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Fixed fees have taken off at British Airways — thoughts about prior familiarity of firm and department

As reported in Corp. Counsel, Nov. 2010 at 18, about British Airways, “70 percent of the London-based airline’s legal work is conducted under fixed fees.” If you have historical data, if you bundle enough work on prospect, and if you craft the process and arrangement intelligently, you can enjoy the benefits of both predictable spend and a different service paradigm.

Maria de Cunha, BA’s general counsel, said on a panel that “[Fixed fee arrangements] require having invested time in a firm and that they’ve invested time in you, as both sides need to know what they’re getting for their money.” True, familiarity helps, but law departments can still strike mutually fair deals with firms they have never retained.