Fixed fees needn’t mean working more for less (or for free) is the title of my new column in Lawyer's USA. It is interesting to note that this year the term "Alternative Billing" has changed to "Alternative Fee Arrangements." That is fine by me. The new term is more accurate and the acronym AFA is more usable. The column addresses the concern of many lawyers that fixed fees will have them working for free. Honestly as the systems go into place, that may be true sometimes. But this column addresses ways to limit that possibility.
Earlier this week, Corporate Counsel had an article about a new AFA survey titled, The Bell Is Tolling for the Billable Hour: 'Change Is Here to Stay.' You really want to read this article, too (after reading mine, of course.) It contains links to some other features and a nice pop-up chart of the survey results. The most notable result was that of 587 general counsel and chief legal officers surveyed, 39 percent said they paid law firms more money this year under alternative fee arrangements than they did in 2008.
I also strongly, strongly, strongly suggest you read Jordan Furlong's piece Beyond Billing.