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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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Pricing: Hit ‘Send’ and Hope for The Best

Facial Muscles

A face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than an email, which begs the question, why do we persist in conducting our primary price negotiations by email instead of face-to-face or at the very least, on the end of the phone?

There are at least two possible explanations, one charitable, one not so. Many will argue that the principal explanation is that we are all time starved and under pressure and it is much more efficient and cost-effective to belt out an email with a pricing proposal and await a response. This assertion has legitimacy.

A more brutal perspective might put it down to a less flattering dynamic - we're just ‘chicken’. We will do anything to avoid that visceral conversation, something we have written about recently in ‘We’ll Have a Chat at the End: A $20 Billion Black Hole’. Read more...

PRICING ECONOMICS

Canadian lawyers review pricing

Clock

Canadian lawyers are cautiously optimistic about fees.

According to the Canadian Lawyer 2018 Legal Fees Survey, the research 'indicates a more hopeful outlook for Canadian law firms as they examine their pricing structures. But the mood remains guarded.' No respondents expect to cut their fees this year. Last year, the reported 0.6 per cent indicated they planned a cut, in 2016 reported three per cent. However, fewer expect to increase their fees this year, with only 43 per cent indicating an upward trend compared to the 45 per cent last year. Read more...

Playing Both Sides: Facing the Harsh Truth of Law Firm Service Duality

Spectrum

Recently, Hugh A. Simons wrote for American Lawyer an enticing argument advocating elite law firms increase their rates. In one striking comment, Simons suggests elite law firms jettison any and all commodity services.

Recently, Hugh A. Simons wrote for American Lawyer an enticing argument advocating elite law firms increase their rates. In one striking comment, Simons suggests elite law firms jettison any and all commodity services. In justifying his position he states “… managing businesses with dramatically different fund strategies requires ambidexterity few trained business leaders, let alone lawyers, possess.” Read more...

Success in the Am Law 100 Is Being Driven by Management

Financial Chart Prediction

Law firms, long thought to be bifurcating by size and profitability, have actually been separating based on something more simple over the past decade.

Big Law has surpassed its pre-recession levels of profitability. Of the 100 firms in the new Am Law ranking, 78 reported 2017 profits per equity partner (PPP) levels that are higher (even adjusted for inflation) than their levels in 2007, the year before the Great Recession’s onset, according to data from ALM Intelligence’s Legal Compass.

We compared the 2007 and 2017 performance metrics of these firms to identify those that have led this resurgence and how they’ve done it. Two observations from this comparison stand out. First, the notion that Big Law is bifurcating into haves and have-nots based on size or profitability is... Read more...

Top 100 US law firms post biggest gains since 2010

Scales

Law firms are enjoying their highest growth since 2010, the latest AmLaw 100 report reveals.

The Am Law 100 data reveals that gross revenue grew 5.5 per cent on average, net income increased by 6.1 pe rcent, profit per equity partner grew by 6.3 per cent, revenue per lawyer moved up 3.2 per cent and headcount rose 2.2 per cent. The top law firms ranked by gross revenue are Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, and, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The average profit per partner in AmLaw100 firms was $1,767,054 - though the top firms amassed over three times that amount. Read more...

New York's Elite Law Firms Still Lead the Pack on Profits, Revenue

Wall Street Bull

Even if fewer of them achieved double-digit profit growth last year, the group is still the envy of the industry, according to reporting for The American Lawyer’s upcoming Am Law 100 rankings.

Once again outperforming their Am Law 100 peers, most of New York’s elite law firms enjoyed solid revenue and profit gains, even if growth was at least partially driven by billing rate hikes amid generally flat demand.

To assess the New York law firms that dominate market share over finance, deal-making and litigation, ALM reviewed last year’s financial performance for the same group of 17 homegrown New York firms it has surveyed in past years. Read more...

PROCUREMENT

Partnerships With Procurement Will Lead to More Savings for Legal Departments, Survey Says

Business Development

New data shows that making friends with procurement can be a big net positive.

Procurement professionals can boost a legal team’s efficiency and savings—but according to new data, their best work comes when they’re partners with the legal department, not strangers siloed away.

A survey of more than 150 legal procurement professionals released by the Buying Legal Councilon Tuesday revealed that the procurement teams that described their relationship with the legal department as “partners” reported saving their companies an estimated 21 percent in legal spend per year. Read more...

How to Take the Fear and Loathing Out of the RFP Process

Legal Speak

The experience can be cumbersome and anxiety-inducing for both sides of the equation, and it can end badly. And sometimes, it works brilliantly.

Any lawyer who’s been through an RFP—whether as an in-house attorney or outside counsel—knows that the process can be a time-suck and a stress-trigger. But there’s a better way.

This week, Legal Speak goes inside the RFP process with Lisa Konie, senior director of legal operations at Adobe Systems, and Toby Brown, chief practice management officer at law firm Perkins Coie. Speaking to Law.com’s in-house editor Rebekah Mintzer, they provide a candid perspective from both sides of the RFP equation on the all-too common flaws of the process and how to improve it. Read more...

Procurement and The New Legal Buy/Sell Dynamic

Procurement

Procurement's expanding role in the legal industry is changing the way legal services are bought and sold.

Procurement is changing the legal industry. It is driving another nail into the legal guild’s coffin by altering the long-standing practice of lawyers selling corporate legal services to lawyers. This is not simply a change in the corporate legal buy/sell dynamic; it is compelling evidence that law is not solely about lawyers anymore. The myth of lawyer exceptionalism has been debunked. Lawyers no longer determine what’s a “legal” matter–that only they can handle, nor do they dictate fees (“for services rendered”), control supply and buy sides of their labor-intensive business model, or insulate themselves from “outside” competition by self-regulation. Read more...

LEGAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Legal Project Managers: a call to arms

Legal Project Manager

Legal project managers should make greater use of their implied authority – they have nothing to lose but their chains.

What follows is not a Marxist analysis of the role legal project managers play in legal service organisations, but it is a call to arms.

Legal project managers should feel empowered to lead projects with authority and clearly demonstrate the value they bring to legal service delivery. Read more...

HOURLY BILLING

Law firm founder calls for abolishment of onerous billable hour ‘tyranny’

Clock Ticking

The founder of an Australian law firm has expressed the need for less billable hour targets as a way to help address the growing mental health crisis affecting local lawyers.

David Kelly, founder and managing director of KHQ Lawyers, said initiatives aimed at improving mental health in the legal profession are largely ineffective unless they address onerous billable hour targets, something he described as the “underlying problem”.

Mr Kelly reached out to Lawyers Weekly following an article published last week about NewLaw firm Rankin & Co. founder Rob Roy Rankin, who pinpointed the “cynical” efforts firms are going to in order to engage and retain staff under the traditional law firm model. Read more...

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