Top Takeaways from Sandpiper’s Managing Law Firm Profitability, Pricing and Data Analytics Conference, London

Last week, law firm leaders across the UK joined in for an afternoon of thought-provoking discussions at the Sandpiper Partner’s Managing Law Firm Profitability, Pricing and Data Analytics Conference, Chaired by Andrew Darwin, Global Co-Chairman and Senior Partner at DLA Piper, the main themes discussed in the different panel sessions include:
  • The debate between the role of technology in law firms being a radical shift or a step change in process improvement for the modern law firm
  • Creating a space for ‘Engineered Serendipity’. How can firms create and foster genuine and long-lasting relationships with clients and colleagues in a virtual environment?
  • Is the billable hour here to stay? How are firms protecting and managing their commercial profitability and meeting client expectations?
  • The growth in demand, especially from clients, for firms to generate and share law firm Equity, Diversity and Inclusion data and the challenges in collecting it

Sam Elrazek, Head of Product for Pricing & Profitability at BigHand was invited as a panellist on the session about using data to manage and maintain commercial law firm profitability in a pandemic and post-COVID era. 

Sam shares his thoughts from the session:

“In my panel session, the discussions centred around alternative pricing models for law firms, and the somewhat unsurprising consensus was that the billable hour is here to stay.”

“There isn’t one model available today to revolutionise the legal industry. For law firms, the priority is to do the work as profitably as possible. And there is a genuine expectation from clients’ that a certain level of sophistication is expected when pricing matters, and this could be the differentiating factor in winning a bid.”

“The panel also discussed how law firms can use the vast amount of data that they have in their various legal systems, not only to improve operational efficiencies, but also to add value to their client engagements. The challenge is how to surface different departments data across the firm into a central view. It’s time-consuming to cross-check the information available and make sense of it efficiently, which is why it’s important for law firms to have a single source of the truth to ensure reliability.”

“Though AI was mentioned in the panel, my view is that there is still a lot of work for firms to collect and cleanse the right data in order to  optimise AI. More importantly, firms should leverage technology to surface valuable data that is relevant to each role within a firm. If management, lawyers and pricing teams can all access reliable and relevant data to them, the pay-off will be more informed decision making across the firm, less write-offs, better recovery and increased matter profitability.

“The themes of hybrid working models and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion were intertwined in all panel sessions, and it’s very apparent that law firm leaders are thinking and strategising their next moves with these points in mind. The panellists shared their views on the dynamics of a hybrid workplace, and the impact of law firm remote working on client fee expectations, now that lawyers physical location is less important than before.”

“It’s safe to say that this is a must-watch space and it’s important to keep a close eye on how training and development, recruitment draws and firm culture will be affected in a post-pandemic world.”

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