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Pricing innovation | Canadian Lawyer

For some years, I have used the analogy of building a house as to the fallacy of not providing a budget/estimate of the cost, passing along efficiencies and fixed-fee certainty over the hourly rate. However, Headon provided me with an analogy that provided even greater clarity as to the need for innovation in both pricing and delivery of legal services.

“We billed airline tickets as much as 12 months in advance. We didn’t know if there were going to be headwinds, snowstorms, the price of fuel, but we’re not going to land the plane and have the pilot say, ‘Well, you know, that took a little longer, so we incurred some more employee costs. Could you all give us your credit card?’ Similarly, we don’t get to use antiquated technology and tell our passengers ‘Well, that’s a little harder, so, we are going to charge you a little more for it.’”

My sense is that there is a growing degree of frustration with the lack of substantive initiatives being undertaken by law firms; likely, it is fortunate that they currently compete with other law firms. McCaskill describes a too frequent discussion that often goes like this: “We are open to anything. What would you suggest?” And I always say, “Look, it’s not for me to tell you how to organize your firm or deliver a legal service. That is for you guys to think about. You know, I’m really transparent with, you know, about what I need. Now, it seems to me it’s up to you guys to figure out how you’re going to respond to that need.”

While alternative providers may never totally unseat the larger firms, they are seen to be an increasingly viable provider of legal services more in tune with the needs of clients.

Lest you get the wrong impression of the tenor of our conversation, they all had examples of a firm developing and initiating an innovative approach to both the delivery and pricing of their services. Emily Jelich provided an excellent example of where not only did a firm create a win-win situation but a side benefit to the client resulted from its approach.

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Pricing innovation.

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