Liquidated damages enforceable in Oklahoma for fixed-fee arrangement with law firm

With trepidation I cite an actual case, but the broader point about management of outside counsel encourages me, a lawyer manqué. You can read more in the 2011 supplement to Bob Haig’s Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel, Section 9 at 96, about McQueen, Rains & Tresch, LLP v. Citgo Petroleum Corp., 2008 OK 66, 195 P.3d 35 (Okla.2008). “The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently held that liquidated damages provisions in fixed-fee, fixed-term agreements between lawyers and a sophisticated corporate client are enforceable under Oklahoma law.

It would be a bold law firm these days that requests a liquidated damages provision in a set-fee deal with a company, but perhaps that provision enables the law department to obtain better financial terms. I also wonder whether by definition a company with an internal law department would for this court’s purposes be deemed “sophisticated.”

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