Alternative Fees Program

Do any of these scenarios apply?

  • Have you tried alternative fee arrangements, only to see them fail?
  • Do you want to experiment with alternative fees, but don’t know how to begin?
  • Are you ready to get started, but need a proven process to reduce the risk?

If so, our services can help.

Clients Want Predictable Fees

A recent American Legal Media survey found that 87% of the General Counsel surveyed viewed cost predictability and cost savings as the main reasons for using Alternate Fee Arrangements (AFA). It is common knowledge that containing legal costs sits atop most GCs annual to-do list.

Use AFAs to give your clients predictable fees and lower costs.


  • Stronger client relationships and greater loyalty.
  • More predictable and greater volume of work for the firm.
  • Increased matter profitability.
  • Lower costs to the client and for the firm.

Getting Started

AFAs are not a panacea or ideal for all types of legal work. But, for a large majority of project-based matters, they can work well. Implementing AFAs requires a clear understanding of your costs, capabilities, and how your team performs the work. With this foundational understanding, we can help you with all aspects of the process, including making use of Legal Project Management (LPM) tools and skills to profitably offer AFAs.

If you are just beginning to use AFAs, we suggest that you start small. Pick one or two of your best clients — clients where there is high degree of trust and communication.

Our Approach

Our Alternate Fee Program teaches you a proven methodology for implementing AFAs. As with our Legal Project Management services, we build in a high degree of “knowledge transfer” throughout the project.

Here is high-level overview of our process:

  1. Select the Client/Identify the Work. Begin by selecting a client whose work is appropriate for an AFA.
  2. Assemble the Team/Scope the Project. Select members from the firm and the client to staff the AFA team. Determine what legal work to perform.
  3. Analyze Your Costs. Determining what it costs to deliver services to the target client is the most important step in the process. For with a clear idea of your costs, you can craft a win-win AFA.
  4. Select the Best AFA. Different AFAs lend themselves to different types of legal work. Each fee structure allocates risk and affects client and law firm incentives in different ways. Here are six common arrangements:
    • Fixed fees
    • Budgeted fees with collars
    • Blended rates
    • Reverse contingent fees
    • Success fees
    • Holdbacks
  5. Develop Work Plan. Develop your work plan and timeline.
  6. Execute Using Legal Project Management (LPM) Techniques (Ideally). Using LPM techniques is the best way to ensure profitable delivery of your services. Click here to learn more about our LPM services.
  7. Review the Results/Modify Approach. Finally, at pre-determined intervals, conduct internal team and external client reviews to determine if the project’s objectives are being achieved and if the costs are in line with the budget.