If you can’t roll-back billing rates, at least freeze them

“Deflationary billing” – a term to hearten general counsel – means hourly billing rates of law firms decline. A pipe dream, perhaps, because hourly rates are a powerful signaling device for law firms (See my post of Jan. 2, 2009: discounts might be granted obliquely; and Feb. 17, 2008: quality signaled by high prices.).

Meanwhile, since charge-out rates are sticky, at least push to have your favored law firms hold the line on future rate increases (See my post of Nov. 24, 2005: freeze rate increases; April 26, 2006: warm up to the idea of not freezing billing rates; March 11, 2007: rate freezes work like discounts; May 21, 2007: a funding alternative for disbursements; July 29, 2007: economist’s term of “rent”; Oct. 26, 2007: frozen rates asked for in RFPs; Dec. 17, 2007: freeze rates for the duration of a matter and effects on team size; and April 8, 2008: rate freeze might be better than discounts.).

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