Practical Innovations in Legal Pricing

A comprehensive overview of the best practices in innovative pricing functions, ​offering insight into newest effective approaches to pricing that top firms are undertaking. 

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  • Publication date: July, 2017
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-292-1


The pricing of legal services is no longer simply about setting rates. Properly optimizing a firm’s pricing strategy is a critical source of competitive advantage and increased profitability, which now more than ever is crucial to staying relevant in the legal sector.

Firms must start looking to demonstrate their ability to provide clients with greater value through alternative fee arrangements, effectively controlled budgeting methods, and the integration of innovative firm management practices – whilst continuing to operate as a profitable business. Standard business principles have become the norm for firms – as clients become increasingly proficient in negotiating costs and defining the scope of engagement, service delivery must now be framed by value, expertise, and profitability rather than hours billed alone.

With contributions from pricing directors and expert consultants, Practical Innovations in Legal Pricing offers insight into newest effective approaches to pricing that top firms are undertaking. Taking an in-depth look at the role of shadow-billing and client collaboration in AFAs, integrating a firm’s legal project management and pricing functions for greater client benefits, and effectively executing a newly formed pricing strategy, this title will provide a comprehensive overview of the best practices in innovative pricing functions.


Executive summary

About the authors

Chapter 1: The roles and responsibilities of the pricing director

  • The fee conversation role
  • The budget building role
  • The profi t modeling role 
  • The counseling role 
  • The approval role 
  • The biggest caution – Client expectation setting
  • The knowledge role 
  • So many roles 

Chapter 2: Executing on a pricing strategy – Critical challenges and lessons learned

  • Policies don’t get the job done
  • Effective pricing requires making an organizational commitment
  • How do we mature our pricing effectiveness?

Chapter 3: Pricing and salivating dogs 

  • Rewarding poor behavior
  • Getting the right behavior
  • Re-engineering the meritocracy structure

Chapter 4: It’s all about expertise and outcomes 31

  • Why outcomes matter
  • Knowing what to do
  • Litigation
  • Workplace disputes and compliance
  • Mergers and other corporate transactions
  • Corporate housekeeping
  • Regulatory compliance 
  • Unexpected opportunities 
  • Ask the client 
  • Run parallel systems 

Chapter 5: Designing an objective-oriented fee arrangement 

  • Before designing the fee arrangement 
  • Designing the fee arrangement 
  • Law department perspective 
  • Law fi rm perspective 

Chapter 6: Integration of the pricing and LPM functions 47

  • Objectives 
  • Sequencing of steps 
  • Differences and synergies 
  • Integrating pricing and LPM

Chapter 7: Pricing legal work is a two-way street 

  • Market disruptions drive change… sometimes 
  • Lower cost ineffi ciency is still ineffi ciency 
  • What we really need is continuous improvement 
  • Collaborative pricing 
  • Getting there from here 
  • Next steps for law departments 
  • Next steps for law firms 

Chapter 8: Innovative pricing – The gap between clients’ expectations and law fi rms’ delivery 

  • Innovative pricing approaches 
  • What is innovation? 
  • What does constitute innovative pricing and how do we achieve it? 
  • Solutions 
  • Scoping work 
  • Where next for innovative client relationships 

Chapter 9: Componentized budgets for cost benefit analysis 

  • What is componentized pricing?
  • Collecting componentized data 
  • Using componentized data 

Chapter 10: Neurogenetics of pricing – Why fee discounts destroy client loyalty 

  • Decision-making process 
  • Role of relationships 
  • Power of attachment
  • Discounting attachment 
  • Neurogenetics of value
  • Neurogenetics purchase 
  • Creating valuable client relationships 
Full Overview


Timothy B. Corcoran
Tim Corcoran is a former CEO who now guides law firm and law department leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models. Tim is a trustee and fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, former president of the Legal Marketing Association and a member of its Hall of Fame, an American Lawyer Fellow, a frequent presenter at lawyer retreats and legal conferences, and a writer whose articles are published regularly in leading publications. He also authors the widely read Corcoran’s Business of Law blog.
Richard Burcher
Richard Burcher is a former 30-year practicing lawyer, public notary, and managing partner, and a member of the only global specialist pricing organization, the Professional Pricing Society (USA). He is now Managing Director of Validatum®, a UK-based international legal services pricing consultancy, providing pricing consultancy advice and implementation services to the legal profession. Richard’s work on pricing legal services has been extensively published in numerous national and international publications.
Peter Lane Secor
Peter Lane Secor is the director of strategic pricing and project management with Pepper Hamilton LLP. Mr. Secor concentrates on legal project management with a focus on improving effi ciencies through shared management responsibilities, strengthening communication and making value transparent. His expertise includes client/matter profi t analysis and providing partners with performance evaluations from a fi nancial perspective.
Michael Roster
Michael Roster was formerly managing partner of Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office, co-chair of the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group worldwide, and a member of the firm’s policy committee. In 1993, Mike was appointed general counsel of Stanford University, Stanford Medical Center, and Stanford Management Company. He was subsequently executive vice president and general counsel of Golden West Financial Corporation. Mike has also served as chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel, as outside director and vice chair of Silicon Valley Bank, chair of the Stanford Alumni Association, steering committee co-chair of ACC’s Value Challenge, and chair of two start-up companies. He currently teaches Contract Drafting and Analysis at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and is a director of MDRC in New York, a nonprofit organization that evaluates the effectiveness of government and other programs affecting lower- and moderate-income families and individuals.
Danny Ertel
Danny Ertel is a founding partner of Vantage Partners LLC, a spin-off of the Harvard Negotiation Project, where his practice focuses on helping organizations negotiate, manage, and (when necessary) remediate their most important commercial relationships. Danny has written four books, the latest of which is The Point of the Deal: How to Negotiate when Implementation Matters. Danny was previously a partner at Conflict Management, Inc., a senior researcher at the Harvard Negotiation Project, an attorney with Debevois & Plimpton, and a clerk to the Hon. Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the US Supreme Court.
Vincent Cordo
Global sourcing officer at Shell
Andreea Axani
Manager of pricing strategy at Gowling WLG
Steven A Lauer
Steven A Lauer is principal of Lauer & Associates and consults with law departments and law firms on the value of legal services.

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