24 May 2017

Law firms lack pricing management skills

Most law firms do not match pricing deals to changes in how work is serviced and delivered.

Law firms are unable to project manage jobs effectively Law firms lack resource allocation skills

Only 30 per cent of law firms routinely link discounted, capped and alternative fees to changes in how work is staffed and delivered, according to new research.  This lack of management prowess displays a critical misunderstanding of the interdependence of the elements of their business model which include scope, staffing, price, work flows, project management and margin, the survey noted.  The 2017 Law Firms in Transition survey carried out by management consultants Altman Weil revealed how law firms were coping with the erosion of demand for law firm services, price competition and technology.

Slowly changing

'Law firms are slowly changing in response to market pressures,' said Altman Weil principal and survey co-author Tom Clay. 'Progress is not linear in most firms – not every effort is an overnight success, and many firms are making only cursory investments.  But we’re starting to see that certain investments are paying off.' He noted that lawyers were 'very good at interpreting data that’s set before them, but they also need to ask: What don’t we know that might matter? Adequately educating partners about current market realities is a critical first step in achieving necessary strategic change.'


Conducted in March and April 2017, the Law Firms in Transition Survey polled Managing Partners and Chairs at 798 US law firms with 50 or more lawyers.  Completed surveys were received from 386 firms, including 50 per cent of the 350 largest US law firms and 50 per cent of the Am Law 200.The complete survey report includes sections on industry trends, market demand and competition, profitability, pricing, efficiency of legal service delivery, lawyer staffing strategies, law firm growth and economic performance.  

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