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Law Firm Bill Rates Rising?  Update on Key Legal Spend Metrics

Enterprise Legal Management Trends Webinar-header

Are law firm bill rates rising?  The data suggests they are but, there’s a caveat, which we detail below in a brief summary of the latest CounselLink Enterprise Legal Management Trends report.

It is important to note that this data is not based on survey information but rather based on actual invoices.  It is derived from nearly $17 billion in legal spending processed through our systems since 2009.  It covers nearly 4 million legal invoices and more than 500,000 matters.

The data in this report is based on the trailing 12 months ending June 30, 2014.

Four Trends in Legal Spend Management

Later this month we’ll host a complimentary webinar to explain what the data means for your law department.  Attendees will also be able to ask questions and here’s a summary of four (of the six) key trends, which will also be covered during the webinar:

1. Law firm bill rates rise but… “Significant growth rate increases are noticeable” according to the complete ELM Trends report but the increases are “higher in eastern cities and states than other parts of the country.”

2. Some practice rates rise faster than others.  Corporate, IP (trademark and patent), Regulatory & Compliance are among several practice areas where median partner rate growth is more than 3.5%.

3. Legal departments continue consolidating law firms.  Law departments continue to consolidate the number of law firms used.  This has been a consistent trend in the previous two ELM trend reports:

4. AFAs remain steady.  Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) “utilization remains steady” according to the report; on average AFAs account for 10-12% of matters and about 7% of billings. Interestingly, AFA usage in IP Trademark work has ticked up.

Enterprise Legal Management Trends Webinar

If you’d like more information on the ELM Trends report, please join us for a free webinar that will elaborate on where law firm rates are headed, what the law firm consolidation trend means, the state of alternative fee arrangement (AFA) utilization among other points.

Complete ELM Scorecard Graphic

Here’s the complete ELM scorecard graphic.

click here to enlarge this graphic

Enterprise Legal Management Trends Webinar-small 

Related content from previous ELM Trend Reports:
ELM Trends:  Corporate Legal Continues Law Firm Consolidation
What are the Going Law Firm Rates by Practice Area?
Infographic Friday: Law Firm M&A Billings Nearly Double
ELM Trends Report: Turning Information Into Action
9 Must Read Reactions to the ELM Trends Report 

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.

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  1. […] used AFA’s to control costs. In 2015, that number was down but was still at 60%. Yet, the most recent data I could find puts AFA’s at just 7% of total corporate legal spend. The talk around AFA’s […]