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In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

Category Archives: Hourly Rates and Alternatives

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Consulting? A natural way to share the many lessons we’ve learned over the years.

Posted in Client Service, Client Surveys and Audits, Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives, Marketing, Branding and Sales, Prevention, Trends and Innovations

Something interesting happened recently.  Jeff Carr, Nicole Auerbach and I consulted with a client about how to improve the law department’s performance and save money.  Shortly afterwards, Nicole and I consulted with a law firm about moving to alternative fee arrangements.  The interesting thing was that we found ourselves enjoying being consultants.  We found, in… Continue Reading

These hourly rates are breathtaking

Posted in Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Just read this: MoFo, which submitted its first monthly fee statement earlier this week, is serving as special renewable energy counsel to the official committee of unsecured creditors. The firm is seeking $641,212 in compensation for work between April 29 and May 31. MoFo’s attorneys billed more than 683 hours during that time period and… Continue Reading

Valorem recognized as one of the best at delivering Alternative Fee Arrangements

Posted in Client Service, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Last week, BTI Consulting reported that alternative fee arrangements have “soared to an all time high,” noting that AFAs generated savings of nearly 14%, or an average of $2.7 million for law departments.   These savings are significant, but as I have often said, much greater savings are possible if AFAs are deployed with other important… Continue Reading

AFAs are finally catching on, but so much more is possible

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Michael Rynowecer of BTI Consulting had a great, must-read post today on his Mad Clientist blog. In the post, which I strongly recommend, Michael makes these points: Spending on AFAs is way up—nearly 20% CAGR over 4 years Outside counsel spend under AFAs jumped to over 35% Almost 70% of companies The reported savings from… Continue Reading

The 4 stages of change.

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Richard Susskind wonderfully described the 4 stages of change: Stage 1:  “What you’re saying is worthless nonsense.” Stage 2:  “What you’re saying is an interesting but perverted point of view.” Stage 3:  “What you’re saying is true but quite unimportant.” Stage 4:  “I have always said so.” There is truth in what Richard says, and… Continue Reading

Timekeeping company argues lawyers using AFAs still need to keep time

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

One of the great things about non-hourly billing is that it frees you from the tyranny of timesheets.  You stop thinking about billing and start thinking about results, about outputs, about deliverables.  That approach is an anthema to the many vendors who specialize in products that help lawyers find more time to bill to their… Continue Reading

Upcoming Conference on Legal Procurement

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives, People, Places and Blawgs

My friend Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein leads the legal procurement organization, Buying Legal Council.  Silvia and her group are holding a conference in New York City on February 2, 2015, Pricing and Collaboration.  The program looks outstanding.  I wish I was able to attend.  I am sure there will be a twitter feed, and I… Continue Reading

The Three P’s Shortchanges What’s Necessary to Bring Value To Clients

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

I ran across an interesting article in Attorney at Work, Trends in Legal Pricing and Project Management. The article reported on the recent P3 Conference offered by the Legal Marketing Association.  The three P’s are pricing, project Management and process improvement.  Having just written a book that covers these topics (and more), I was interested… Continue Reading

10 Value Questions Inside Counsel Should Be Asking Themselves

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

1.   Has your management mandated (or gently suggested) that you reduce your spend on litigation? Would it be a good career move if you achieved a reduction in total spend? 2.   Do your law firms spend more than the established budget? 3.   In 2013, were you unpleasantly surprised by a bill you received from litigation… Continue Reading

Kaye Scholer’s clients need to check their bills

Posted in Client Service, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Another law firm has motivated its associates to spend more time rather than less getting their work done.  Kaye Scholer is paying upwards of $20,000 in additional bonuses to those who exceed 2,200 hours per year.  The firm’s managing partner said this: At Kaye Scholer, we strongly believe in rewarding our lawyers who not only meet, but… Continue Reading

Simple questions a client can ask to expose dirty little secrets

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Everyone claims to offer fee structures that are alternatives to the billable hour.  Frequently, these “alternatives” are nothing more than estimated hours x hourly rates, plus “a little cushion.” So clients should ask: 1.  How did you determine your alternative fee?  What metrics did you examine?  What factors did you consider?  What experience did you… Continue Reading

WSJ on ever increasing hourly rate: anyone else get a sense of deja vu?

Posted in Hourly Rates and Alternatives

The front page of today’s Wall Street Journal contains an article analyzing hourly rate increases amongst lawyers.  After noting that average rates for top-end partners rose to $873, the Journal provides this insight (from TyMetrix data): On the whole, lawyers last year pushed through the biggest overall annual rate increase, 5.1%, since the recession, when… Continue Reading

“Smart” products helping lawyers capture even more time only add to hourly rate feeding frenzy

Posted in Client Service, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

I got an email today that is proof that mass emailers don’t care a bit about who receives the emails.  The mass email, on behalf of Smart WebParts, offered this enticement: Smart Time moves timekeeping into a new era, finally offering timekeepers a way to keep up with today’s hypermobile, multitasking work environments. In this new… Continue Reading

BigLaw just can’t shake it’s reliance on hours!

Posted in Hourly Rates and Alternatives, Leadership and Management

I got a kick out of a post at Above The Law, Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert’s Bonus Is Contingent On Something That Sure Sounds Like Billable Hours.  The unstated but unmistakeable conclusion from the memo is that even firms that say hours aren’t important place disproportionate importance on billable hours.  ATL quotes one tipster saying:… Continue Reading