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Fixed-fee arrangements ought to wrap in firm management measures

When law departments select a law firm to handle all their work of a certain kind at a fixed fee, the departments often establish performance metrics. These metrics might include average turnaround time (leases, for example), resolution statistics (litigation and EEOC charges), productivity (patent applications), and quality (zoning variances fully granted).

Eventually, law departments will insist on metrics that show how well the firm manages the staff members who contribute to those performance metrics. So-called “firm management metrics” could include practice expansion (more revenue in the areas of law drawn on by the fixed-fee arrangement), rates of partner promotion or recruitment (again, in the relevant practice area), lawyer turnover and retention rates, quality of the lawyers (education and experience), investments in technology (knowledge collections, document drafting), unbundling, and training (hours invested).