Moderate rise in average billing rates as 75 law firms disclose their hourly fees to widespread acclaim from in-house counsel. Vandana Chatlani reports
How much are you willing to pay for a lawyer’s time? In the public sector, if the price is right, very often nothing else matters. Lower is better. Unsurprisingly, this presents several dangers: reduced partner time, little incentive to commit to a matter, inadequate drafting and long delays, as examined in detail in last month’s issue of India Business Law Journal (see A triumph of price over quality?).
India’s private sector players, however, have matured in some ways from their days of simply focusing on legal costs. In no way does this suggest that price negotiation has become a dying art – this is India after all. Rather, many in-house counsel have shown a willingness to part with reasonable sums of money in exchange for smart, dedicated and efficient legal partners.
As this mentality becomes more prevalent, law firms are being forced to step up their game by creating innovative pricing models for coherent advice provided in a timely manner. Companies are less brand conscious, which means greater competition from lesser known firms except in cases where the stakes may be exceptionally high, or in court where influential veterans may play an important role.
It is against this backdrop that India Business Law Journal presents its ninth annual billing rates survey. This is our biggest survey to date. A total of 75 law firms disclosed their billing rates, marking a 25% jump in the number of participants from last year. An additional three firms reported that they have done away with such rates.