So, you submit your e-bills each month, not that you have much of a choice these days. There was always an implied benefit that since the client received the bills electronically that payment would be made sooner, never happened. In the Law Department Survey Results-Analysis, Jane A. Bennitt reported that 69% of clients implemented a “float” as a way to delay payment to firms. (2008 Ebilling ILTA White Paper available here)
Now we have the survey conducted by CT Tymetrix Inc., a company that audits law firm bills attempting to reduce legal costs, and The Corporate Executive Board Co., a company that provides research and benchmarks. This study was based on e-bills sent through the CT TyMetrix system by private law firms and was conducted from 2007 – 2009, in a major down economic cycle.
Survey Highlights (lowlights) include:
- 85 percent of attorneys charge clients different rates for the same work
- During the study Rates were up 21% in Dallas, Atlanta and Richmond
- Things Corporations buy went up over 40% in the last 10 years, an hour of legal time went up 65%
- Associate costs rose 17% between 2007 and 2009
The Bottom Line
Law firms will not be well served by reports showing statistics like those above. This isn’t to say that the numbers aren’t correct; it’s just how the statistics will be used. Keep in mind that every time you send your e-bills though an audit service you take the risk of having the “chunked-up” statistics both published and used to help further put your rates under pressure. Not that you have much of a choice!
Don’t you just love e-billing, let me count the ways …….
Disclosure: I have not purchased the 92 page $4,500 The 2010 Real Rate Report™. The web site indicates that law firms agreed to allow their data to be used for this study once it was “cleansed”.