The cost advantages of sending work to so-called regional law firms can be startling. The ACC/Serengeti Managing Outside Counsel Survey found that the average hourly rates (after discounts) paid by the ACC members for work performed by partners/associates handling litigation range from a low of $228/$201 in Denver to a high of $523/$316 in Washington, DC. Thus, the partner rates were almost one-half and the associate rates were one-third in the regional firms of Denver (See my post of April 8, 2008: definition of regional law firms not in the rim.).
The data comes from the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, April 2009 at 18. This single comparison, if representative of similar rate gaps between regional firms and metro powerhouses, teaches that all the swingeing discounts in the world don’t match the savings of using a firm that bills at much lower rates. It also teaches that rate differentials are larger for partners than for associates. Finally, at least according to this example, we learn that the Big Apple has no monopoly on the worm of high charge-out rates.