Why are lawyers less enthusiastic when negotiating fees?
Negotiating fees can be a challenge for lawyers mainly because they prefer to focus on the law. The case or matter itself interests them and they want to get stuck in. The commercial part of being a lawyer is necessary but not the reason why most lawyers become lawyers. So discussing fees, never mind negotiating them, is not where they want to spend their time.
The other key aspect is that some lawyers do not know precisely how and when to agree fees.
The challenge for the firm is that recovery is directly impacted by successful agreement of fees at the start of a matter and, sometimes more importantly, during the piece of work.
ITD's approach to helping lawyers when negotiating fees
Our approach gives lawyers a clear framework on when to agree fees, how to negotiate and what a successful approach looks like. And this is tailored to the needs of the individual lawyer and practice area. Fee structures for Commercial and Property practice areas can be very different to those for Clinical Negligence, and different again to Immigration lawyers, or Criminal.
So our training gives lawyers a set of tools to use straight away. Exactly how they apply them is part of the action planning part of the workshop, where we use our behavioural change tool to create a realistic plan.
Objectives of this negotiating fees training
The specific objectives for the negotiating fees workshop are tailored to the needs of the lawyers and the firm, but from experience will probably include:
Like all soft skills training for lawyers the challenge is to get them to participate for long enough. For that reason we tailor the timing of this session to give the following options:
Concepts used in our negotiating fees training
The DRIVE methodology to negotiating fees
The DRIVE methodology gives a framework for how to plan, prepare and manage your negotiations.
The impact of personality on negotiating fees
The ITD personality model gives a simple framework on how to understand ourselves and others.
The precise agenda really depends on the objectives you have for the training. The following gives a menu of options to pick from. And there may also be other areas no mentioned below which you would like to add.
Prior to the training it is very useful to talk with your finance people to establish goals for recovery and the kind of behavioural changes the firm would like to see.
It is also key to make a decision on whether the participants should be grouped by practice area. This is because there can be significant differences in negotiating between practice areas.
Follow up support
We send each participant an email summarising their actions for implementation.
We also offer one to one discussions, or coaching.
The outcomes of this session are typically: