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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

Legal Pricing Academy Student Profile - Gareth Guyers

Gareth Guyers

We share some insights from another student of the Legal Pricing Academy - Gareth Guyers, Regional Billing Manager at Milbank in Singapore.

When did you get started in the legal profession?

I joined Eversheds (now Eversheds Sutherland) in 2007. I originally joined as a Credit Controller but then my role morphed into a Working Capital Controller working alongside the Corporate Partners to better understand the client’s wants and needs. This was a time when e-billing was gaining momentum so understanding the different e-billing platforms that were being utilized helped us work better with our clients. Read more...

BILLABLE HOUR

Clifford Chance Aims to Scrap Billable Hours to Measure Performance

Billable Hour Article 201904291140

The firm is piloting a scheme to move away from basing lawyer compensation on the metric.

lifford Chance (CC) is aiming to scrap billable hours as a lawyer appraisal metric, rolling out a pilot scheme this month to experiment with the shift.

The Magic Circle firm has launched the scheme in its Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, with all lawyers excluding partners affected. Read more...

22% of Clients Bring on New GCs: New Game, New Rules, New Rates

Hellonewgc Green Header

22% of clients are disrupting the market right now. These are the new GCs. Half of these have been in place for less than 12 months. Another half have been in place 23 months—just enough to get their sea legs. We see 2 big implications for law firms:

  1. This is only the beginning of a trend. The growth rate in retiring baby boomers will increase before it drops—expect a steady stream of new GCs. Plan ahead and develop a standard set of protocols to welcome all new GCs—and build yourself some serious relationships with this untapped source of new business.
  2. Almost every new GC puts out an RFP for legal services somewhere between 18 and 24 months into their tenure. Take control and offer to help write the RFP. Avoid the RFP by introducing yourself and befriending the new GC early on. Help with onboarding and start the conversation about complexity. Read more...

Billing The Most Hours In All Of Biglaw

Time Money Cash Billable Hour Bonus 620X414

A dubious honor indeed.

According to data collected for the 2019 Am Law 100, which Am Law 100 firm has the lawyer who billed the most hours in 2018?

Hint: The lawyer in question billed a whopping 4,200 hours last year. Read more...

Will the Demise of the Billable Hour Start in the Middle East?

The Persistence Of Memory Article 201905081914

In detaching billable hours from attorney evaluations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Clifford Chance wants to generate data to guide future decisions. But expect broader change in the industry to come slowly.

Clifford Chance might be contemplating scrapping the billable hour as a tool for evaluating lawyers, but it’s proceeding with caution.

The Magic Circle firm announced last week that it won’t use billed hours to assess the performance of some of its lawyers. But the pilot program comes with a series of limiting factors. For starters, it only applies to attorneys in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates—out of the firm’s 33 offices on six continents—and it’s limited to just one year. Read more...

PRICING ECONOMICS

Law Firms Embrace Funky Billing, Go Rogue

Funkybilling Blogheader

Clients are seeing the funkiest and even what they describe as “slippery bills” from their law firms. We are not talking about isolated incidents; fully 38% of clients tell us about slipshod bills—doubling the 19% of last year. Why are clients using such strong language? Judge for yourself:

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Read more...

Law Firm KPIs – How to Measure Your Success

Law Firm Kpis

How do you know which attorney or which client is contributing to your profits? How do you know which marketing expenses or client development activities are contributing to the most valuable clients? Are you leveraging your professional staff? Are your clients happy? These types of questions are considered key performance indicators, or KPIs. Measuring KPIs is not just a trend; they are critical to your law firm’s success. Knowledge is power, and these law firm KPIs provide the data or knowledge you need to answer these questions and ensure your firm will continue to thrive in today’s turbulent legal environment.

The Traditional KPIs

Ten years ago, I spent time as the VP of Finance at one of Canada’s largest law firms. We spent most of our time reporting on billable hours, utilization, and collection. I do not recall asking clients for feedback or calculating the cost of acquiring a new client. Read more..

FIXED FEES

Fixed billing in everyone’s interest

Plexus Tl Lw

Many in-house teams are turning to fixed billing for the benefits it reaps, with the points of difference it offers worthy of notice by lawyers, according to a fan of the practice.

The topic of billing was considered by a panel of general counsel at the ‘Thought Leaders of the Future’ event held at the Museum of Sydney, held earlier this month.

Big W’s general counsel Ben Langford began by iterating that he always tries to work to fixed billing, which he sees as “very different to estimate billing and very different to capped billing”. Read more...

Hourly rates down for lawyers using fixed fees

David Lipworth Lw

The net hourly earnings and earning capacity of lawyers has dropped as the legal industry experiences a shift away from time-based billing, according to a survey.

The national survey, from Smarter Drafter, used data from 412 law firms to generate its results, with the company explaining that it was prompted by the “industry-wide shift to fixed-fees, a shift driven by pressure from clients, who are less and less willing to allow lawyers the liberty of charging by the hour”.

Lawyers reported on the range of fees they would charge for services, and the time they would take to deliver on these services, it was said. Read more...

Purplebricks fiasco paints ‘interesting’ look into law firm fixed fee model

Vic Darvey Lw

The Aussie collapse of real estate chain Purplebricks has highlighted the complexities of fixed fee structures in other industries, such as law, according to an executive director.

Earlier this month Lawyers Weekly’s sister publication REB reported that Purplebricks would be exiting the Australian market after just two and a half years into its local operation.

The company, which first sought to disrupt the Aussie real estate industry by offering customers a fixed fee to sell their properties, rather than the traditional commission charged as a percentage of the sale price, admitted that it has been unable to make the progress it wanted here, “despite the tireless efforts” of employees. Read more...

VALUE PRICING

Value-based billing a trust exercise

Maria Polczynski Lw

Value-based billing begins with clear conversations, trust, correct scoping and defined understanding of legal objectives, a general counsel has offered.

Last week, Lawyers Weekly reported on the perception of fixed billing held by the general counsel at Big W, Ben Langford.

At the same ‘Thought Leaders of the Future’ event, the general counsel and company secretary of ‘oOh!’, Maria Polczynski, shared how she had implemented fixed billing practices during her time as the head of group legal for Bendigo Bank. Read more...

PROCUREMENT

Five Questions to Ask Before Responding to an RFP

Five Questions To Ask Before Responding To An Rfp

Requests for proposals, known as RFPs, first gained traction in the 1980s with Fortune 100 companies. With advances in technology along with the rise of legal operations and procurement professionals, the RFP has evolved into the go-to tool for comparing law firm attributes, negotiating price and buying legal services.

The Rise of RFPs

RFPs are no longer the domain of Fortune 100 legal departments. Increasingly, smaller companies are using RFPs to better manage their outside counsel spend. Technology, including web-based RFP platforms, is making it easier for companies of all sizes to issue RFPs and compare data. All law firms, even solo practices, need to educate themselves on the best way to respond. Read more...

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