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Financial Management Quarterly Discussions - Pricing and Payments - Summary Takeaway

By Jarmila Pencikova posted 04-26-2019 16:53


The following is a brief summary of key points from the April 24th roundtable discussion. Enjoy!

Pricing for Small Firms – How do you set up a pricing program on a budget or with limited resources and/or staff and where do you start?
-Pricing role is not a historical function at law firms. There is a hesitation factor on the attorneys’ side.  You need to explain what you can do for them, explain the value you can provide.  You need to get in front of the attorneys and other functional groups to explain what your role does and the value it brings.
-Start with a smaller practice group. Analyze historical data and show them how it can be used in the future for pricing some of their services.  Once you have that smaller practice group on board, you can start moving to larger groups.
-The quality time docket narratives are key to your analysis and to your success. This is where education of attorneys comes in, putting standards into the way narratives are done, having firm management on board and work through the change management.

How to do LPM differently, based on different matter pricing models?  What service models are out there and how do they work?
-Legal Project Management is a team approach. The easiest is to put the team into a room and ask them how and what they will do, how long it will take to complete a particular task.  
-Once the tasks are identified and time estimate is attached to them, everyone will then understand what’s expected of them and what’s included in the scope of the matter.  This is probably the most efficient way to get what you need.

Pricing and Billing – do they work together?  What are the issues when they are as two separate groups?  What are some best practices?
-These two groups must work together, the communication between these two groups is key to your success.
-The ownership of the pricing and billing information should be at the matter intake process. If you can, collect all the necessary information during the intake process to identify the exception rates, specific payment terms, e-billing needs/platforms, review the outside counsel guidelines, identify the phase/task codes (standard or client-specific) and any other arrangements your firm has with the client.  This makes the job of the Pricing and Billing team much easier, they have the information right at the outset and avoid issuing incorrect invoices to clients.