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Podcast with Stuart Dodds from Baker McKenzie: Will AFAs be the death of the billable hour?

In a recent podcast, Stuart Dodds, Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management at Baker McKenzie and author of “Smarter Pricing, Smarter Profit” and “Pricing on the Front Line”, sat down with the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute to discuss alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and the impact upon the pricing of legal services.

Hear from Dodds about the discussion in the legal community to modify the meaning of the acronym AFA. ‘Alternative fee arrangements’ can be perceived as “untried, untested”. A simple change of the abbreviation to be defined as ‘appropriate fee arrangement’ may be the solution. The subtle shift in language from ‘alternative’ to ‘appropriate’ would promote a more positive connotation around legal services billing, according to Dodds. Offering clients an ‘appropriate fee arrangement’ is about delivering legal services from a value based approach.

The interview also includes insights to the broader and bigger size of the AFA user community, typically representing 15 to 20% of law firm revenue. Dodds predicts the use of the AFA model is on the rise and billable hours will no longer be the default position for legal services pricing. This shift in perception and practice around billing bodes well. And these changes will provide a more transparency and certainty for both law firms and clients.

Find out more by listening to the full interview below:


If you missed Stuart Dodds’ previous podcast on “the rise of pricing directors” you can catch-up here.


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