Peer to Peer Magazine

Spring 2015

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 48 of 75

PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 50 FEATURES SCOPING THE ROLE One of the biggest challenges when trying to define a pricing role, and therefore the skills needed to successfully fulfill it, is the scope. In many organizations, there is often a difference between what the role of pricing is stated to be and what it actually is. The scope could range from providing guidance and financial analysis to developing training and skills development programs to assist in the adoption of appropriate pricing techniques. It can also include negotiation (although this is less common) both with the client and in training negotiation skills to fee earners. Adding legal project management elements quickly makes the scope of this role hard to manage if not controlled from the outset. the fear of not doing something your competitors are), a more rational and likely reason is the recognition that pricing is not merely a mindless administrative function but one which requires an element of skill. But there's another reason, summed up by Richard Burcher in one of his blog posts: Pricing, he says, is "a skill most lawyers don't possess." John Frisch, chairman and CEO of Miles and Stockbridge, observed in a 2013 ALM survey on pricing: "We find that many lawyers didn't have the aptitude or, frankly, the interest to dig deep enough into the data that would let them make appropriate pricing decisions." Add into this mix the effect (or lack) of negotiation expertise, and the rationale becomes even stronger. Over the last few years, hiring levels within law firms have been relatively flat, and there has been a general overcapacity within the legal marketplace. Recent practice management roles, such as pricing directors, client value managers and dedicated legal project managers, now vie for attention alongside more traditional business development and marketing roles. In 2008, there were a handful of people in legal pricing-related positions; today there are upward of 100 in the United States alone. There are few roles in law firms growing as quickly as that of the pricing officer, but what skills and qualifications are required? WHAT'S DRIVING THE CHANGE? While part of the increasing popularity of this role could be "me too-ism" (i.e.,

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