Compensation Philosophy & Alternative Fees

Attorneys who are effective resources for their in-house legal partners possess the following characteristics and skills:
  • They are adept at understanding their client’s objectives in connection with the resolution of a litigated matter;
  • They are committed to making an early and objective case assessment based on available information; and
  • They demonstrate a superior ability to creatively implement a strategic approach to resolve litigation as effectively as possible in keeping with the client’s objectives and range of likely outcomes.

At SmithAmundsen, we stand out from other lawyers in these key traits and have a competitive advantage to develop a trusted advisor relationship that yields a long term and mutually beneficial business relationship. We are in the business for the long haul.  We want to be the first and best choice for our in house legal partners who are charged with making the difficult calculus that their enterprise leaders demand.  This includes the ability to secure the best outcome of the case that is possible considering the business imperative to use as little of the company’s human and financial capital as possible to resolve litigation within acceptable parameters.

We have listened to our clients. In addition to great legal work (a given), they are telling us they want to work with outside counsel partners who can reliably supply two things: (1) a willingness to align the firm’s financial interests with the client’s objectives; and (2) some degree of certainty/predictability about what a litigated matter will cost.

There are many who do not believe the traditional hourly rate billing aligns the financial interests of outside counsel with the interests and objectives of the clients they represent. In keeping with the notion that our clients and prospective clients are more interested in results and leveraging the experience and skill of capable outside trial counsel than in the amount of hours it takes to complete a task, we are committed to flexibility with the compensation terms that we will accept in our engagements. That distinguishing factor gives SmithAmundsen a competitive advantage vis-à-vis the vast majority of other firms.

Alternative Fee Options
Among the options we have worked with in the past and are willing to discuss as partners with our in-house counsel colleagues are the following:

  • Discounted hourly rates with a success fee that is tied to mutually agreed objectives or outcome parameters;
  • Contingency fees or partial contingencies based on certain developments during the life of the engagement;
  • Volume discounts on hourly rates based on a portfolio of cases or type of matter/exposure;
  • Billing at agreed hourly rates with a cap on overall fees based on expected exposure or value to stakeholders;
  • Agreeing to unbundle legal services and/or outsource some aspects of the professional services required for an engagement in order to achieve savings on some aspects of the work.

We also consider other alternatives not outlined here. In the end, working with a client requires us to listen and work together- not just on the outcome of the litigation, but also on the compensation we consider fair/reasonable for that work.  Trust requires a dialogue between partners.

For more information on our alternative fee options, please contact Glen Amundsen, CEO and Chairman at 312.894.3220.





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