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General counsel in 2009 survey said that law firms rarely bring up alternative billing arrangements

Late in 2009, while the U.S. economy was in the tank and cost control was the cry of the day, The American Lawyer and the Association of Corporate Counsel surveyed approximately 587 general counsel regarding their use of alternative fee arrangements. Some of the results appear in Lit. Mgt. Mag., fall 2011 at 58.

Particularly intriguing to me were the findings surrounding who initiated the AFAs. 54 percent of the surveyed top legal officers claimed to have initiated the use of AFAs; 18 percent said that the initiatives were jointly initiated with outside counsel; and only three percent said their outside counsel “first raised the issue of AFAs to them.”

According to the co-authors, a law firm partner and the general counsel of Life Time Fitness, “Less than two years later, the climate seems to be the same.” The point has been made before on this blog: both sides point fingers at the other to blame them for passivity.