Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alternative Fee Innovation - CMS Cameron McKenna

CMS Cameron McKenna today announced details of the Alternative Billing & Fixed Fee programme that the firm has been working on behind the scenes for some months, with some very interesting aspects to it - some that will make peer firms sit up and listen.

The information released today outlines numerous possible models that a client can adopt including fixed fees, hybrid fixed-fee and capped-fee deals, added value rate models and models specific to client loyalty. As reported today in Legal Week, CMS Cameron McKenna is also offering a "no questions asked" fixed-fee/monthly payment arrangement to those clients who qualify.

How does a client qualify we hear you (and the 3,500 clients and contacts who were today issued with the details of the offer) ask? Well, you follow four simple rules around housekeeping, loyalty and balancing your demands as a client:

1. You pay your bills within 14 days;

2. You give the firm more than 33% of all legal work (although not sure how this can be accurately measured unless on volume of legal fees reported by publicly listed companies);

3. You are to supply the firm with work across multiple practice groups;

4. You agree to an associate as being the main point of contact between you as the client and CMS Cameron McKenna (rather than a partner). Legal Week reports that both Richard Price (Senior Partner) and Duncan Weston (managing Partner) will "personally visit clients to discuss fee arrangements". One wonders wy the associates aren't making the visits too!

It is also reported that a major utility has signed up to the arrangement for a capped period of one year, while also reporting that the firm has also said it has offered a major oil client a fee cap tied to the price of oil. Dangerous? Odd? There is most likely method to the madness.

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