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The Mad Clientist

The 22 Law Firms Best at AFAs

By April 27, 2016April 16th, 2020No Comments

Top legal decision makers identify 22 of the 650 law firms serving large and Fortune 1000 clients as absolutely best at developing and implementing alternative fee arrangements*, and shared 6 reasons these firms stand out:

  1. Partners have authority to enter into an AFA quickly. These partners do not have to wait for committee meetings or partner reviews of agreements. The negotiating partner also knows the parameters the firm will accept and approval is all but assured, and swift.
  2. Confidence, comfort, and enthusiasm in pursuit of the AFA. The firm’s enthusiasm and commitment to AFAs is contagious.
  3. Flexibility. The firms who stand out listen to the objectives and offer to change the approach as the objectives evolve and are agreed upon by all concerned.
  4. Willing to take some risk. The outstanding AFA firms have convinced clients they have skin in the game. Clients love the idea of risk sharing they can see and understand.
  5. Focused and efficient. The best firms have learned to make a beeline for the client’s goal. Much of the strategizing and planning has been done as the fee is negotiated—clients see their law firms operating like an Olympic swimmer—no wasted strokes.
  6. Stick to the agreement and never complain. The law firms don’t go back and ask for changes and live with whatever outcomes occur. Apparently many law firms ask for changes when things don’t go well—the best don’t. And the best have tight project controls to ensure they don’t need to ask.

Please join me in congratulating the following 22 firms who clients say are best at AFAs:

Armstrong Teasdale
Baker Botts
Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott
Blake, Cassels & Graydon
Covington & Burling
Fish & Richardson
Foley & Lardner
Husch Blackwell
Kirkland & Ellis
Lee Tran & Liang
Littler Mendelson
Morgan Lewis
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
Quarles & Brady
Schwartz & Ballen
Seyfarth Shaw
Simmons & Simmons
Thompson Hine
Valorem Law Group
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

These are the firms corporate counsel find are best at making AFAs the successful cost control tool they were intended to be—bringing improved client focus, predictability in budgets, a more streamlined approach to the work, and double-digit savings.

You can download a complimentary copy of BTI State of Alternative Fee Arrangements 2016 here for the complete list of law firms best at AFAs, as well as data detailing corporate counsel spending on AFAs.


*Based on BTI research conducted between March 2015 and September 2015. BTI conducted more than 300 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations.

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