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With Validatum Pricing Espresso® we aim to bring you your regular pricing 'shot' - the best, most interesting, thought provoking and informative material we can find globally which will be of interest, relevance and help to you in your legal services pricing challenges. [Note: we don't always agree with the content of others that we post but the philosophy of Validatum Pricing Espresso® is shared perspectives, not a personal 'soap-box']

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FEATURED

Law Firm Pricing Scorecard 2018

Finance Papers

Now in its 10th year with half of all US law firms with 50 or more lawyers participating, the Law Firms in Transition survey has become a valuable resource for insight on law firm strategy and the opinions of firm leaders.

Although the research and the report are US-centric, we have little doubt that if the exercise was replicated in the UK, European and APAC markets, the results would be very similar.

The report is wide ranging in its remit and worthy of reading from cover to cover but our focus is of course on what is happening in the world of pricing. Read more...

THE CLIENT PERSPECTIVE

What Your Clients Are Requesting Now

Requests

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through 2018. Time flies when you are having fun! Many of you have vacations planned over the next several months, and summer is a perfect time to step back and assess what you are doing well and where you might need to check in with your clients before the intensity of Q3 and Q4. While many of your clients are out for vacation time, the pace slows down a bit in summer months and people are more available for conversation. It’s a perfect time to plan for the rest of the year.

We have conducted over 40 interviews just in the past month, and two themes are rising to the top that you should proactively address now: Read more...

Blasting Greenberg Traurig Request, Judge Says Fees 'Zooming Out of Control'

Fees

“By requesting astronomical fees, attorneys are in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” a Manhattan judge admonished.

A Manhattan judge has slashed Greenberg Traurig’s $464,164 fee request by 62 percent in a co-op-tenant lawsuit, writing he was “troubled, almost haunted, by the idea of awarding almost half a million dollars to attorneys who simply prevailed upon a court to dismiss an untimely proceeding.”

In a decision punctuated with feisty commentary, such as writing the fee request could be viewed as “highway robbery without the six-gun,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron called on the legal profession and fellow judges to cut down on astronomical fee awards. Read more...

Legal Operations: Have you drunk the Kool-Aid?

Brain

For this quarter’s column (taken from The Legal 500's magazine for global in-house lawyers "GC"), I’m going to take a look at legal operations, which appears to have replaced ‘innovation’ as the main buzzword in legal circles. I attended the third annual conference of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) recently and have had a little time to reflect on where the market is with legal ops. If you were in Las Vegas with me, you would be absolutely convinced from the passionate speeches being made that every lawyer in the world is aware of this brave new world. The reality is somewhat different, as many people I have spoken to around the world have pretty much shrugged their shoulders with disinterest at the mention of it. But for those who are involved, it seems the revolution is coming.

Briefly, for those who haven’t stumbled across it, legal operations aims to drive greater efficiencies within corporate legal departments through strategic planning, financial management, vendor management, outside counsel management, technology management, and legal data analytics. Some say that the head of legal ops is the chief executive or chief of staff of the legal department – not the finest description, but I guess we will go with that for now. Read more...

8 Tips From GCs for Outside Legal Counsel to Win and Retain Business

Corporate Legal Counsel

Outside counsel, business development professionals, and legal marketers want to know the secret to increasing client retention and new business acquisition rates.

Outside counsel, business development professionals, and legal marketers want to know the secret to increasing client retention and new business acquisition rates. There is no single ingredient. There are best practices. Once you get the business, know how to deliver the best client service and value to maintain (and even increase the value of) the relationship. Read more...

How This Fortune 500 GC Is Strengthening Her Law Firm Panel Relationships

Hands

Peabody Energy's chief legal officer gives behind-the-scenes insight into what she learned from creating a roster of panel firms and what she thinks of AdvanceLaw's findings on panels through its GC Thought Leaders Experiment.

As one of the 25 GCs who signed the Open Letter last year to announce the GC Thought Leaders Experiment, I was very interested to read AdvanceLaw’s recent articles on law firm panels. Given the conventional wisdom (including my own) that consolidating outside counsel into a panel of go-to law firms is the right way to go, I was surprised by the finding that panel firms tend to perform worse for clients than non-panel firms (and clients with panels don’t receive better service than clients without panels). Here is the key graphic telling that story: Read more...

Why the GC of Molson Coors Is Moving Major Work From Prestigious New York Firms

Denver Colorado

The belief that top lawyers are only found in the largest cities is growing increasingly outdated.

Last year, we found ourselves in a significant arbitration. It was the largest adversarial dispute we have faced in my eight-year tenure with Molson Coors. We were pitted against a fabled New York law firm—one of the five most highly regarded firms in the nation. We considered hiring an equally pedigreed firm in a money-center city to represent us, but we wanted to find the very best lawyers for this matter, anywhere in the country.

I thought of that arbitration (which I’ll come back to shortly) when reading AdvanceLaw’s recent article about the relationship between law firm performance and city size. To be clear, they were not looking at lawyers in small cities; they were looking at the performance of lawyers across 40 major cities, where there was enough data to draw meaningful comparisons. Read more...

PRICING ECONOMICS

Legal Delivery at The Speed of Business -- And Why It Matters

Train

“Time is Money wrote Benjamin Franklin in a 1748 essay titled Advice to a Young Tradesman. Franklin was a polymath—scientist, statesman, publisher, inventor and diplomat. Is it coincidence that he was almost everything except an attorney? Lawyers have a different take on time than other industries. The legal profession uses it as a price gauge—more is better. Lawyers rationalize excessive time as ‘attention to detail’-- and justification for a larger bill. The profession rewards input (time/origination) over output (efficiency/results). This is the inverse of Franklin’s view that time is a precious commodity to be apportioned prudently. It is also contrary to business where rapid risk assessment and decisive decision-making is the norm.

How have lawyers preserved a culture and tempo so asynchronous to the clients—and society—they covenant to represent zealously, competently, and within the boundaries of the law? The legal profession seeded and assiduously cultivated an ethos of “lawyers and ’non-lawyers’” that became the cornerstone of lawyer exceptionalism. Law is provincial by design; each jurisdiction has its own practice rules designed to keep out ‘interlopers.’ The profession constructed regulatory barriers to ensure that ‘non-lawyers’ could not compete for what lawyers deemed ‘legal’ work. Law was insular and operated at a pace designed to accommodate a ‘scorched earth’ approach to all tasks, regardless of value. This served the economic model of the traditional law firm partnership model. Read more...

Major survey finds law firm “race to the middle” on price

Divorce

Law firms are in a “race to the middle” when it comes to pricing their services and consumers are happy with what they are receiving, new research has found.

It also found that fewer than one in 10 law firms publishes fixed fees on the internet and more than a quarter have no website or digital presence in any case.

In its Fixed fee and ratings report, comparison site and consumer law forum LegalBeagles used data obtained from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) covering all 10,393 law firms to analyse a sample of just over 6,000 firms in June 2018. Read more...

Fixed-pricing better for clients and competition

Money Jar

A Townsville-based firm, that moved away from time-based billing seven years ago, has argued for the introduction of fixed-pricing across the boards so as to better encourage competition and improve client experiences.

Strategic Lawyers brought in fixed-pricing – whereby clients are given a quote, setting out the work required and the costs associated – in 2011 and was, they claim, the first firm in North Queensland to do so.

The move was made, the firm said, to address the inherent issues of time-based billing. Read more...

BILLABLE HOUR

Sorry About Those Billable Hours, Millennials…

Time Money

Blame the Goldfarb case for all those hours that you now have to bill.

I’ve been using the term “millennials” as has just about everyone else, for that cohort of peeps born between 1980 and 2000. Others have different definitions as to when millennial kicked in, but all are roughly in the same ballpark. In any event, the oldest millennials turn 38 this year, only several years away from protection under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, that is, if you’re looking to switch jobs or are under-employed or unemployed.

At least our judiciary doesn’t face a mandatory retirement age, although some might think that’s a good idea. In Poland, the mandatory retirement age for judges has been reduced from 70 to 65. That’s discomfiting. Read more...

Big Law's $1,000-Plus an Hour Club

Judge Gavel Handcuffs And Money 1461289507 Euk

Leading attorneys in the U.S. are asking as much as $1,250 an hour, significantly more than in previous years, taking advantage of big clients' willingness to pay top dollar for certain types of services.

A few pioneers had raised their fees to more than $1,000 an hour about five years ago, at the peak of the economic boom. But after the recession hit, many of the rest of the industry's elite were hesitant, until recently, to charge more than $990 an hour.

While companies have cut legal budgets and continue to push for hourly discounts and capped-fee deals with their law firms, many of them have shown they won't skimp on some kinds of legal advice, especially in high-stakes situations or when they think a star attorney might resolve their problem faster and more efficiently than a lesser-known talent. Read more...

P3 CONFERENCE

LMA Podcast: Episode 33 — 2018 P3 Conference Recap

Podcast

Tune in as Purvi Sanghvi (Paul Hastings LLP) and Keith Maziarek (Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP) lead a number of panelists through their highlights from this year's P3 – The Practice Innovation Conference. The panelists share their key takeaways from the top-attended sessions, highlights of what was done differently this year, and much more.

Missed P3 this year? Head to legalmarketing.org/P3-Conference to purchase the P3 Conference recordings bundle. Read more...

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