Ten days ago, I linked to a post, by Susan Hackett of ACC, Are Firms Tone Deaf? Why Push For Rate Increases In 2010? I referred to a post I made a year ago using the same "tone deaf" language that firms should not seek rate increases in 2009. This mornings American Lawyer contained this:
Although 81 percent of respondents said they expect their firms to raise rates next year, 77 percent said the increase would be 5 percent or less.
Yesterday, in my my post To Be Blind To Changes In The Legal Profession, I quoted this from the same AmLaw survey:
More than half the law firm heads report seeing a "fundamental shift" in the legal marketplace; only a quarter said they didn’t.
For a lawyer, my math skills are above average. These two numbers don’t add up. I would expect the 25% who don’t see the "fundamental shift" to pursue business as usual and raise rates. But "more than half" seeing a "fundamental shift" and 81% expecting to raise their rates next year cannot be reconciled.
I am reminded of an immortal line uttered by Paul Newman, "what we have here is a failure to communicate." Or perhaps more apropos, we see compelling evidence of people "talking the talk, but not walking the walk."
The receipt of these letters by General Counsel will test the GCs willingness to exercise the power they inherently have as buyers. It will be interesting to see how the GC community responds.