Browsing articles filed under Legacy Posts
The relationship between in-house counsel and their external law firms is multifaceted and complex; no aspect of the relationship more so than the pricing element. Here are General Counsels' views on their expectations of law firms on pricing.....
There is an inescapable irony in the fact that lawyers spend their entire legal career successfully advocating and negotiating on behalf of our clients, yet most are only moderately effective when it comes to negotiating their own fee.
Pricing is customarily seen only in terms of a means to impact turnover and in so doing increase profit. However, confining pricing to this one-dimensional view overlooks other equally valuable strategic uses to which the pricing ‘lever’ can be applied.
In contrast with their traditional after-the-event reporting function, law firm and chambers finance directors have an opportunity to reinvent themselves, and materially impact their organisations’ fortunes by facilitating pricing innovation.
A common refrain from law firms is that in-house lawyers talk about AFAs and value based billing but aren't really interested in concepts such as sharing risk; it's about getting the law firm to do the same work for less cost.
It has long been customary for law firms to include a variety of sundry charges at the end of the bill. However, whilst the practice generates additional gross revenue and profit, this may be outweighed by the negative effects on client perception.
Many GCs and law firms find the way that Requests For Proposal (RFPs) and their like are currently run is seriously flawed; often combative, adversarial and destructive of professional relationships. There may be a better way.
I have often made reference to the fact that when it comes to pricing, we lawyers could do worse than take inspiration from the often far more sophisticated pricing strategies of other industries and professions.
Most lawyers make the mistake of interpreting price objections as problematic and potentially damaging to profits and reputation. However, the absence of price objections is actually indicative of a poor pricing strategy.
The inexorable move towards fixed fee arrangements has tended to be driven by clients motivated by dissatisfaction with and distrust of the hourly rate regime coupled with a desire for greater cost certainty and manageability.
Many lawyers don't appreciate that failure to keep the client informed, patronising and condescending engagement with the client, tardiness and general unresponsiveness are the genesis of most fee complaints.
Some clients genuinely need to jump to the front of the queue. Conversely, some don't need to but want to jump to the front of the queue. The question is; ‘should they pay more for the privilege of doing so?’
✓ You have successfully signed up to our Newsletter
␡ There was an error and you were not signed up to the Newsletter