The Perennial Allure of Value-Based Fee Arrangements

Mari Henry Leigh of Legal Fees Solutions is featured in Lexis Nexis’ Corporate Law Advisory, on Alternative Fee Arrangements.

Many attorneys talk about Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs) like they’re the odd cousins who periodically visit, unannounced and for an indefinite period of time. They might bring you a nice gift, but they just make you uncomfortable. Well, hold on. You might get the guestroom ready. AFAs seem to have changed for the better, because, more and more companies and law firms are inviting them to stay.

What’s causing the change of heart? Mari Leigh chalks it up to “the value movement.”

“People still comment that AFAs will never replace the billable hour, but we are seeing more people embracing AFAs as a way to look for and purchase value in their legal services,” Mari said.

The use of alternative fee arrangements by large law firms nearly doubled from 2008 through 2014, and a recent survey found that 92% of law firms are using some form of non-hourly billing, Mari said.

In addition to value, diversity of arrangements is also driving growth in AFAs, she said. “Things that years ago I would have said could never be done in an AFA are now being done. There’s no limit to the type of AFA you can create.”

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