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With the Validatum Pricing Espresso® we aim to bring you your pricing 'shot' - some of the most interesting, thought-provoking and informative material we can find globally which will be of interest, relevance and help to you in your firms' pricing challenges.

Pricing: “There are a lot of tricks I knows…”

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Charge 'em for the lice,
Extra for the mice

Two percent for looking in the mirror twice

Here a little slice, there a little cut

Three percent for sleeping with the window shut

When it comes to fixing prices

There are a lot of tricks I knows

How it all increases, all them bits and pieces

Jesus! It's amazing how it grows!'

These lyrics from the musical Les Miserables (Master of The House) are the inspiration for this post. It has for many years been customary for firms to include a variety of sundry charges at the end of the bill but a cost benefit/analysis may well reveal that whilst the practice generates additional gross revenue, this is probably outweighed by the negative effects on client perception and attitudes. Read more...

The Billable Hour Is Dead. Long Live The Billable Hour.

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The billable hour has been the bane of attorneys’ existence for a long time. Even when I entered the industry 20 years ago, the billable hour was ‘dead.’ Well, it’s not dead. It’s always the way firms are going to make their money.

— Michelle Fivel, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa who worked at multiple Biglaw firms before becoming a recruiter, tells the industry’s reckoning with the billable hour is a long time coming. Fivel also noted the impact this dependency has on equality, “You’re only as good as the number of hours you’ve billed. That ties people to the profession in ways where men have more than women. I’d like to see the playing field leveled for women. I just don’t think it is. And I suspect that as long as the billable hour is king, it’ll always be unlevel.” Read more...

10 Developments and Trends in Legal Project Management 2012 – 2022

10 Developments and Trends 2012 2022

In this post I highlight 10 developments and trends in legal project management which have occurred over the last 10 years.

This year marks the 10th year I have been providing training and consultancy services in legal project management (LPM) and legal process improvement (LPI).

What developments have I seen over the last 10 years and what trends are likely to endure? Read more...

With Competitive Billing Rates and Lower Costs, Midsize Firms Led Profit Gains

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Midsize firms benefited from a confluence of factors last year. "We’ve gotten more at-bats in the last 12 to 18 months than we were getting before COVID hit," said one midsize firm leader.

The financial gap between elite law firms in the Am Law 50 and everyone else spread even more amid the 2020 pandemic environment. But in 2021, midsize and smaller firms may have turned in the most eye-popping performances, posting double-digit gains in revenue and profits that exceeded other segments of the Am Law 200, according to multiple analyses. Read more...

Wait, How Many Hours Are You Billing?

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According to the Thomson Reuters Institute and the Georgetown University Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession’s 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market, how many billable hours per lawyer per month were recorded in 2021?

Hint: While average billables were up over 2020, they were still down from the 2007 high, before the Great Recession. Read more...

Billable Hours Aren't Everything for Big Law Associates' Development

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It's never too early in your career to begin branding yourself.

Billable hours are important to the firm, and to your career at the firm. But they are not the be-all, end-all. Particularly if you want to build a reputation beyond the firm—and you do.

If you ever want to lateral to another firm or obtain another opportunity such as an in-house position, you will want to expand your reputation. As we will explain, serving your bar and local community, taking on pro bono representation, and building a reputation through writing and speaking are key factors in becoming known beyond the law firm’s corridors. Read more...

Aggressive Billing Rate Increases Appear Likely, but Can Clients Stomach It?

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Associate salary increases will likely contribute to higher rate hikes, but law firms will have to navigate clients' own anxieties about inflation.

Large law firms were broadly able to boost billing rates by an average of nearly 4% last year while posting their highest realization rates since the Great Recession.

And it wouldn’t be surprising if law firms try to raise billing rates just as much or more in 2022, especially as inflation surges, elite law firms install another associate salary bump and the overall cost for top talent increases. Still, analysts and law firm leaders say big firms will have to navigate significant rate pressures, including clients’ own anxieties about inflation. Read more...

Biglaw Firm Offers Super-High Bonuses For Super-High Billables

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The good news continues in Biglaw, at least in terms of compensation.

The latest firm to announce largesse to their associates is Loeb & Loeb. The firm made $385,271,000 in gross revenue in 2020, making it 99th on the most recent Am Law 100 ranking.

As you can see from the bonus chart below, it will take quite a few billable hours to match the market standard set by Davis Polk (which includes year-end and special bonus numbers). But, if you hit those super-high billables (core hours include client billable hours and creditable non-billable hours) wow, those are some impressive bonuses. And for ease of comparison, Loeb & Loeb charted out what last year’s bonuses were like, so you can see just how much better associates are doing — monetarily — year over year: Read more...

The project of firms implementing Legal Project Management

Legal Project Management Demystified

Legal Project Management (LPM) is in vogue nowadays. However, the interpretation of what LPM is varies. While there is general agreement that LPM uses project management principles in a legal context, its scope and implementation mechanisms can differ based on factors such as the underlined project management methodology, the type of project to handle, the size of the organization, and even the mindset of the LPM implementers.

A key question surrounding LPM is whether lawyers handle projects. While many seasoned project managers of large-scale and high-value projects may be uncertain as to whether a legal matter can be described as a project or whether projects can occur in a legal context, it can be argued that legal matters, such as a company acquisition, a litigation case, or an IP license agreement, are in fact, projects. Further examples of projects that lawyers may engage in could include team restructuring, technology improvement, or a data privacy program. Read more...

Singapore to allow no-win, no-fee agreements to boost appeal as global disputes hub

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Latest reforms follow the relaxation of litigation funding rules in 2017

Singapore is set to allow no-win, no-fee agreements in certain proceedings as lawmakers seek to reinforce the city state’s status as a global disputes hub.

Singapore’s parliament approved reforms that will permit conditional fee agreements (CFAs) in international arbitration, following extensive consultation with the Law Society of Singapore, the judiciary, international law firms and others using Singapore as a regional hub for their work. Read more...

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The coming together of these 3 power-house firms has enabled us to create something truly revolutionary. I have no doubt that Virtual Pricing Director® is going to drastically alter, for the good, the way lawyers price-up work” Richard Burcher, Managing Director, Validatum®, Chairman, Virtual Pricing Director® & Legal Pricing Academy®


Whether you are just starting out on your pricing career or are already highly experienced, whether you want to undertake some ‘light-touch’ professional development or aspire to the pinnacle of Certified Legal Pricing Professional, the Legal Pricing Academy® can help you achieve your goals” Richard Burcher, Managing Director, Validatum®, Chairman, Virtual Pricing Director® & Legal Pricing Academy®