The way that clients choose and keep their law firms depends on a firm�s ability to supply the basics � and to provide a few little services that may come as a surprise.
By E. Leigh Dance, Norm Rubenstein, and Mary K Young|October 29, 2007 at 12:00 AM|Originally published on Legal Times
Thank you for sharing!
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Every law firm that serves corporate clients has faced harsh realities in the last few years. While the economy has been healthy, the competition for the most interesting and profitable legal work has stiffened. Corporate legal departments are scrutinizing their outside firms more, pushing back on rate increases, forcing law firms to compete more overtly for their business, consolidating the number of outside firms they use, and firing law firms more readily. In this climate, some law firms have thrived, while others have struggled to keep up. The law firms that have thrived have done so, in part, because they stay close to their clients and adapt readily to their needs. Any firm that wants to compete needs to be aware of these factors that influence the way that in-house counsel choose and evaluate their outside law firms. 1. The way that law firms charge for their work is troubling to clients. Corporate counsel want to work with law firms that can make the case for the value they provide to their clients. Fees charged by law firms often do not relate to the value of the work because most law firms simply bill for time spent regardless of the importance of the matter to the client. Clients despise this system because it rewards inefficiency. But law firms don’t know how to correct the problem for several reasons. First, beyond discounts, most law firms don’t know how to develop or discuss alternative rate structures. Second, many law firms are ill-equipped to provide costs on a project basis, particularly if the project crosses practice areas or geographic borders. Third, lawyers have focused on getting paid for their time, rather than staffing and managing cases in accordance with the importance of the matter. Law firms that can initiate a discussion of fees will have an advantage over firms that cling to the traditional time and billing approach. To do this, they need to begin educating their lawyers about estimating costs for a client and about assignments to a budget. They need to collect more data on the costs and profitability of different types of services so that they can provide better estimates. They need to suggest alternatives for certain types of matters. Finally, they need to demonstrate to their clients that they are managing their matters with their clients’ best interests in mind. For example, law firms must show that they have staffed matters as leanly as possible and sought early resolution of the matter if that is best for the client. 2. Firms must understand that clients have increasing cost pressures. A related factor influencing law firm fees is the accelerating need for corporations to control costs. This trend has been accelerated by the increased influence of corporate purchasing departments in the selection of law firms. This phenomenon, in turn, has led to the increase in the number and complexity of corporate requests for proposals. These RFPs increasingly ask for more financial transparency, discounts, bundled rates, cost controls, quality controls, and automated billing processes. They often are part of an effort to reduce the number of law firms with which the corporation works. Given this shift, in-house lawyers expect their law firms to:
This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.
To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.
LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.
ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.
A healthy work-life balance is becoming less about separation and more about integration. Having remote access and flexible hours can help us get more done in a day, while also keeping more of our personal commitments.
Discover how to avoid the consequences of ineffective Information Governance including difficulty complying with data privacy regulations, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and handling e-discovery and other legal matters.
With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
Dynamically explore and compare data on law firms, companies, individual lawyers, and industry trends.
Exclusive Depth and Reach.
Legal Compass includes access to our exclusive industry reports, combining the unmatched expertise of our analyst team with ALM’s deep bench of proprietary information to provide insights that can’t be found anywhere else.
Big Pictures and Fine Details
Legal Compass delivers you the full scope of information, from the rankings of the Am Law 200 and NLJ 500 to intricate details and comparisons of firms’ financials, staffing, clients, news and events.
As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters.
Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss.
Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.