Australian first: Firm introduces fixed-fee M&A

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The uncertain nature of M&A matters has meant that it has been viewed as too complex for fixed pricing models. But following a successful trial, one Australian law firm has begun to offer fixed-fee M&A arrangements to its clients.
According to Bespoke general manager Simon Kahil, it’s all in the planning. 
“Bespoke has invested in project management skills for its M&A team, to ensure that the scope of the M&A work is clearly defined and articulated before the fixed price is agreed.  We spend a lot of time and effort planning the M&A deal with our clients to provide them with a deal map – a structure and a process to guide the deal tasks that lie ahead,” he said.
The clients that participated in Bespoke’s fixed-price M&A trial last year incurred lower fees than they would have under a traditional time-based billing arrangement, Kahil said. The firm doesn’t charge for disbursements and the abort fee is just half the fixed price. 
Despite the added risk to the firm in this new approach, he believes the approach is worthwhile.
“There are a lot of factors in favour of fixed pricing.  The trust and confidence it gives clients in their legal team is eye-opening to clients who are used to traditional hourly rates and other forms of outdated processes,” Kahil said.
The move corresponds with firm’s ‘no timesheets’ approach to pricing. Kahil believes that Bespoke is the first Australian firm to offer a fixed-price M&A service and hopes that others will now follow suit.
“Providing a fixed fee model to clients for M&A services is already generating a great deal of market interest.  2015 is primed for a high volume of M&A activity,” he said.