Thursday, May 7, 2009, 1:56 PM

Clients Need To Win On Every Fee!

Been absent from the blog for awhile -- accommodating all the changes in the legal profession resulting from the meltdown, which I track to September 15, 2008 or so.

Whatever else it has done, the meltdown seems to me to have made buyers of legal services more serious than they have been to date about evaluating the possibility of engaging firms other than CYA ones. We are more active than ever in discussing the array of possibilities with inside counsel and other legal buyers. I am proud of my partner Rob Fields, who, during a LegalBizDev - West LegalEdCenter webinar phrased it about as well as I have seen it phrased. This Fields' quote from the webinar, as reported by Jim Hackett (CEO of LegalBizDev): "....Some large firms are beginning to embrace this philosophy. According to Rob Fields from Womble Carlyle (over 500 lawyers), “The client needs to win on every fee, every time, even though at larger law firms, it’s difficult to wrap our minds around this.” He described a large project Womble Carlyle recently started in which the client can choose whether to pay by the hour or to pay one of several predetermined fixed fees. At the end of each matter, the client gets to pick the lowest price. Of course clients love this, but it imposes significant demands on the firm. “We have to manage our staff closely and focus our resources on what the client values.... It gives you incentive to focus.”

Read Jim Hasslett's Commentary here:
http://adverselling.typepad.com/how_law_firms_sell/2009/05/alternative-fees-part-12-whats-different-for-big-law.html

Steve Bell

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