November 3, 2009

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about alternative fee arrangements between professional services firms (including law firms) and their clients. Let me suggest that it is time to turn that buzz into meaningful conversation.

Alternative fee arrangements offer an exceptional means of enhancing the value proposition between attorney and client. But the concept of value is not measured by the invoice alone.

The process of creating an alternative fee arrangement gives every attorney and client a platform for digging deeper into unmet needs and unexplored opportunities. In looking beyond simple financial negotiations, the attorney and client can bring new insights to the analysis of the risks, rewards and uncertainties inherent in any business endeavor. This exercise can lead to new methods of delivering legal counsel, as well as better options for the pricing of those services.

The mutual trust and open dialogue that are fundamental to successful alternative fee negotiations set the stage for a fully cooperative and mutually rewarding partnership. Alternative fee arrangements should not be seen as a zero-sum economic exchange in which one party loses as much as (or more than) it gains. Rather, they are intended to enhance the long-term, collaborative relationship between firm and client, ultimately leading to what I call "lifetime value" for both.

At Much Shelist, we continually seek new and better approaches to the delivery of legal services, including a proactive exploration of fee options that complement the individual needs of each client. Perhaps you have already been part of the alternative fee discussion at Much Shelist. If not, I invite you to contact your relationship attorney to begin the conversation today. I also encourage you to watch for future updates from us on this important topic.

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.