Alternative billing is part of the new reality, say top in-house counsel

April 13, 2011 Alternative billing has become a reality for lawyers, though many law firms are resistant to the idea or slow to catch on, according to four top in-house lawyers.

General counsel Thomas Sager of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, GC Amy Schulman of Pfizer, associate general counsel Joseph West of Wal-Mart Stores, and associate GC Murray Garnick of Altria Client Services met on a panel at the American Bar Association's midyear meeting in Atlanta to discuss the issue.

They were joined by David Boies, the chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner.

The panel agreed that hourly billing can often pit the interests of the law firm against those of the client, while alternative billing can align their interests by bringing in more and better work for the firm.

Boies said that firms can gain "increased efficiency, more success in the practice of law, and client satisfaction" through alternative billing.

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