Background

Our client is one of the top tier legal providers in Asia with a strong reputation for quality and superior client service. The firm’s Executive had made profitability one the key building blocks for the firm’s continued growth and was looking for a way to help drive this discipline within the firm. Although the firm’s services were in high demand and profitability was strong relative to others in the market, the Executive team believed it could be much higher.

To help the firm achieve more profitable growth, it was agreed to form a dedicated pricing function within the firm to enable quicker and more consistent growth. The creation of the proposed pricing function was also going to provide first mover advantage within their respective legal market.

Positive Pricing was asked to provide consulting support to help define and develop the firm’s newly pricing capability, help them accelerate the implementation of a pricing function within the firm as soon as practical, and to provide ongoing coaching to the pricing team once in place.

Positive Pricing Approach

Working alongside the newly appointed Pricing Director over a period of nine months, the focus was on those activities required for the successful launch and early stages of pricing function operations, namely to ‘establish’ and then ‘embed’ the pricing function within the fabric of the firm.

Specifically, this involved (but was not limited to) the following:

  • the review and feedback of existing pricing procedures, tools, and analysis (either at a practice group, office or client level), with suggestions for enhancement
  • the review and refinement of pricing governance approaches
  • the development of a high-level functional roadmap, with key priorities and measurement criteria defined for the first 6 – 12 months of operation

In parallel, we also conducted a structured series of weekly hourly coaching calls with key members of the pricing team, with a specific pricing theme or concept being addressed each month (for example, conducting more effective client fee negotiations or developing and managing estimates) in addition to supporting ‘ad hoc’ queries as and when those arose.

Key Findings & Results

The key findings from our review were:

  • Rather than one firm-wide function providing a consistent level of pricing support and expertise across the organization, pricing was conducted by individual partners for their clients.
  •  There was a strong reliance on adopting standard rates as the basis of pricing, with limited awareness of, and confidence in applying, other pricing approaches which were still not widely adopted within the local legal market.
  • There was still limited understanding across the wider partnership how best to drive profitable growth, and what partners could do at an individual client or matter level to positively influence this.
  • There was a tendency to ‘rush to discount’ or ‘write-off’ fees if there was scope creep on the matter by many partners despite being one of the premier firms in their market and having a very strong client value proposition.

A key focus of the regular coaching calls was therefore on providing ‘bite-sized’ pragmatic approaches and techniques which could be readily implemented by client teams to improve overall commercial performance.

  • Although still at a relatively early stage of pricing maturity when compared to other professional service firms, the firm has been able to ‘fast track’ many pricing initiatives and has already achieved a number of key successes.
  • Pricing governance has improved significantly throughout the matter lifecycle – at matter intake, initial matter budgeting and matter delivery, with governance approaches tailored where appropriate based on practice area and sector.
  • A number of pricing and budgeting tools have been successfully developed and implemented across the firm, providing greater rigor and client team accountability to matter budgets.
  • There is now much greater organizational awareness and focus on matter profitability, in proactively engaging the Firm’s growing pricing team, adopting more appropriate commercial approaches across their client base, and in client teams’ becoming more commercially confident in their approach.

Each initiative continues to deliver a significant positive impact to matter realization, matter profitability and, ultimately, client satisfaction.

Talk To Us
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The Pricing Masterclass provided practical strategies to help us win work, analyse pricing risks, and promote value internally and externally. It presents all sides of the equation: clients, partners, back office, and more. We immediately capitalised on what we learned. Thanks for a fantastic and interactive workshop.

Peter Lane Secor
Director of Strategic Pricing and Project Management
Pepper Hamilton, Boston

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