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Law Practice Management

Few Lawyers Report Being ‘Very Satisfied’ with Alternative Fees, Survey Finds

Posted Aug 28, 2012 7:05 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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More lawyers are using alternative fees, but they aren’t embracing them wholeheartedly, a recent survey has found.

Only 26 percent of legal departments and 11 percent of law firms reported they were "very satisfied" with alternative fees, according to the survey by ALM Legal Intelligence. Corporate Counsel interviewed Kris Satkunas, director of analytic consulting at survey sponsor LexisNexis CounselLink, for her take on the survey results.

Satkunas said both outside counsel and in-house lawyers tell her they aren’t yet comfortable with alternative fee arrangements. She surmises the reason is a lack of information about how they can benefit from the fees. "There are many more people who use them, but haven't gone back and measured," she said.

Thomas Anderson, senior counsel at CSX Corp., told the publication that his company’s adoption of alternative fees over the last seven years is “a process, not an event." The goal, he said, isn’t cheap legal services. Instead the fees help the company focus on its relationship with outside counsel rather than the billable hours count. "It definitely saves us time,” he said. “And time is money."

The survey included respondents from 194 large law firms and 141 law departments.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: "Facing the Alternative: How Does a Flat Fee System Really Work?"

Last updated 10:30 a.m. Sunday to clarify that Kris Satkunas was talking about alternative fee arrangements.

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