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With the Virtual Pricing Director 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.


Legal IT Win: Leading African law firm selects Virtual Pricing Director

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Africa’s largest law firm, ENSafrica, will shortly deploy Virtual Pricing Director, the legal SaaS pricing platform conceived and built over five years by international legal pricing experts Validatum, we can reveal.

Africa’s largest law firm, ENSafrica, will shortly deploy Virtual Pricing Director, the legal SaaS pricing platform conceived and built over five years by international legal pricing experts Validatum, we can reveal. Read more...

Pricing software: If it's not built for me, forget it, I won't use it!

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Just as the profession’s approach to pricing has in recent years taken on a greater level of sophistication, so the same is happening in the emerging pricing technology solutions market.

But before you go down that track, there are two pivotal questions that the firm needs to ask and answer with clarity…

1. What objectives do we want the technology to achieve, and

2. Who will be using it to achieve those objectives? Read more...

Unbundling “empowers client” and optimises solicitors’ billing

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Clients using unbundled legal services feel empowered by having control of their own case, while it is the best way for solicitors to bill every minute of their time, a pioneering family lawyer said this week.

Ursula Rice, founder and director of Family First Solicitors, said 25-30% of the Oxford, London and St Albans firm’s caseload was now unbundled advice – marketed as ‘pay as you go’ and as costing £3,000 against a ‘traditional’ £8,000 divorce.

Speaking at a session on innovation at this week’s Solicitors Regulation Authority compliance conference in Birmingham, she said most clients were capable of handling their own matter, but three in 10 were told “I think you can do it but you can switch to full representation if that’s what you want later”. Read more...

Aligning price and value: Success strategies in today’s tax firm operations

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A new Thomson Reuters Institute report discusses how tax & accounting firms are approaching the balance between offering clients value and pricing their services

In the fast-evolving landscape of today’s business world, tax & accounting firms are experiencing significant transformations. To delve deeper into that, the Thomson Reuters Institute has published a new report, Aligning Pricing with Value: Strategies for Success in Modern Tax Firm Operations in 2024, that provides a comprehensive exploration of these shifts. Read more...

'Across-the-Board' Cost Increases Are Prompting Law Firms to Alter Talent, Billing Calculus

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Some law firms are pausing their promotions of senior associates to partner, and they’re telling senior associates to be patient, said Laura Terrell, an executive coach and consultant.

Although the inflation rate is down, law firms are still fighting “across-the-board” cost increases, including for talent and technology, as well as overhead costs for occupancy. Those costs are expected to have an outsize influence on law firm operations going into 2024. Read more...

Associate Pay Raises Escalate GC Fears of Billing Rate Hikes

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Some GCs are voicing concerns about further rate hikes after associate pay raises. But Milbank’s chair said the salary raises wouldn't have a material effect on its billing rate decisions in the future.

Milbank’s opening salvo on associate pay—raising each salary by $10,000—isn’t just rippling across the pool of Big Law competitors. Some on the client side are voicing concerns, saying law firms would be “digging their own graves” with another war over salaries and bonuses, especially if it results in higher billing rates. Read more...

By-the-Hour Billing Torments Legal Departments. So Why Aren’t More Demanding Alternatives?

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"Billable hours is all they know," consultant Ken Callander said of many in-house attorneys. "To move toward something other than that, it's really foreign to them."

Legal consultants and pricing experts for years have advised legal departments frustrated with ever-rising outside counsel fees to unshackle themselves from paying hourly rates and instead negotiate alternative fee arrangements.

The benefits can be substantial, the experts say. For example, paying a law firm a set amount for handling a matter or making some fees contingent on a successful outcome, can give legal departments cost transparency and predictability. Read more...

How Will AI Disrupt Legal Billing? Early Innovations Offer Some Clues

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AI isn't the first technology to disrupt the legal industry, but it's driving a faster pace of change and altering the law firm-legal department relationship, legal analysts report.

Legal analysts report that, while AI has yet to upend the billable hour or usher in a new era of AFAs, change is coming, faster than before. Already, law firms and in-house departments are employing a more data-driven approach with tools like AI to drive cost efficiencies in operations and legal practice. Read more...

Judge Rejects Quinn Emanuel's $1,700 Hourly Rate Request, Slashing Fees for Virginia Settlement by Nearly 80%

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Some of the rates requested by Quinn Emanuel—$1,690 per hour for a lead partner or $1,385 per hour for associates—were unrealistic for the Richmond, Virginia, market in the present case, the court found.

A federal judge in Virginia drastically reduced Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan attorneys’ requested fees related to enforcing a $6 million settlement agreement they successfully obtained for a client over a fraud scheme involving the Model Tobacco Building in Richmond, Virginia. Read more...

Guideline hourly rates to rise in 2024, master of rolls confirms

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The master of the rolls has confirmed that guideline hourly rates will increase from 1 January as part of wider costs reforms.

Sir Geoffrey Vos announced today that he would endorse all the recommendations of the Civil Justice Council’s review on costs which was published in May. That will mean that the 2021 guideline hourly rates will be uplifted for inflation from next year, in accordance with the consumer price index.

Vos will also establish a further working group to establish the methodology underpinning future guideline hourly rates. Read more...

Billing Rates Accelerated Again. Big Law Will Likely Keep Foot on the Pedal

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Rate increases, by an average of nearly 8%, have helped the industry see an uptick in revenue between the second and third quarters.

During a period of relatively flat demand, billing rate hikes continue to drive Big Law revenue, according to a new report this week, as law firms on average rose rates by 7.9% by the third quarter, the highest mark since at least the Great Recession period.

Success in 2023 will depend “more than usual on a successful year-end collections push,” analysts for Wells Fargo’s Legal Specialty Group wrote in their nine-month survey results (echoing other analyses this week). But billing rates and revenue gains have arguably helped firms stave off more cuts next year and emboldened leaders to keep their foot on the accelerator when it comes to rates. Read more...


Update clients on cost increases or face sanctions, lawyers warned

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Lawyers must tell clients the ongoing cost of their service if they want to avoid complaints against them being upheld under guidance published by the legal ombudsman today.

The 'refreshed guidance' states that complaints about lawyers’ bills make up one in 10 complaints referred to the Legal Ombudsman’s Office (LeO). Unhappiness with costs also features in many more complaints – in particular, those about lawyers’ standard of communication, where the lack, or quality, of information about costs may be a factor. 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®