The use of alternative fee arrangements (AFA) in the legal profession has been discussed for decades. Yet, my day-to-day dealings with General Counsel and law firms suggest continuing a high level of discomfort with the topic. There is a struggle to identify opportunities for AFAs. And even if such opportunities are identified, they are often seen as too time consuming, too risky, or simply too unfamiliar to pursue.
Statistical data from recent editions of the Altman Weil Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey shows some increase in AFAs over the last half dozen years, but the hourly rate (including reduced hourly rates) still represents the predominant billing method employed by law firms.