Improves predictability for corporate legal departments sifting through wide variety of AFAs
As changes occur throughout a matter’s life cycle, the pressure mounts on corporate legal departments to quickly work with law firms to contain costs, improve predictability and manage spend. Having the right flexibility and knowledge to support or modify an alternative fee arrangement (AFA) is a crucial component of mitigating matter risk. As a result, TyMetrix, the global leader in intelligent enterprise legal management solutions for mastering the business of law, announced today that its TyMetrix 360°platform, which customers use to manage legal matters, invoices, claims and e-billing, will now include greater control and visibility around the management and enforcement of AFAs.
With this release, TyMetrix 360˚ users will have improved visibility into the usage of AFAs and enjoy an expedited review of AFA-related invoices.
“AFAs have increasingly become an attractive solution to corporate legal departments’ need for increased accountability. However, the development and execution of these arrangements is still evolving,” said Deepthi Bathina, Vice President, Global Product Management and Marketing, TyMetrix. “TyMetrix can help corporate legal departments and law firms find the best return on investment through our unparalleled insight into the various types of arrangements and our warehouse of legal analytics – the largest in the world.”
In 2009, TyMetrix first launched its AFA module within TyMetrix 360° and in the last five years many of our customers have leveraged these capabilities to introduce AFAs into their legal spend strategy. With TyMetrix 360°, customers can easily apply different AFA billing templates to matters, assign multiple AFA types to a single matter where required, and enable users to monitor actual billing to ensure it meets the agreed upon guidelines.
Combined with TyMetrix’s legal analytics offerings, users can also benchmark AFA proposals from their external counsel against industry peer data.
While the definition of what constitutes an AFA is evolving, the emerging set of alternative billing practices includes the following:
- Contingency / Success Based Fees: With Contingency or Success Based Fee Arrangements, the law firm payment is based on achieving a favorable result for the matter. For example, in litigation a law firm might utilize a contingency fee in which they receive a certain percentage of damages received.
- Flat/Fixed Fees: In a Flat or Fixed Fee arrangement, the law firm agrees to bill the client a pre-defined amount regardless of actual hours accrued on the matter. Considered by many to be the ultimate form of AFA given that both the law firm and client share equal risk, it is best used where you have a solid estimate of time required for the matter in question.
- Capped Fees: Capped Fee arrangements will leverage hourly rate billing but will apply a maximum threshold on the total amount that can be billed. In some cases, law departments may seek to apply distinct billing caps for specific phases of a matter.
- Blended Hourly Rates: Blended Hourly Rates arrangements are used when a law firm agrees to bill at a single blended rate for all attorneys who work on the matter regardless of seniority. Blended rate arrangements are used by law departments as an incentive to encourage their firm to appropriately distribute work to lower cost attorneys where appropriate.
- Volume Discount Based Hourly Rates: In this model, the matter in question leverages an hourly rate structure but when an agreed upon total billings threshold is met, the client then receives additional discounts.
- Years-of-Experience Based Hourly Rates: While firms will typically tier hourly rates by attorney seniority, some clients seek further refinement to this approach by systematically altering rates based on the number of years the attorney has actually been practicing law.
- Matter Based Hourly Rates: For certain types of matters, you may need to establish an exception rate. Matter-Based Rate arrangements replace regular timekeeper role rates with special rates for certain matters or groups of matters.
- Hybrid Models: This is where the real art and science of alternative fee arrangements comes into play. Not every matter fits neatly into a single type of billing. In a hybrid model, you can combine different AFA types and leverage for a single matter based on your particular needs. For example, a client may decide for a litigation case to leverage a Fixed Fee arrangement for pre-trial activities. Should the matter go to trial, the initiative would then be managed under a Matter Based Hourly Rate structure.
For more information on AFAs, visit http://tymetrix.com/products/t360/.
TyMetrix is a global market leader in delivering intelligent enterprise legal management, professional services, and legal analytics solutions that empower corporate legal departments, law firms and claims organizations to manage the business of law. It provides clients with quality legal management software, services and solutions, including spend and matter management, collaboration, performance metrics, and the expertise required to manage risk, reduce costs and gain the insight required to meet their strategic objectives. The brand’s TyMetrix Legal Analytics service offering combines unparalleled analytical and legal domain expertise with LegalVIEW®, the world’s largest permission based contributory data warehouse of legal performance data. Legal Analytics provides predictive and analytical models, benchmarking and insights to legal departments and all professionals involved in managing the business of law. TyMetrix is part of Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services. For more information, please visit www.tymetrix.com.