Two articles with vastly different headlines:

As Law Firms Push Aggressive Rate Increases, Clients Have Room to Negotiate‘ by Andrew Maloney in the American Lawyer, and

Almost half of US lawyers see no rate increases in 2022, Wolters Kluwer report shows‘ by Ben Edwards* in The Global Legal Post

In the first article:

the mean rate increase across law firm segments last year was around 5.6%.

In the second article:

Some 27% of law firm timekeepers saw no increase, while 13% saw average rates go down

So what’s the problem?

Well here it is: both articles are written from the same underlying source material – the recently published Wolters Kluwer’s LegalVIEW Insights report.

As usual comments are my own.


  • disclosure: I know Ben Edwards and he is a fine journalist (which is not to say that Andrew Maloney isn’t, just that I don’t know Andrew).

Quote of the Week – 02.12.2022

This week’s Quote of the Week actually comes from the fabulous ‘The Geek in Review‘ podcast. In this week’s episode, co-host (flying solo) interviews Alex Denne of Genie AI and Caroline Hill, Editor-in-Chief of Legal IT Insider on a recent article by Caroline that ‘63% of all legal contracts are gender-biased‘. It is a great interview, and you should listen to it.

However, the Quote of the Week – although a part of the podcast interview, is out of context as it relates to the last question Greg and Marlene Gebauer ask all guests at the end – ‘The Crystal Ball Question’.

And this week, at 37 minutes and 15 seconds, Caroline responds to this question with this:

Caroline Hill 37:15
So I think, perhaps, what you might not expect me to say, but I think my challenges are around culture. I think that there’s not enough change. I think that we talk about tech all the time, but I see lots of people talking about innovation, but actually, I don’t see very much change in terms of how real firms are structured in terms of the management in terms of, you know, obviously diversity being a part of that. And I think that, whilst we’ve got the same people doing the same things that we can’t really expect to really properly move on and innovate in the way that we should be. So for me, that’s, you know, that’s something that we’re now moving into hybrid working, right. So that’s going to be to, that’s going to be more of a challenge than ever, you know, and we really need the right culture to create, you know, to manage that situation as it needs to be met. It’s going to be a massive challenge from a tech and a culture perspective, really bringing on teams and you need leadership from the top. And what you’re seeing is leaders who actually want to just now work from home. And they’re telling their young team, they’re young ones to come into the office, right? There’s all sorts of there’s so many examples of how the culture needs to change. And until the culture changes, we can talk about tech till we are blue in the face. And we can talk about innovation till we’re blue in the face. But until the culture really changes until law firms start really being honest with themselves and probably corporate legal as well. I don’t think that much it’s going to not as much as it should change or change.

Okay, now read that again – then go and listen to Caroline say those actual words.

And that is my #QuoteoftheWeek


Quote of the week – What is BD? (14.10.2022)

BD is the process of creating business opportunities—by opening new or expanding existing markets, or by developing new solutions or partnerships. BD Managers establish relationships with potential customers to identify qualified leads and influence requirements of future requests for proposals (RFPs). Capture Management, a cornerstone of BD, is the completion of actions needed to position the company to close the sale and win the contract.

Shot Selection: Choosing The Right Opportunities For Your Business & Increasing Your Ability To Bid And Win

Law firm values – a lesson from the American Marketing Association

I would hazard a guess that every single law firm website you looked at globally would make some mention of that firm’s values. And in most cases, they are very noble – questionable as to whether they are mere words on a page, but noble.

With the above in mind, I read with fascination a post on the Closer Group’s blog recently on ‘BUSINESS ETHICS? REALLY?? YES!‘ in which they set out the following from the American Marketing Association Statement of Ethics from 2014:

  1. Honesty: be forthright in dealings with customers and stakeholders.
  2. Responsibility: accept consequences for marketing decisions and strategies.
  3. Fairness: balance justly the needs of the buyer with the interests of the seller.
  4. Respect: acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.
  5. Transparency: create a spirit of openness in marketing operations.
  6. Citizenship: fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic, and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders.

I had not seen these previously, but now I have I can say with authority that law firms don’t need to spend lots of $$$s trying to come to collective agreement on what their firm values are; just adopt, live and breathe these from the American Marketing Association and you will be streets ahead of your competitors!

As always, opinions are my own – so if you have something to say please do so in the comments section!!


Silvia L. Coulter: The Five Big Questions Every Client Relationship Partner Must be Able to Answer

Love this post by Silvia L. Coulter on LawVision (‘The Five Big Questions Every Client Relationship Partner Must be Able to Answer‘).

The 5 questions are:

  1. What are the top three strategic growth objectives of the company overall?
  2. Where is the company spending its R&D dollars? Or, for service firms, research investment dollars and efforts?
  3. What is the biggest challenge the company anticipates as it looks toward the upcoming year?
  4. For what services is the client working with other outside counsel and for which of these services will they consider the client relationship partner’s firm?
  5. Who at the C-level of each client should we meet next?

Which many of us would be challenged to know the answer to – and to know how important those answers are, check out her post.

If you have any ideas about additional questions that need to be asked, let me know


Now we know: useless meeting attendance cost you an average of US$25,000 per employee every year

We’ve said for some time that having a meeting for having a meeting’s sake is – well – a waste of time!

Now, thanks to an article in Bloomberg, we can actually start to put a $ figure on how much time and money is being wasted in having everyone attend unnecessary meetings – roughly US$25k!!

In what is an interesting write-up of a recently published survey undertaken by by Steven Rogelberg, a professor of organizational science, psychology and management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, we learn that:-

  • Unnecessary meetings are a US$100 million mistake at big companies
  • Employees spend about 18 hours a week on average in meetings (that’s roughly half a working week in Oz!)
  • Employees only decline 14% of invites, even though they’d prefer to back out of 31% of them
  • Many say yes because it’s a workplace norm: nobody wants to offend the meeting organiser by skipping out, or have co-workers think they’re not engaged
  • The number of weekly meetings we attend has more than doubled since February 2020
  • Reluctantly going to noncritical meetings wastes about US$25,000 per employee annually

Some tips on how to fix this

  • Assign everyone attending your meeting(s) a notional monetary value of $100 per hour and calculate if there is real $ value in holding the meeting
  • If there is a $ value in holding the meeting, make sure you have an agenda and share that with participants prior to the meeting so they can prep ahead of time (should help cut down on the waffle time!)
  • Try and answer questions that are likely to arise in the meeting ahead of the meeting time so there is clarity of purpose in the meeting
  • Focus the meeting – take mobile phones off people or make them switch them off; don’t let attendees read or answer emails during the meeting, etc. Distractions like these delay/postpone/side-track meetings, resulting in blow-outs in the allotted meeting time
  • Allow people who don’t think they will make a meaningful contribution to the meeting to decline the meeting invite without judgement – I cannot tell you how many times I have declined meeting invites only to have the organiser resend me the invite in the mistaken belief I declined in error!

As always, views are my own!


Quote of the Week (16.09.22): 

This week’s Quote of the Week comes Julie A. Fleming, of whom I have been a long time reader:

A BD plan is only as good as the strategy that underlies it. Without strategy, a plan is just an uncoordinated task list of actions that you think will bring in more business, but the actions don’t function together or reinforce one another, nor are they pointed to a specific outcome other than more business.

Julie A. Fleming – on Strategic Planning