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Few people rush to pay their bills, and in-house lawyers aren’t any different. On average, corporate law departments take about two to three months to process invoices from their outside counsel. So when Circuit City Stores Inc. announced last fall that it would pay all legal invoices within 20 days, its law firms took notice.

But speed has a price. In return for early payment, Circuit City has come up with an innovative trade-off: The Richmond, Va.-based electronics retailer insists on a 3 percent discount on all legal fees. The reduction is on top of the already-reduced billing rates Circuit City has with its regular roster of 50-plus outside firms. The company declined to say how much money it’s saved so far.

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