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With Validatum Pricing Espresso® we aim to bring you your morning 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']

Pricing and competition the biggest challenges facing law firms in EMEA & APAC

Fishing-For-Business

Research undertaken by LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions shows that 57 per cent of law firms are optimistic about growth in 2016, but pricing (for 52 per cent) and competition (for 46 per cent) pose the two biggest challenges to achieving this goal.

The research report, entitled ‘Law Firms in Transition: Marketing, Business Development and the Quest for Growth’, is based on the findings of a new survey of over 100 marketing and business development professionals in law firms across the UK, mainland Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Read more...

Outside Counsel Guidelines – And What of the Clients’ Responsibilities?

Magna Carta

The cornerstone of a productive client and outside counsel relationship starts by setting clear and consistent expectations of the law firm at the outset of the client engagement according to Kelly Spratt-Szarzynski, senior strategic consultant on the Lexis Nexis® Counsel Link® team.

This involves developing an outside counsel guidelines document that formally communicates the legal department’s expectations. Ms. Spratt-Szarzynski offered these insights during a webinar titled: The Strategic Value of Outside Counsel Guidelines. Read more...

Breaking bad bid habits

Bids

Time and again, I see professional services clients falling victim to bad bid habits. Abraham Lincoln allegedly said (but actually didn’t): “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Proper planning, organisation, shared accountability, and a sense of urgency is a must if you are going to produce a compliant and competitive bid, on time. Read more...

What getting time recording right looks like

Billing-Time

At the end of last year I met with the finance director of a UK top 100 law firm. It was part client catch-up, part research for the second edition of my book on time recording. Well, I should have signed them up right then and there as poster boys and girls for the credo of recording your time to know your costs.

Here’s a firm that achieves a 99.5% annual completion rate on its time sheets; can point to over two decades of collated time data; and regularly interrogates pertinent time data to inform budgeting, resourcing and likely performance. In speaking to the FD, it was clear that the firm has both the capability and confidence around matter costing, largely because it has engineered such excellent visibility of its cost base; it is working on facts, not instinct or assumptions, and with that evidence comes control of pricing, margins and profits. Read more...

Two Keys to a Respectful RFP

Handshake-on-Contract

What would you want if you were on the receiving end of an RFP? You would likely have a couple simple requests. Experience shows that a respectful RFP, at its core, has two key elements: honest communication and clear instructions.

From pre-launch through firm-selection and final communication to the participants, honest communication is a must.

At the outset, it is absolutely fair to say to your firms, “I appreciate our relationship and know you would do a good job on this matter, but we need to see what the market will bear for our work.”

It goes without saying that is good form to invite firms that you would genuinely consider selecting. However, it is also completely within bounds to invite a firm that you are willing to give a shot, but aren’t as familiar with its work. Read more...

'This is a court of justice not a casino,' judge tells lawyers over £1.1m fees

Roulette Wheel

A judge has chastised individual lawyers for charging up to £400,000 in their successful defence of a billionaire sheikh accused of being involved in the torture of a British citizen, saying the high court was a “court of justice not a casino”.

Judge Blake ruled last month that Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, a former Qatari prime minister worth an estimated £8bn, could not be sued in London over claims that agents acting on his behalf falsely imprisoned and tortured Fawaz al-Attiya, a former official spokesman for the emirate. Read more...

Remaking Law Firms: Why and How

Remaking Law Firms Beaton

The traditional law-firm business model has delivered technically excellent service at seemingly whatever cost. But the times have changed, with the global financial crisis only accelerating the price-down pressures, commoditisation, and client demand for efficient, business-relevant services. To respond, law firms will have to go beyond cutting costs while preserving the general way they win work, produce work, and govern themselves. Law firms need to adopt business models that are better adapted to serve their clients not just today, but well into the future.

To succeed under the changed circumstances, law firms need to remake their business models in accord with the needs of their commercial clients. This book provides examples of innovative and successful business models from remade law firms. Ultimately, this book is meant to fuel a desire for change in law firms that goes beyond thinking and planning, and leads straight into the messy, frustrating, exciting world of implementing change, and ultimately to better client service. Read more...

The emerging (and powerful) buyer in B2B

Businessmen-Confrontation

Millennials – the largest generation since the Baby Boomers – are quickly becoming the key target of B2B marketers.

Much has been written about Millennials in B2C as the most educated, tech-savvy, connected, thrifty, and socially and environmentally conscious. However, little has focussed on B2B – this is about to change, and needs to.

We’re now on the cusp of a generational shift in B2B buying. As more Millennials move into decision making roles at work, or start their own companies where they are in charge, the influence they wield over B2B purchasing will only continue to grow. Read more...

12 Steps to Charging Whatever You Want

Currency-keyboard-symbols

The GC of a global giant shared this gem during a client feedback interview: “I have on my desk right now yet another invoice which will require interpreters and a Sherpa to decipher and see if I should pay.” 80.1%* of clients think like this GC—questioning the value of their law firm’s services—because they can’t easily understand what exactly they are paying for. And, once these GCs start spending their precious time deciphering the invoice they find unexpected entries and other surprises which makes most clients put the invoice aside until the law firm’s accounting department calls.

At the same time, 19.9%* of clients look at their primary law firm’s invoice and think how shrewd they are for hiring their firm. The fee is a bargain—whatever the amount billed. These corporate counsel are convinced the value simply dwarfs the fee. It’s a no-brainer. And these coveted corporate counsel give their law firms higher rates, more work, and pay more quickly. Read more...

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