This useful article by David Ruiz highlights a trend, the growing use of pricing professionals by both BigLaw and large in-house legal departments.
This trend is very welcome. After a break of 23 years I did a stint in BigLaw 2011-2013 and found very little had changed. At that time, as far as I could discern, partners were still using their memories and "gut feel" to price projects in the time honoured tradition; something that can only be hit and miss.
Properly arrived at pricing reviewed by specialists in-house, and negotiated with the benefit of such data, could go some way to meeting in-house lawyers' needs to control costs.
The use of these specialists won't, of course, tackle one of the other issues that leads to high BigLaw fees: that of the substantial overheads.
The arrival of pricing managers at large law firms has armed them with detailed metrics on all the pieces that go into their cost structure and potential profit pie. Now, .........some clients are asking firms to hand over that info. In-house lawyers are demanding more frequently that their outside counsel be able to prove their costs, and they no longer want to lean on a law firm partner's personal memory for justification. They want numbers, metrics, charts and averages. They're......experimenting with subjecting firms to quarterly business reviews.......................... firms have been adding pricing specialists to help set fees. Sometimes they're called directors of pricing; sometimes they're pricing analysts or managers........................ giving law firms more pricing power by allowing them to better calculate their real costs—derived from collecting reams of internal data—in preparing bids for alternative fees as well as hourly matters.