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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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Use Project Management to Tame the Client Service Beast

Project Management Tame Client Service Beat

In her more than a decade of working at law firms, first as a paralegal and later in marketing and business development, Sarah Tetlow noticed that many of the lawyers were not always well organized when it came to delegating tasks and managing projects. It’s not surprising, considering the nature of the work and the lack of training in that area.

It’s a reactive profession, says Tetlow. “The partners are feeling the reactive needs of their clients every single day. That trickles down. There’s a lot of stress, anxiety, frustration. It’s Groundhog Day every day.”

Tetlow, the founder of Firm Focus LLC, saw firsthand how embracing project management can help lawyers tame the client service beast, among other benefits. Read more...

Law Firms with the Best Pitch

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It’s your moment. You are asked to come in and pitch. The typical company will ask 14 law firms to respond to an RFP. Next, they ask 3 to 8 to come in and pitch. Your chance to make your compelling case is here. And, out of these pitches—clients say a mere 20 law firms really stand out as giving a great pitch. All the rest sound the same —or worse.

So…who are these firms and what makes a truly great pitch? Let’s start with the second part of this question. Clients tell us a great pitch: Read more...

Intelligence-Gathering Tips for Responding to RFPs

Intelligence Gathering Tips For Responding To Rfps

According to buyers of legal services, there are two fatal intelligence-gathering mistakes law firms make when pitching new business or responding to requests for proposals: the diversity of their proposal team and not doing enough homework to understand how the client’s business makes money. (See “Silicon Valley In-House Counsel Are Deadly Serious About Diversity.” )

These are unforced errors that firms can avoid with proper planning.

In my previous article for Attorney at Work, we covered five questions to ask before you respond to an RFP. Once you decide to move forward with a response, here are the intelligence-gathering steps you should take. Read more...

Reconsidering legal sector KPIs

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Measuring performance is vital to all law firms in today’s more competitive marketplace, but some firms should consider modernising the way they do this. For many, benchmarking activity is still focused on lock-up and profit per equity partner. While these measures are still relevant and can help firms to forecast trends in key areas of performance, other key performance indicators (KPIs) spanning operations, markets, finance and people, have come to the fore.

For forward-thinking law firms, deciding to take a step back and review KPIs could bring significant rewards, including helping to boost profitability along wtih retaining and attracting talented people. Read more...

Largest Clients Ramp Up RFPs

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The next RFP is likely to be a big one. RFPs among the largest clients are on the rise. While only 38% of clients plan to issue RFPs through 2019—they are the largest legal spenders. Here’s why this group is moving to RFPs while others silently interview and select their law firms on a less visible basis.

  1. Clients consistently tell BTI they learn one new compelling insight, idea, or suggestion from the process—making the entire, and admittedly, grueling process worth it.
  2. Large clients are experiencing a faster rise in complex matters and increased financial exposure than their smaller spending counterparts. Read more...

GCs Explain Why Legal Panels Are Slimming Down

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Organizations are slashing the number of law firms they use on panels. General counsel explain why.

“Halved.” “Slashed.” “Slimmed.” A recurrent theme is emerging around legal panel review stories.

The facts are simple. Corporate legal panels are getting smaller, the procurement process is getting tougher, and the way in-house teams approach and work with their legal advisers is evolving, with panels becoming more honed and composed of fewer select law firms. Read more...

What in-house departments want from their law firms

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New research from CLOC reveals the most important metrics by which corporate counsel will measure the value of their law firms, as well as the kinds of innovation they want to see from them.

According to the second annual 2019 State of the Industry Survey, released by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), legal operations team said the top four things they want from their law firms were: more creative and alternative pricing arrangements, better project management, more internal use of technology and digital access to content, advise or customised documents.

Also revealed were the top metrics by which firms were evaluated. The top seven criteria were: quality of work, cost-effectiveness, responsiveness and timeliness, results and outcomes, understanding and aligning with a business, service delivery and diversity and inclusion. Read more...

3 in 10 chief legal officers are shifting work to ‘lower priced firms’

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Research shows that last year in-house team leaders are successfully using smaller law firms for the undertaking of legal work at a fraction of the cost.

According to the 2018 Chief Legal Officer Survey, conducted by Altman Weil, 31 per cent of chief legal officers shifted law firm work to practices that offered lower prices.

“Nearly half of the law department budget is spent on outside law firms, and law firms will surely be the primary service provider to law departments for the foreseeable future,” the report read. Read more...

3 Reasons RFPs are the Secret Answer to Your Law Department’s AFA Woes

Ford Motor Company pioneered in the blue ocean strategy of providing solutions to those who didn’t know they had problems. For centuries people were content with horse and buggy until Ford showed people what they were missing.

Currently, in-house lawyers detest the idea of being wrapped up into the enterprise’s competitive bidding policies. Yet, they desire all the benefits that competitive bidding provides. Why the disconnect? Read more...

As Big Firms Charge More, Companies Seek Alternatives

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CCBJ: In the LexisNexis annual CounselLink report, you track a number of key metrics, one of which is alternative fee arrangements (AFAs). What trends are you seeing in that area?

Kris Satkunas: In all the years we’ve been tracking the use of AFAs, the metric has always hovered around 10 percent of matters being billed under some sort of alternative arrangement. This year we saw that number pop up to 12.2 percent – up from 9.2 percent in the previous report. That may not sound like a huge increase, but it’s significant. We’ll continue to watch to see if the increase turns into a trend. There’s always been talk about the value of AFAs. I am hopeful that more departments are finally recognizing the benefit of the predictability AFAs provide around what they’re going to spend on a matter, as well as a cost-management tool. Read more...

Big Law's Midsize Competitors Are Wrestling With the Billable Hour

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The billable hour can give mid-market firms an advantage against their larger rivals, but it can be profitable to move away from it.

The billable hour gets knocked around, criticized, its death predicted, only to continue on, and while the discussion of doing away with it usually centers on large law firms, it’s a subject mid-market firms need to wrestle with too.

Should midsize firms move away from the billable hour? Given how diverse the mid-market and its client base are, it’s not surprising that when talking to firm leaders or consultants, there’s no clear consensus. Read more...

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