee arrangements.”

Did I read that correctly? Talk counts more than action? Yes, because “Clients place high value on a firm willing to simply open a discussion regarding alternative billing arrangements.”

Is this view cynical? Is this hypocritical of law firm partners? Is it sound advice to law firms? “Regardless of implementation, open discussions on alternative billing demonstrate a law firm’s understanding of the client. Wrong, completely wrong. Open discussions don’t reduce costs; changed behavior and smaller invoices reduce costs.

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