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EVERYTHING’S NEGOTIABLE - Even as many law firms have seen demand for their services soar over the past year-and-a-half, clients continue to treat paying their legal bills like they’re auditioning for an episode of “Extreme Couponing.” The Legal Pricing and Budgeting Report, a collection of data from more than 800 law firm pricing professionals across the U.K. and North America at firms with at least 100 lawyers, recently detailed how write-offs, discounts and alternative fee arrangements remain “widespread.” As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, 94% of respondent firms said they have experienced delays in settling bills, while a majority in North America (60%) and nearly half in the U.K. (48%) said write-offs have increased by at least 60% since COVID-19 swept the globe. But there is a golden opportunity here too. Firms reported average increases in demand for AFAs of 28% in North America and 26% in the U.K since the pandemic started. “Following a year when firms went above and beyond to support clients, expectations have risen, and that includes expectations that law firms will embrace digital technologies at the same rates as clients,” the budgeting report said, noting that the pace of some firms’ adoption of digital tools will be a competitive edge. “Going into a client negotiation with a clear idea of what AFA can be profitably offered and being transparent about pricing changes the debate from fee arrangement to the value being delivered.”

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