Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

Issue link: https://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1463380

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9 I L T A N E T . O R G Law Firm Pricing and Project Management Professionals Leveraging Pandemic-induced Changes to Drive Meaning ful, Lasting Change in an Essential, Growing Industry F or the last 14 years, the Blickstein Group has closely charted the expanding role and influence of law department operations professionals with the Annual Law Department Operations Survey. And since 2020, it has collaborated with Legal Value Network on the Survey of Legal Pricing & Project Management to deliver a new perspective with a parallel survey and report to offer a detailed look at legal pricing and project management professionals (LPPMs) at major U.S. law firms to provide an exclusive look at their perspectives as compared to—and their relationships with—those in parallel roles at corporate law departments (LDOs). The survey results show the coronavirus pandemic has inexorably accelerated change for LPPMs—as evidenced by the fact that 61% agree that "my job is primarily change management," down from almost 75% last year—creating an opening to reorient their focus from constantly trying to sell the importance of change to implementing the structures and tools needed to effectuate it. As we saw last year in the inaugural report, these two groups deal with many of the same challenges but from opposite sides of the table. Some of their perspectives are at odds, demonstrating their distinct goals and interests, while others are closely aligned, reflecting the similarity of their work. But while some aspects of this year's survey echo previous findings, this year's survey results show that the industry is at a crucial moment in which legal pricing and project management professionals can leverage pandemic-induced changes into refocusing from trying to sell the importance of change to implementing the structures and tools needed to effectuate it. Long known for their aversion to embracing change and technology, lawyers in both law firms and corporate law departments were forced to change quickly during the pandemic, with many surprisingly effective results. As evidence of this trend, 64% of LPPM survey respondents stated that their ability to serve their clients' needs in a timely and effective manner had increased despite tremendous disruption. Firms responded in part by adopting and integrating new technologies, with 78% of LPPMs reporting that the pandemic had sped up their use of technology. Other trends uncovered in the report include: • 21% of law firms still do not use profitability metrics to inform their pricing decisions. • A majority of LPPMs report that their clients do not provide feedback about how well they are performing. • We are starting to see some alternative fee arrangement (AFA) fatigue—and that might not be a bad thing. • There continues to be a disconnect between law firms and clients regarding innovation, with an increasing number of LPPMs who don't believe that their clients want them to innovate. The survey was produced in collaboration with Intapp, which provides connected firm management solutions to create the digital backbone that transforms law firms' businesses, and also unwritten by Validity Finance and LexFusion. D O W N L O A D R E P O R T »

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