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The ‘new normal’ v. the billable hour

A "new normal" continues to take root at law firms, according to a survey showing increases in the use of alternative fee arrangements. Almost three in 10 in-house lawyers said they used more alternative billing arrangements in 2010, and 53 percent said they used strictly flat-fee billing on a case or project, up from 48 percent in 2009. It's a revealing peek into the state of the economy, and while it doesn't mean the death of the billable hour it does underscore the ongoing debate about it -- we've written about it here, here, here and here in recent months. The Association of Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazine do say, however, that the results of their survey show a reluctance to revert back to "the way we used to do it" when it comes to paying for legal counsel and services.

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