Partnering to Enhance Client Value
At Jackson Walker, we treat our client relationships as strategic partnerships where flexibility, transparency, and communication are paramount. We partner with clients in an effort to meet their legal and financial goals and objectives while creating loyal, long-standing relationships based on commitment, care, resourcefulness, and uncompromising quality. We see our clients through the ups and downs of the business, industry, and economy—in good times and bad, for better or for worse. One of the many ways we do this is by offering alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) when appropriate.
We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside the box when it comes to developing fee arrangements that maximize client value and offer cost predictability, certainty, and transparency. From traditional fee arrangements – including fixed hourly fees and volume-discounts – to assorted alternative fee arrangements, our attorneys work closely with clients to design fee arrangements precisely suited to the client and matter.
What Are Alternative Fee Arrangements
AFAs are agreements entered into with a client to provide compensation based on a structure that focuses on results in place of, or in addition to, the time expended to do the work. In other words, the fee charged is based on how the client perceives the value of the work rather than the time it takes for the attorney to do the work. Controlling costs is critical to the success and growth of a business. AFAs allow us to provide a better way for clients to manage costs. By understanding each client’s needs, tailoring pricing models, sharing risk, managing budgets, and streamlining workflows, we are able to offer our clients predictable costs and measurable savings. AFAs also give clients more power over their legal budgets, allowing for more predictable cash flow.
Types of Fee Arrangements
For clients who prefer the dependability of tradition, we offer hourly-based billing arrangements. For those who prefer alternative fees, we are happy to discuss any reasonable risk-sharing fee structure that balances the relative investment and risk taken on by the firm with the client’s value and objectives for success in the matter. We will consider pure contingent fee and partial contingent fee litigation matters; fixed and capped fees for a wide variety of both litigated and non-litigated matters; “hold backs” or any combination of risk/reward structures negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the client; a wide variety of success-oriented arrangements; retainer arrangements for a specific area of work or for a portfolio of work; fees based on transaction specifics such as square feet in a real estate deal; and hybrid arrangements of any of the above determined to be appropriate to the client and matter. Depending on the specific terms of any alternative fee arrangement, clients may be obligated to pay all or a portion of court costs or other out of pocket expenses associated with the matter. We can sometimes offer volume discounts, caps and carries, progressive rates and sequential discounts, collared rates, and blended rates.
What is the Process for Determining Alternative Fee Arrangements?
The cornerstone for all fee arrangements is trust. It ensures a win-win engagement that incorporates the interests of both client and law firm, and results in value and predictability. It takes the good will of both parties to strike the right balance in costs, income, and risk. For years we have engaged in innovative partnerships with our clients, sharing the risk of legal expenses and the rewards of our seasoned professionals, while fostering an atmosphere of trust and value.
A successful alternative fee arrangement demands honest collaboration between attorney and client to ensure strategic alignment and accurate scoping. Background information is shared so that we can assess the nature and complexity of the matter, the likelihood of success, anticipated challenges, fees to be incurred, and the client’s objectives. Each situation is different and so we work closely with clients to develop tailored alternative fee arrangements that provide the best value and result for both the client and our firm. We are committed to investing the time required to develop a thorough, well-designed plan and will use the many technological tools at our disposal to ensure a realistic, beneficial, and fair arrangement that takes into consideration all the relevant parameters.