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Adams Interviewed in CityBusiness Article on Alternative Fee Arrangements

8/15/2014

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Adams and Reese Managing Partner Chuck Adams was interviewed in an August 15 CityBusiness article, “Attorneys Going Alternative with Fee Arrangements,” which discusses a recent survey conducted by Altman and Weil, a management and consulting services firm, that shows over 48 percent of the 304 U.S. law firms surveyed increased their amount of non-hourly based billing last year.

AFAs, which include blended rates, fixed fees, capped fees, and contingency fees, have been used by many law firms for decades. Only eight percent of respondents said they do not offer any type of alternative billing method. All of the law firms surveyed employ over 50 attorneys.

They are different from the more traditional billable hour model, where attorneys charge and counsel by the hour. Despite their growing popularity, especially as a cost-saving measure during the most recent recession, AFAs remain a minor part of the total fees generated by law firms surveyed by Altman and Weil last year. AFAs made up between 6 and 10 percent of all revenue generated among those law firms.

“There is risk involved on both sides. Clients are looking for the best value and law firms, like any business, want to generate a profit,” said Adams. “Many people still have the mindset that an alternative fee arrangement is a euphemism for discounts.”

He estimates that, firm-wide, there has been an increase of between 5 to 10 percent in the use of AFAs over the last few years. He noted that much of the increase was generated by client demand during the recession.

“It’s rare that we will enter into an alternative fee arrangement with new clients, unless it’s an area where we have a lot of familiarity or if it’s a generic transaction,” he said. “We look at several factors including the scope of the project, the volume of work, and the length of the relationship with client before deciding on the best type of fee arrangement.”

Adams became the full-time Managing Partner at Adams and Reese in 2001, and as managing partner, he has been instrumental in the regional growth of the firm. He was directly involved in every phase, identifying, approaching, recruiting, negotiating, closing and integrating, of the firm’s mergers and office openings in Birmingham in 2002, Nashville in 2005, Memphis in 2006, Florida in 2009, and South Carolina in 2013. Adams has practiced for more than 25 years in business and corporate law and commercial transactions, and he is listed in Best Lawyers® (by BL Rankings, LLC) - Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Securities Law.