RATE RESISTANCE - If you’re a Big Law client, now’s the time to stop being polite and start getting real. The Am Law 100 showed wide disparity in billing rate increases last year, depending on the law firm and the practice area, from hiking up rates by more than 20% to almost no increases. Some law firms are expected to continue aggressive rate increases this year, analysts said. But rate increases across the legal industry haven’t been as big as the conventional wisdom implies, and clients have more room to negotiate than they probably realize, according to the latest LegalVIEW Insights report from Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions. “Just talking to our clients in banking and finance, they’re saying the law firms are coming at them with huge rate increases, but then coming down,” said Nathan Cemenska, director of legal operations and industry insights for ELM Solutions, told Law.com’s Andrew Maloney. “They [law firms] are doing distributive bargaining, where they name a big number and then it gets whittled down from there. So the question is really, how much is the client willing to push back?”

TRIALS BY FIRE - In a number of state courts, lawyers say judges are trying to squeeze in trials where possible to snake clogged court case schedules. In response, attorneys are changing how they prepare for trial, turning to technology and communicating more with judges to adapt to an increasingly packed schedule. As Law.com’s Alaina Lancaster writes in this week’s Law.com Barometer newsletter, adjusting to more sudden trial dates might throw off attorneys’ work-life balance in the short-term. “It’s a bit painful,” said Mark Zanobini, of The Law Office of Mark J. Zanobini in Mill Valley, California, explaining that if lawyers agree to the chance of an expedited schedule, then they have to make sure their case is ready. “I don’t know about other lawyers, but I’ve blown a few weekends and several evenings to get everything ready,” he said. It might also affect settlement patterns. Spending all the time and money to have the depositions and questions outlined, exhibits ready and witnesses prepped, “makes it much harder to settle a case at that point,” Zanobini said. To receive the Law.com Barometer directly to your inbox each week, click here.

ON THE RADAR - Major League Soccer, several MLS teams and other defendants were slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit Thursday in California Central District Court. The lawsuit, filed by Johnson & Johnson on behalf of Associated Production Music, accuses the defendants of using the plaintiff’s copryighted musical compositions on their social media platforms to promote their commercial activities without authorization. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is 2:23-cv-01173, Associated Production Music LLC v. Major League Soccer LLC et al. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar


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