With local firms that defended the bulk of its slip-and-fall and other small cases, Walmart used to demand flat per-case fees, reportedly as low as $2,000. That scrimping backfired, as firms cut corners, so Walmart dropped that policy after 2002 (Corp. Counsel, Vol. 12, Nov. 2005 at 23).
That policy diverges greatly from an alternative Walmart could have adopted. If it had paid firms a flat fee to handle all of the same mix of cases for a period of time in a given area, its system might have survived longer (See my post of Sept. 14, 2005 about Cisco’s flat fees.). With a portfolio, firms can quickly handle some cases, invest much more than the average fee amount on a few cases, and otherwise balance their resources better, and thereby obtain better results for their client.