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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.

Associate Billing Rates Are Growing Faster Than Partner Rates

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A new report shows higher billing rate increases across the associate ranks, particularly in the first three to six years.

While law firms have been aggressive in their rate increases in the last few years, associates have seen some of the biggest jumps in billing rates.

Nationally, the average rate billed by partners last year stood at $728 per hour, and for associates, it was $535, according to data from Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, a legal analytics company. Read more...

Practice Innovations: Training lawyers on pricing, project management & law firm economics — Start early & don’t let up!

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There is a clear correlation between the level of early and ongoing training a lawyer receives and the level of client satisfaction a firm ultimately enjoys

Client expectations of outside counsel continue to evolve into far more than just getting excellent legal advice. Today, clients will likely expect efficiency, cost predictability, and regular communication from their outside lawyers. And just like developing legal acumen, learning how to meet these demands takes consistent training and practice. Read more...

Clients Speak Out About Associate Pay Rises - But Their Inaction Speaks Louder

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If there is to be any kind of wide-scale reckoning over associate pay-driven rate hikes, it hasn't come yet. And, at least according to some experts, there are no real signs that it's impending, despite the pandemic ratcheting up budget pressures for in-house departments.

The Trend:

As the intensity of the law firm talent war has continued to escalate, so too has the intensity of in-house attorneys’ scorn.

But, so far, those protests have not graduated from words to actions in most instances. And so, the war rages on. Read more...

This Boutique Is Ditching the Path to Partnership and the Billable Hour, Adopting a New Profit-Sharing Model


“Clients want to view their attorneys as outside counsel, and they are not worried about your title, but your subject expertise and your ability to deliver results," founder Ryan Tyz said.

Tyz Law Group, a Northern California-based litigation and intellectual property boutique, is offering a different path—and compensation model—amid an exodus of attorneys leaving Big Law life.

The firm announced last month it is entirely eliminating the “path to partnership” concept and instead rewarding attorneys for seniority and responsibility as well as contributions such as mentoring, business development and innovation. Read more...

Goodbye Big Law, Hello Fixed Fees + Legal Tech

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‘I despise the billable hour,’ says William Woodford, a former partner at leading IP firm Fish & Richardson, ‘it taints the relationship with the client.’

Woodford (pictured above) has now left the Big Law firm he worked at for over 18 years to create his own niche outfit focused on IP litigation, Avantech Law. And he is determined to work differently. ‘I am interested in anything that takes down the status quo,’ he adds.

Those differences can be broadly grouped into three main areas: dumping the billable hour; more use and better use of technology when possible; and operating with far lower overheads. Read more...

Lawyers want better alignment with duties and desires, says Stand-out Lawyers mid-year survey


The new Stand-out Lawyers mid-year survey shows that top lawyers still harbor some deep concerns about their role in the post-pandemic legal environment

While law firms as a group may have begun a rebound from the depths of the global pandemic, their lawyers still have a lot of questions about how the industry is going to handle a myriad of challenges, such as remote working, upgrading lawyer skillsets, hiring and retaining top talent, and implementing necessary technology to allow lawyers to be more efficient.

Most importantly, younger lawyers and female lawyers seem to be the least happy with the number of hours they are working, a factor that may be part of the reasons many in these groups leave the legal industry, or at least seek legal work outside of law firms. Read more...

Legal process improvement initiatives: 7 tips to help you make a successful start

Process Management

You have been made responsible for the delivery of a legal process improvement initiative in your law firm.

What are the first things you need to think about to ensure the initiative succeeds?

1. Always keep client need in mind

It feels natural to become inward looking when running legal process improvement initiatives. After all, the processes under review are within your firm.

Unfortunately one result of being inward looking that after processes are improved life is made easier for legal service delivery teams, but not so much for the firms clients. Read more...

How Did Big Law Profits Surge? Demand and Big Rate Hikes Were Key

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A series of events led to sky-high profits across the legal industry last year.

Profits growth of more than 5% would be a great year for any big law firm. But a look at the early reports of Am Law 200 financials shows many law firms with eye-popping profit per partner hikes of more than 20%, including at Sidley Austin, Dechert, McDermott Will & Emery, Hogan Lovells and Alston & Bird, among others.

Many firms’ profit gains were higher than their revenue growth. And unlike 2020, the profit surges up and down the Am Law 200 were not uniquely tied to expense cuts.

Banks paying highest law firm rates but overall spending in decline

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Wolters Kluwer study shows US banks paying $620 an hour on average, three times more than insurance companies.

Banks and other financial institutions are paying the highest hourly law firm rates despite managing largely to keep the lid on fee rises during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new Wolters Kluwer report.

The 2021 Real Rate Report shows that banks in the US are paying $620 an hour on average, roughly 9.5% higher than industrials – the second-highest payers – and almost three times more than the $229 an hour rate insurance companies pay. Consumer services companies were paying $523 an hour on average, while tech and telecoms companies pay $513. 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®