Is It “Alternative Fee Arrangements” or “Value-Based Billing?”

    Yes. There has been discussion over the past months as to whether the better term for non-hourly billing is "alternative fee arrangements" or "value-based billing." The answer is yes, and yes. The first "yes" is an...

    Alternate Fee Agreements Meet Process Improvement

    Following my post on Alternative Fee Agreements for law firms and their clients I had one of those days where I wished I had never heard of the phrase. I was sitting in the middle of a flat fee project. Had I priced by the billable hour, I would be rich...

    Engagement letters vs. statements of work

    This post was written by LegalBizDev Principals Mike Egnatchik , Tom Kane , and Jim Hassett . At the beginning of a new matter, lawyers often specify its scope and fees in an engagement letter. The engagement letter is designed to clarify exactly...

    Legal Project Management Can Help You Get the Fees You Deserve

    Many lawyers are reluctant to discuss money with clients upfront. I know when I practiced, it was a topic I would shy away from as much as possible. But, in this day and age, that is less of an option. Clients are more demanding regarding what they...

    Budgets Are A Reality For Litigators

    By Eric E. Bensen & Rebecca K. Myers There is probably no other part of the litigation process where the cold hard reality of hindsight has less in common with the lofty expectations of planning than the much demanded, but universally dreaded litigation...

    Litigation Budgets Can Help Resolve Differences Between Inhouse And Outside Counsel

    By Eric E. Bensen & Rebecca K. Myers A detailed budget, one that accounts for the number and nature of anticipated motions, scope of discovery to be taken by each side, including depositions, length of trial, etc., provides an opportunity for In...

    Building consensus in compensation: the Addleshaws case study

    Another well-intentioned and innovative reform to a law firm's partner compensation system has been aborted. The senior management team at one of the United Kingdom's better-managed law firms, Addleshaw Goddard , has been forced, by what...

    Partners: Start Your (Marketing) Engines

    According to the "Firms in Transition Survey 2011" reported on Law360 on Tuesday "unproductive and underproductive partners" (read non-rainmakers) will be cut by 20% of the law firm responding to the Altman Weil (no follow) survey...

    Legal project management: Fundamental shift or flavor of the month?

    Last month, the Canadian magazine Lexpert ran an article about legal project management that began by describing two partners at Stewart McKelvey who participated in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program . The article went on to discuss...

    What Does “Cost” Mean?

    The always interesting 3 Geeks blog had a post the other morning about the procurement function in legal in general and reverse auctions in particular . The bigger question is this: Should clients buy legal services based on cost? 1 I don't...

    How to define legal project management

    When I give speeches, I usually include a slide that defines legal project management. But until recently, I had not been satisfied with my own slide. Legal project management is an emerging area, and no one can be sure what it will look like in a...

    How to manage budget risks – The example of enforcing a non-compete

    This guest post was written by Richard Rosenblatt , a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice. It is an edited version of an essay he wrote as a participant in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program . When we represent...

    Year-end countdown: accounts receivable

    As we approach the end of September, firms with fiscal years ending in December should already be taking the first steps in their year-end fee collection campaign. Your firm's billing team will probably do most of the heavy work, but in well...

    The nine most common types of alternative fees

    When I interviewed chairmen, senior partners, and C-level executives from AmLaw 100 firms (in the LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees ), nine types of AFAs were reported most frequently: Fee caps : In a fee cap, hourly rates are charged up to...

    Excuse me, I think your pricing is broken

    I was pleased to read the post on 3 geeks about value billing as this is definitely a topic that needs exploring further, not least because I'm astonished by the number of law firm partners who continually tell me that it's for clients to find...

    Has the Hourly Billing Model Become An AFA?

    In a telephone conference earlier today with a client talking about legal project management and alternative fee arrangements, I was struck by a statement by one of the partners on the call. Although he recognized clearly that AFAs, especially fixed...

    Pricing (Part 1 of 6): What lawyers need to know and why

    Some law firms are going to large companies and offering to do all their legal work for one fixed price, but the firms don't know how it will work out in the long run. I suspect in some cases it will come out really ugly. This prediction was...

    Pricing (Part 2 of 6): The cost-plus approach

    A few weeks ago, when I gave a speech at the retreat of a 1,000 lawyer firm, a senior partner asked: "In your experience, how do large firms determine costs?" I replied: "Mostly, they don't. Until recently, most firms were making...

    How to Manage Your Law Office: Internal Controls

    Internal controls are important to prevent error and ensure integrity of accounting records as well as to reduce the risk of misappropriation of assets (fraud). A good system of internal controls protects both the firm and its employees. Designing such...

    The Future Value of Today’s Inventory

    Most law firm managers understand intui­tively that the value of inventory (both WIP and A/R) degrades over time, but by how much and how quickly? The ability to un­derstand and answer these two questions is the first step in preparing a realistic...

    Gaining Firm Acceptance of a Profitability Model

    As law firms grow in size, and expand geographically and across practice areas, the use of firm-wide profitability tools has become a business necessity. But understanding the urgency to adopt or update a profitability model doesn't guarantee its...

    Gaining Confidence in Alternative Billing

    The tide appears to have turned in favor of alternative billing solutions. Amid the continued economic tumult, firms are responding as never before to client demands for more creative pricing. As these arrangements play out, however, some firms are likely...

    How Healthy Is Your Inventory?

    All businesses that accumu­late material amounts of ac­counts receivable ("A/R") rely on metrics that measure the turnover of those receivable balances as a gauge of risk and li­quidity. One of the most common metrics used is what...

    Normalizing Mix Variables in Law Firm Financial Data

    Most law firm managers understand the importance that business analysis plays in steering a firm toward success. However, as with so many things in life, a little bit of analysis can be a dangerous thing. Management reporting processes typically collect...

    Increasing Collection Rates

    Good billing practices can help you get paid for the work you've done and improve your client relationships in the process One common experience for small and mid-sized law firms is the growing amount of receivables. Usually, there are two reasons...