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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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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

WSJ Law Blog asks “What’s a First Year Lawyer Worth?

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

The October 17 issue of the Wall Street Journal contains a terrific article by Ashby Jones, What’s A First-Year Lawyer Worth?  The answer, it seems, is not much, at least to some general counsel.  Several GCs are quoted talking about how they deal with the "first-year dilemma."  Here’s the definition: But lawyers said there is still… Continue Reading

WSJ Blog Picks Up On Continuing Rate Increases

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

I recently noted that law firms were continuing to increase rates even though their clients were experiencing difficult times.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog picked up on the story.  I love Nathan Koppel’s concluding line: "color us surprised." In reality, it is really not surprising.  It reflects a paralysis of thinking and imagination.  By … Continue Reading

The Billable Hour, The Supreme Court and a Dog’s Tail

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

  We now know who to blame for the billable hour.  Or at least who to blame for its perpetuation. According to former Kirkland partner Steve Harper in  The Belly of the Beast: Yet it survives because it has powerful defenders, including the Supreme Court’s conservative five-man majority. Yes, the obstacles facing those seeking better… Continue Reading