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Scribd Friday: State of Legal Pricing

State of Legal Pricing

Each week we scan the web for one piece of content to share with the legal community for a series we call the Friday Share. We’ve posted infographics, presentations from SlideShare and this week, we’re adding a share from Scirbd:  The State of Legal Pricing 2013 by Toby Brown.

Published last year, Mr. Brown states legal pricing is “absolutely chaotic” and this paper is an effort to step back and consider the issue from a “higher vantage point.”  He sets that stage by pointing out three challenges with law firm pricing:

1. Variance.  Service levels and pricing vary from firm to firm.  “From the highly complex to the mundane, prices vary to a significant degree,” he writes.

2. Complexity.  Legal work, especially litigation is complex.  He notes “…a client does not buy one deposition, two filings, and a side of legal research.” There is tremendous difficulty with “standard pricing” because for example, deposing middle management requires very different preparation than deposing a C-Suite executive.

3. Standardization.  In a discussion of price codes, Mr. Brown’s point is the legal industry is not standardized. “As a market we haven’t even determined standard case types at this point.”

Legal Pricing Trends Explored

At the time of this writing, the Scribd analytics indicate the paper has earned 1,000 readers, though it deserves much more (indeed it probably has more from a blog series: SOLP – Part 1; SOLP – Part 2; SOLP – Part 3; SOLP – Part 4).  The document on Scribd pieces together the entire concept in an eight page paper which is a quick read, and takes readers through a compelling journey across a range of trends in legal pricing including:

It’s worth noting that Mr. Brown doesn’t provide a solution – clearly the challenges are more complex than magic. Rather, he’s facilitating a pragmatic discussion in the legal industry and concludes:

While the current state of legal pricing is definitely chaotic, chaos is either a trial to be endured and overcome by individuals, or an opportunity for a community to rebuild their world as it should be. I choose to believe the latter and I hope this paper might be the first step toward understanding and eventually taming the chaos of legal pricing.

The State of Legal Pricing 2013 – by Toby Brown by Ryan McClead

Photo credit:  Flickr via Creative Commons; CC 2.0

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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.