To Tell the Truth: Do Defense Attorneys Really Want Atlernative Fees?

Unless you are over 40, you might not have been around in the insurance claims business 15 years ago. At about that time there was a big push among many insurers to try to get their defense attorneys to move to flat fee billing especially for routine cases.

Not wanting to give up their hourly billing, many attorneys quietly complained to their state bar ethics committees about flat fee billing agreements seeking to have them declared to be unethical. I know this occurred because I happened to be on a state bar ethics committee that received one of these requests for an opinion.

While most ethics committees gave cautious approval to flat fee agreements, many committees did see ethical problems with flat fee agreements. Also state supreme courts in Kentucky and Montana found that flat fee agreements present ethical dilemmas for attorneys.

Fast forward fifteen years to the present.  Will attorneys this time say “yes” to insurers wanting them to move to alternative fee agreements, but work behind the scenes as their colleagues did 15 years ago to lobby state bar ethics committees or state supreme courts to determine certain types of alternative fee agreements to be unethical?

Stay tuned.

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