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Alternative Fee Models

Fish was a pioneer in alternative fee arrangements, starting its AFA program in 2009 when it saw that clients would increasingly be interested in exploring options other than the traditional fees-per-hour model that had dominated the industry for decades. Since that time, we have partnered with numerous clients across many industries to create fee arrangements that are tailored to their objectives, and today a substantial proportion of our engagements are AFAs.

AFAs deliver two primary benefits: the alignment of cost and value, and the predictability of spend.

By engaging with clients at the outset of a matter about both their business objectives and the merits of the dispute, Fish identifies the best AFAs—and usually there are several—for each situation.

Common AFA Models for Litigation

A monthly fee schedule is set at the outset of the engagement. For example:

  • Fixed monthly payment.
  • Payment varies by phase of case.
  • A fixed fee payment schedule, with a collar above and below the fixed fee estimate (e.g., 10% above/below).
  • If the actual hourly fees are above the upper collar, the client pays the firm a predetermined percentage of the overage.
  • If the actual hourly fees are below the lower collar, the firm credits the client for an amount equal to a predetermined percentage of the underage.
  • A single hourly rate is charged for all attorneys.
  • Only a percentage of our hourly fees are charged each month to the client, with the balance being held back.
  • If we meet defined success targets, then depending on the target met, all, a portion, or a multiple of the holdback are paid. If we are not successful, holdback will not be paid.
  • Fees are based on a percentage of recovery.
Examples:

  • Fixed fee for pre- trial, hourly fees during trial.
  • Blended rate with holdback and success bonus.
  • Percentage of hourly fees with contingent fee based on any recovery.


Litigation Legal Operations Team