Traditionally, litigators have been skeptical of anything other than hourly billing for trial matters, in the belief that providing their services in a given case depends on too many variables that can’t be anticipated—for example, what motions opposing counsel will file, or what problems might turn up when doing discovery.

Contrary to this view, there are many ways that alternative fees can be applied to litigation, and there is growing pressure for law firms to take alternative billing approaches in handling lawsuits as companies of all sizes seek control and predictability in legal expenses by rewarding lawyers for having “skin in the game”—a personal financial stake in the outcome of a case through compensation that goes up when the results justify it. The risk for the lawyer is in not meeting the client’s cost and business goals; the reward is in meeting them or even doing better than required.

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