Tag Archives: Law Firm Billings

‘Alternative’ Billing? How About Information Resources ‘Alternatives’

There has been much talk lately about ‘alternative’ client billing structures. How about looking at some alternatives that will help the firm save money?

Cost Recovery
Information costs have typically been passed on to clients in three ways: retail charges, allocation and discount. All of these methods have had some success in the past, but will they work in the future? In this economy, law firms have to think outside of the box.

Information Resources
The Internet has leveled the playing field and created information alternatives that have grown in scope and functionality. The majority of legal research is conducted in primary sources; information that is created by courts, legislatures and agencies. This is government information that is free to the public.

Traditionally, publishers have taken this raw information and have added value in the form of indices, linking, annotations, etc., but at what price? What is the cost/value ratio to your firm for this content? Should you be comparing lower-cost alternatives for basic legal research?

Legal Research Skills = Cost Savings
Highly trained, confident associates are more cost effective and efficient when conducting legal research. A good legal researcher will need fewer bells and whistles to produce a superior work product.

Why not consider investing in an education program for your people, rather than sending all of your money to a vendor?

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AMLAW 2008 Law Firm Leaders Survey: The Results are In!

The results of the 2008 survey were published yesterday, and there are some surprises given what’s been in the news. First, 38% responded that they are “optimistic” about 2009. Second, 72% expect their firm headcount to increase over the next year. And third, 58% expect their 2009 first-year associate class to be the same as 2008 or larger.

However it wasn’t all good news, with associate retention still an issue.

How much of a problem is associate retention for your firm?
A major problem 7%
A minor problem 46%
Not a problem 46%

Additionally, most clients are showing continued cost-sensitivity to law firm billings.

What changes are you currently seeing in client behavior regarding billing?
More clients are requesting discounts 75%
Clients are paying bills later 65%
Clients are requesting deeper discounts 51%
Other 8%

Multiple responses were allowed.

There have been so many changes to the practice of law over the past five years, with the ubiquitous nature of the Internet being one of the most important. It looks like these changes could have a major impact on law firms in 2009.

Some high-profile general counsel have suggested that due to the advent of new technology and increased commoditization of legal services, many, if not most, Am Law 200 firms will have to change their business and billing practices. Do you agree?
Yes 69%
No 31%

The full results can be found here, and the article here.

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