In November 2020, we held the fifth in our series of webinars around pricing, LPM, profitability and the use of technology in law firms. This installment saw our usual panelists; Mark Medice of Law Vision and Pieter van der Hoeven of Clocktimizer; joined by Barry Honea, the Chief Financial Officer of Locke Lord.
In light of the increasing challenges facing the legal industry, from the impact of COVID to changing risk sharing arrangements with clients, we focused on pricing strategies for 2021. Our panelists shared their tips for setting it up, how to invest in technology to support good pricing choices, and best practices. For those unable to attend, we’ve put together a quick wrap-up with all their best advice. Find our video recording of the webinar here.
We kicked off our webinar with a poll, focusing on the impact of the pandemic on firm strategy. The results were a solid indication that longer term strategy is still relatively static, even with the pandemic as a driver.
43% of attendees shared that they are now back on track to continue with their pre-COVID strategy. A further 25% were more focused on profitability. For our panelists, this indicated a number of things. Having spoken to C-Suite executives before the webinar, Pieter shared that most had experienced change fatigue. The push to implement more and more new things as a result of COVID, meant many were happy to return to the firm’s original direction as soon as possible.
For Barry, it also reflected the success of many firms’ adaptation to the challenges of working from home. IT departments have been able to roll out software solutions to the challenges so effectively that it has allowed much of business to return to usual. Importantly, working from home has also enabled his firm to focus on better data sharing practices. Because it is no longer feasible to sit next to other executives and explain numbers on spreadsheets, Locke Lord has invested in an Executive Information System. This will deliver essential insights like the difference in time spent on matters pre-pandemic and now.
Finally, Mark noted that one of the key things the pandemic has done is realign IT project expectations. Firms have managed to implement new technologies firm wide in two weeks, which would have been planned for delivery over two years, pre-COVID. Clearly, where technology is designed to be easy to implement (like Zoom, Slack or Clocktimizer) it is realistic for these projects to be up and running in weeks, not years.
For Locke Lord, setting pricing strategies in 2021 will be about how they share data with their attorneys, to enable them to make the best decisions. They will do this in a number of key ways:
The second of our webinar polls looked to the future. We asked what firms are prioritising among pricing strategies for 2021.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of firms (65%) shared that their focus was on multiple projects. This was unsurprising for our panelists, however they were able to share some light on the interrelated nature of these goals.
For Pieter, who spoke to a C-Suite executive about this very problem before the webinar, the key here is identifying the cost of production. If you can effectively identify what the costs associated with a matter actually are, then you can price accordingly. Barry agreed, taking the point further. Many firms will already have some idea of their cost of production, but it can always be more sophisticated. For that firms need to look into granular activity data.
In the wrap up to our session, our panelists shared a number of key ways to ensure your firm can set an effective strategy for 2021.