Pricing Different Practices, Differently

An on demand webinar that examines approaching different practice areas as entirely different business units within the firm


  • 31 December, 2018
  • 09:00 - 09:00

Additional taxes may be applicable


We hope you will join us for this one-hour on demand web-based discussion, as we discuss and evaluate:

  • How we can view our respective practices differently, to help us recognize the inherent opportunities relative to each individual business unit (i.e. area of practice)
  • Which client relationships are most rewarding to the firm? Those that are long-term and predictable, or those that are short-term but command premium prices? Or is it both?
  • What we can learn from other industries
  • What the market is telling us with respect to price   
  • The risks of uniform image and pricing
  • The risks of separate profit centers becoming counterproductive silos

Full Description

Can law firms view different practice groups as completely different business units and price matters and compensate attorneys relative to the business unit they work for? Can different practices have different profitability models—and can compensation design be customized for each? And how can law firms maintain a cooperative culture and avoid a silo mentality if they are essentially treating each practice group as a unique business unit, and playing by its own set of rules?

Successful conglomerates (Proctor & Gamble, Marriott, hundreds more) recognize that different products and services need to be managed and marketed in very distinct ways.

Can law firms do the same?

Have we reached a point where one size can’t and shouldn’t fit all?

Clients value different legal services in different ways.  Regulatory counseling and compliance, for example, require continuity of lawyers, systematic monitoring of the law, high ethical standards and constant interactions with regulators.  Cost for this type of housekeeping work is an important factor. For bet-the-company litigation, on the other hand, cost is secondary to the client’s monetary and reputational risks and the litigation team’s track record.  The client relationship, however, is finite and often one-time.

Internally, this means different practices require different profitability models.  For some, the sustainability of long-term relationships is critical.  Often, reducing cost to the client may increase both market share and profitability, yet most law firm models miss these points entirely.  Different practices likewise may need very different staffing models.  Some practices provide the best output and are the most profitable with nearly all partners.  Others, however, may function best with large numbers of associates, paralegals and contract attorneys.

Compensation also may need to be more customized.  As practice groups and firms move back to fixed prices, contingency portfolios and the like, hours and hourly rates may have little if any useful relationship with compensation.  Rather, compensation turns on the practice group’s profitability, combined with a share in the firm’s overall profitability.  This also means lawyers in various practice groups may need to adjust their income expectations in light of competition, market conditions and ceilings on what clients are willing to pay.

Top industry speakers

Michael Roster

2001 Chairman, ACC Board; former General Counsel, Golden West Financial and Stanford University; former Managing Partner of Morrison & Foerster, Los Angeles 

Don Lents

Don Lents serves as Senior Partner & Chair Emeritus of Bryan Cave. His practice focuses on corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities law and general corporate matters with particular emphasis upon responsibilities of boards of directors, multinational and domestic mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, anti-takeover planning, and related matters. He is co-author of a treatise on Missouri Corporation Law and Practice and of articles on various corporate law issues. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School.  

Stephen Pike

A partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office, Stephen A. Pike is a senior legal adviser to global and Canadian businesses, primarily in the retail, consumer products and consumer services sectors.  Stephen provides advice on corporate governance, CSR, transactional, operational, investment and risk management issues, including M&A, supply chain, regulatory compliance, financing, product distribution, logistics, advertising and marketing, licensing, manufacturing, and corporate law matters.

Patrick J. McKenna

Internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms, Patrick has the honor of working with at least one of the largest firms in over a dozen different countries.  He is the author of eight books most notably his international business best seller, First Among Equals, currently in its seventh printing and translated into nine languages.  His most recent work, The Changing of the Guard, Second Edition (Ark Group, 2017), provides in-depth guidance on the leadership selection process in professional firms.  Patrick’s three decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: Innovations In Legal Consulting (2011).  One example of that innovation was his launching the first instructional program designed to specifically address the issues that new firm leaders of larger firms face in their First 100 Days – which has thus far graduated over 80 new leaders many from AmLaw 100 and 200-sized law firms.  Patrick serves as Contributing Editor to Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report based in New York City; is the recipient of an “Honorary Fellowship” from Leaders Excellence of Harvard Square; was voted by the readers of Legal Business World as one of only seven international Thought Leaders (2017); and is founding member of the Legal Institute For Forward Thinking a legal think-tank comprised of leading academics and consultants from three countries.

You may also be interested in...

Think about reading...