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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']



More Dangerous Drivel From The Legal Services Consumer Panel

Richard Circle Crop

Under normal circumstances, we would not bother wasting time addressing the asinine drivel that periodically issues forth from the Legal Services Consumer panel but the latest article in the Law Society Gazette (1 August 2018) simply cannot pass without comment. Why? Because the panel’s latest utterance goes well beyond an appalling lack of understanding and reaches into the realms of the mischievous and self-interested cultivation of dissent where there is currently none. Put bluntly, troublemaking for the hell of it.

The article's opening paragraph begins “…efforts to persuade legal services consumers to shop around for their lawyer appear to be making little headway. The Legal Services Consumer Panel today reports that the proportion of consumers comparing legal service providers remains unchanged year-on-year at 27%. This proportion drops even lower in certain areas of law, such as probate (16%) and personal injury (14%).

Efforts have been made in recent months to encourage legal services users to shop around, not least the growth in comparison websites where firms can be assessed on quality and cost. Read more...


The American Arbitration Association Announces Alternative Fee Options


It looks as though AFAs aren't just for outside counsel anymore. They're now a part of the arbitration process for at least one major ADR provider.

Alternative fee arrangements have been gaining popularity as a way for in-house counsel to control outside counsel spend.

Now, in-house lawyers can use AFAs to control arbitrator compensation costs, too.

The American Arbitration Association introduced AFA options Tuesday. The organization said it is the first such program to be offered by a national provider of alternative dispute resolution. Read more...

Law Firms Just Turned in Their Best Half Since the Recession

Growing Revenue

Revenue growth of 5.5 percent in the first half of 2018 was the highest since 2007, and the outlook going forward remains positive.

Historically strong revenue growth on the strength of a pickup in demand and solid rate increases, together with moderate expense growth through the first half of 2018, have the law firm industry well ahead of last year’s first-half performance. However, behind the industry averages, we continued to see dispersion across the industry, with the market favoring the largest and smallest firms during the first half. Looking ahead, the revenue outlook for the rest of 2018 is very positive, with a solid buildup in inventory heading into the third quarter. The industry will need this, given the upward pressure on expenses we expect to see in the second half of the year as firms absorb the recently announced salary increases. Read more...

How much brand premium does your firm command?

Brand Pricing Strategy Anchor

While writing How much brand premium does your firm command? I was reminiscing about Margaret and my last visit to Chicago. Allow me two minutes to explain; I hope you'll be pleased with the time you invest.

What comes to mind when you think about Chicago? Gangsters Bugs Moran and Al Capone? The Windy City, where former President Obama started out as a civil rights attorney? Jazz, Nat King Cole? Phillip Kotler of Northwestern University, author of 50+ books on marketing? Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase, author of The Nature of the Firm? Read more...

Who’s in Your Competitive Set?


For the Shirts Firms, your competitive set is the Shirts Firms. I don’t mean to be cute or tautological. A Major Corporate facing a material transaction or litigation will be considering a Wall Street or London elite law firm and an AmLaw 50+ is by no stretch of the imagination a plausible substitute.

The good news for the Shirts is that you know who your competitors are, and can map them out in two or three-dimensional capability and reputation space with financial and economic research you commission a capable grad student to do, together with brand perception scoring from Acritas (full disclosure: Adam Smith, Esq. has a close working relationship with them and we like their work) or BTI. Read more...


New Podcast: The Pricing & Procurement of Legal Services with Nancey Watson

Pricing Negotiations

In a new series of podcasts on the Legal Executive Institute, we examine the issue of procurement and pricing of legal services, looking at the issue from both sides of the table — from the law firm side and the in-house legal department side. We’ll be examining how law firms and in-house legal departments are facing different challenges that are reshaping the procurement process, how both sides can work “request for proposals” (or RFPs, as they’re known) to their advantage, and why it’s important to keep the human touch around pricing even amid all the measurements and metrics.

Joining us for this series is Nancey Watson, of NL Watson Consulting in Toronto. Nancey is an expert in the area of procurement and has just written a book, The Silver Bullet: How RFPs are Won, which will be published by The Ark Group, in the UK, later this summer. Nancey based her book on a workshop she teaches on Strategic Proposal Management. She is also a contributing author to Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, and she has spoken at a number of Legal Executive Institute events and forums. Read more...


GCs Are Flirting With the Big Four— But They Remain Wary

Pwc Logo

As giant accounting firms make new forays into the legal industry, in-house attorneys are giving more thought to offering the EYs and PwCs of the world their business.

Within the past couple of months, Adobe Systems Inc. has taken a less traditional path in handling some of its corporate legal work overseas. The company has shifted some matters away from traditional international and regional law firms and hired one of the Big Four accounting firms to take on this work instead.

What prompted the switch? According to Lisa Konie, senior director of legal operations for Adobe, it was primarily a predictable alternative fee arrangement. Read more...


Law and Order


Is “Legal” Project Management All That Special and Even Necessary?

If everyone just did their job, we wouldn’t need project managers, would we? And what is so special about legal that this industry has felt the need to add the “legal” flourish in front of the project manager title? As one of the BigLaw pioneers of legal project management (“LPM” for those of you new to this phenomenon), I have my opinions and lessons learned from the past decade plus in this domain.

Too Many Masters

Productive and enjoyable legal project meetings

Legal Project Meetings

Most people do not enjoy meetings at work. We all know the reasons why: they tend to be rather negative (called when ‘things go wrong’) and unproductive.

This perception of meetings can be a real problem for project managers, including legal project managers. To run projects successfully project managers need to call and run meetings, such as the kick-off meeting outlined in my previous post.

Running a meeting amidst a field of negativity is hard. To avoid the negativity, some project managers will simply skip the meetings and try to run projects by a series of informal interactions and communications. This is a mistake. Even Agile, a very light process methodology which values ‘individuals and interactions over processes and tools’ has meetings at its core (‘stand-up meetings’). Read more...


The New GC Toolkit: The innovation illusion

Reed Smith

There is much talk of legal services innovation both in-house and in private practice, but how can GCs separate myth from reality? Legal Business pierces the veil.

‘There’s a palpable sense of innovation in the legal industry,’ says Casey Flaherty, founder of legal technology consultancy Procertas. ‘But then,’ he adds, ‘there always has been.’

While heads of innovation are now an established part of the law firm landscape – among the better-known names in this rapidly expanding sub-profession of business development are Derek Southall of Gowling WLG, Bas Boris Visser of Clifford Chance, Kathryn DeBord of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Knut-Magnar Aanestad of Norwegian firm Kluge – their impact on the practice of law is more muted. Read more...

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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®