Articles Posted in Overstaffing by Law Firms

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The Point

When should your business pay the exorbitant prices of a major law firm?

When you need the full attention of the best attorney available for the task presented.

But something else is happening.

The data say that in 2022 corporate clients were paying proportionately more for the total hours of junior lawyers, and getting less attention from their most proficient, experienced colleagues.

How did that happen? The data indicate that law firms “mitigated individual attorney rate increases by adjusting staff mix.” What does that even mean? Apparently it means the appearance of cost control on law firm charges by making less use of higher capability (higher priced) partners, while making more use of lower capability (lower priced) associates. Continue reading

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The Point

From the tenth consecutive year of LexisNexis CounselLinkĀ® 2023 Trends Report: In-depth Perspective on Rising Outside Counsel Billing Rates:

1. Law firm lawyer and paralegal (“timekeeper”) rates increased in 2022 at the highest levels since CounselLink first produced the Trends Report, in 2013, with the average partner rate increasing 4.5% (relative to 3.4% last year and 3.5% the year before).

2. These record-high average rates of hourly rate increases were higher than in the previous year “in all tiers of law firms and in all practice areas“.

3. Keeping track of the proliferation of lawyers that outside counsel assign to a matter is a big challenge in managing outside counsel — the finding: “High numbers of billers are performing minimal work on matters.”

4. Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs / capped charges with related terms on success fees, etc.), if they were used, would be the chief antidote to the prevailing billable hour: but only an average of 12.4% of matters made use of AFAs last year. No growth from previous years. Continue reading

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