American Lawyer reports on legal cost predictability

The American Lawyer recently ran an article about personnel movement at a large Chicago-based law firm.  What’s particularly interesting to us is not necessarily the overall content of the article but, rather, its focus.  Ordinarily, we might have expected to see an article that begins talking about staff reductions to stay on staff reductions.  Instead, the article turns to and does a deep dive into legal cost predictability and efforts by at least two firms to engage their clients in project-based staffing and alternative fee structures.  This sort of growing legal media attention to what we at GordonLaw LLP believe is the inevitable demise of unpredictable hourly billing reflects a growing frustration in the client community with the inability to budget and plan for legal expenses.  What will be really interesting to see is whether Big Law can adjust to that new reality while maintaining current staffing and overhead models (lots of staff, lots of fancy conference room space, lots of individual offices) or whether they need to re-tool in pretty drastic ways.  And if they need to re-tool, can they do that and stay Big.  Stay tuned.

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