Legal expense management news for April 13, 2012

ACC launches Contract Advisor beta – it promises to analyze “ACC’s vast collection of sample contracts and Member-submitted forms and policies to create model forms” and provide “a clause database with thousands of real-world clauses at your disposal, and a powerful tool that allows Members to identify potentially missing clauses or language in their own contracts.” Check it out – this may be an alternative to home-grown knowledge management initiatives, especially for small and mid-sized law departments.

Class actions in 2011 focused on M&A and internal controls. GC’s will continue to have to bake those costs into their deal budgets – and continue to develop better ways to manage even these hard-to-control elements of big deals.

Use of AFA’s continues to grow, reports The Wall Street Journal. Based on a Citibank survey, the article reports that at “large law firms, the percentage of revenue from alternative-billing arrangements is expected to hit 13.4% this year, nearly double what it was in 2008…” That number sounds about right, based on what I hear from GC’s – so there’s still lots of room for innovation and growth in AFA’s.

Legal fees really are the “elephant in the room” in this circus lawsuit.

Iowa lawyer suspended for 30 days for charging nonrefundable retainer that court found to be “unreasonable” relative to the work done. Not exactly striking a blow for AFA’s, eh? But presumably courts would find corporate clients better able to negotiate a market rate for fixed fees and other alternatives to the billable hour.

Paul Lippe has a good 10-point checklist for managing legal spending, including defining objectives, processes and incentives – and perhaps most importantly, collaboration.

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