Any training needs to be practical, but fee negotiation training has particular needs. Negotiating fees is a delicate matter for many lawyers, because they are far more comfortable talking and working on legal matters.
The discussion of their fees is something most would rather be handled by someone else, or just put in a letter of engagement, and preferably not discussed at all.
This means that training needs to be practixal in the sense that it needs to help lawyers not only with the tips and strategies of negotiating, but also the practical behavioural issues. That is, how do we say this and will I feel comfortable doing this.
ITD’s approach starts with the time to start discussing fees. The longer we leave a discussion the ppotentially harder it gets to discuss. It’s as bit like any procrastination. The first ITD tip is to start discussing fees at the very beginning. That means as part of the agenda of a first meeting. Putting fees on the agenda demonstrates to the client that you are confident about fees.
How fees are introduced at the first meeting is also crucial. We might start with, “We need to discuss fees, how they are structured, the link to value in your perception. It would be useful to discuss your experience of fees including how it has worked with previuous engagement with lawyers, what you liked and what you would have like to see improved. We can also cover payment on account and how this benefits the relationship…”
ITD’s approach to fee negotiation training is also based on the actual experineces and situations of participants. This means we take actual sitautions and challenges form lawyers in the room, and apply ideas, strategies and tips to these. We discuss different approaches to see whihc are most applicable for a particular lawyer in a specific parctice area. In this way lawyers get prcatical tips whihc they can use immediately after the training.
By giving practical tips and by tailoring to the firm and the lawyers in the room, our approach to fee negotiation training is very practical. As one client put it:
“The sessions were tailored to the firm’s specific needs and those of the practice areas; each workshop was delivered in collaboration with colleagues from the Finance Team in the firm. The training was very well received and we had very positive feedback from Partners and Senior Associates, with some immediate practical applications of the principles covered.”