Law firms are hiring again but the new hires for many BigLaw offices aren't only new associates. What most firms are looking for is a pricing director.
If you don't recognize the title, you aren't alone. Pricing directors are a new thing for many firms that are realizing the need for better billing analytics. The pressure to cut costs and justify high fees isn't going anywhere so this new executive position is meant to directly address that.
A pricing director's job is to determine how to price the services a law firm provides, but how will that affect your day-to-day work?
Just like other businesses, law firm pricing should balance the goal of maximizing profit while maintaining a customer-friendly price.
One of the most powerful ways to figure out appropriate pricing models is through data analysis. Pricing directors look for patterns in productivity, client satisfaction, and other factors that give insight on how much clients are willing to pay.
That information provides a picture of how a firm can appropriately balance revenue and pricing. It may also move the focus from 'hours worked' to 'amount of repeat business.'
One of the big changes a pricing director could bring for law firms is a shift away from the billable hour, according to the ABA Journal.
While lawyers resist alternative fee models, in some cases they may be the best pricing scheme for a job. Firms that are flexible enough to account for that may do better in the long run.
All this fat-trimming may sound intimidating but in reality it's not so much a business overhaul as a change in focus. The goal is still to provide a high quality service for clients.
A pricing director will likely help associates focus on what data is important and how to look at it critically. Their job doesn't usually include evaluating employee efficiency
While a pricing director could be important for firm bottom lines, there's no need to panic that it's really code for downsizing. These new executives will hopefully help maximize profits in an industry that's still struggling. That's good news for all employees.
- Alternative Fee Arrangements Key to Client Satisfaction? (FindLaw's Eighth Circuit Blog)
- Lawyer's $2,500 Minimum Fee Earns Him 30-Day Suspension (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Partners and Senior Counsel Are Billing an Average of $661 Per Hour (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)