Category Archives for "Contract Negotiations"

Jan 13

Billables: A Metric of the Modern Law Library

By Michael Feit | Benchmarking , Budgeting , Modern Law Library , Pricing

Seeking out new ways to (bill) financially support the library is a core element of the library modernization.  Feit Consulting’s research found that 94% of Libraries that deem themselves “modern” are billing for their time.

Billing for Library time and research services is an easy metric to illustrate use and ROI, if your firm has the necessary tools in place.

Here are 3 tips for how to implement appropriate billing practices.

  1.  Monthly Monitoring – You can work with Finance to obtain monthly reports.  These monthly reports allows one to see which attorneys are passing on costs or writing off your time.  This information provides talking points for conversations with attorneys, shedding light on which attorneys are billing and which are not.
  2. Highlight Expertise – For some, the title of librarian is not optimal for billing.  If the case, it could be time to change the billing title to analyst or senior analyst.  This provides an opportunity to dispel the librarian stereotype.  Many attorneys are not aware of the librarian credentials and subject expertise.  
  3. Create a Billing Structure – There are various ways billing can occur.  The Library’s time can be directly billed to usage.  Alternatively, the Library’s costs could be divided evenly amongst all attorneys. 

Billing time allows the Library to function like a business, and provides data for annual budget development.  If these conversations are not yet part of one’s annual budget development, it can feel uncomfortable at first but is necessary to becoming a Modern Library.

 

Jan 12

How Timing Impacts Your Legal Information Pricing

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations

Negotiating an expensive legal-information contract requires more than a few conversations with the vendor. If you want the most value for your buck, allocate the appropriate amount of time to evaluate your resources. Assess usage, content redundancies on other vendor products, practice group or firm size changes–to name just a few.

Many firms give themselves just three months or so to work on their next round of legal-information contracts. Whenever possible, however, it is best to allocate more time for planning and evaluating the real value of legal-information resources. The vendors will have their own timeline. However, your timeline should be much longer to account for resource evaluation prior to the start of vendor negotiations.

With 3+ year contracts, the deadlines can seem to immediately appear without realizing the time left to prepare. Get the tools you need now in order to successfully negotiate and optimize your firm’s legal-information resources and pricing. Working with a consultant can help your firm navigate the complexities of these important vendor negotiations. Feit Consulting partners with firms to strategize and obtain optimal contract pricing and terms. Learn more about our consulting services here.

Dec 07

Strategy, Planning, and ROI Tracking for 2018

By Michael Feit | Benchmarking , Contract Negotiations , Modern Law Library

The new year brings about the opportunity to do things differently. Technology and the buzz word – modernization, are top of mind as we enter into this new year. There are tactical things you as an Administrator or Librarian can do to stay ahead of the game this coming year, and make technology and modernization optimized within your Library.

Budget – Two key words come to mind with regards to budget: collaboration and reporting. Work with Finance to more efficiently monitor budget and expenses. Establish a new schedule for collecting data, and the date of each month or quarter you will turn around that data. For example, receiving data on the 3rd of the month and providing a report to management on the 10th of each month.

Reporting – What metrics are you using to measure ROI and showcase value? Are you collecting feedback from library users? Are you using an Electronic Resource Management (ERM) tool? If so, are you utilizing its full capacity?

Contract Management Planning – Implement new deadlines for legal information management planning. Most of us mark contract expirations on a calendar or in a tracking program. Go a step further.

Month 1: Determine which tools you have in place that can provide data on usage, costs, and value. Such tools may include: Invoices, ERM, developing a survey for users, and scheduling one-on-one conversations with attorneys and staff to assess value and usage of products.

Month 2: Collect data. Based on the tools determined in month 1, begin collecting data. Work with finance to dive into invoices.

Month 3: Analyze the data. Understand what is your ROI for the expiring product(s). Look at as many metrics as you can: Spend per Attorney, usage, discount, etc.

Month 4-6: Begin the negotiation process by requesting a proposal from vendor. Remember, it is more beneficial for vendors to wait to the last minute for pressure to sign the new contract. It won’t be easy but start early.

For firms and organizations considering eliminating Lexis or Westlaw, start this process 9 months to 12 months in advance of your contract expiration of either vendor. Assessing vendor preference and combating concerns is a lengthier process than one might think. While it has been done in a month, having more time on your side is always an advantage.

Feit Consulting’s Optimizing Legal Information Pricing is an excellent resource. It shares detailed processes and steps for contract negotiation planning, knowing which metrics to use, and how best to strategize the negotiation process.

Dec 07

2018 Changes & Projects for Improving Your Bottom Line

By Michael Feit | Best Practices , Contract Negotiations , Modern Law Library

Return on Investment (ROI). For some firms and organizations, the law library can seem like a large expense without full trackablity of the value it offers. Some firms and organizations use it as a cost center. However, there are ways to enhance return on investment beyond general reporting. Not to negate reporting because we do highly recommend it. Here are other ways to provide ROI for your law library.

Billing Title Change

Changing the billing title of one or all of the Library staff can be a simple fix to passing on their research time to clients.

Modern Library Audit

A Modern Library Audit provides a current assessment of where your law library is today, and based on your unique firm’s or organization’s situation, what opportunities exist for transforming and streamlining workflow. Feit Consulting conducts Modern Library Audits for firms and organizations. This encompasses our team of experts completing an assessment of usage, processes and technology use. We provide a full business case with clear recommendations, specific to your firm and organization. Recommendations provided highlight the impact on your bottom line. No two law libraries are alike, nor are the solutions and services needed for optimizing use and value.

Start the Negotiation Process Early

Time is a huge advantage in the legal information contract negotiation process. Providing an adequate amount of time to begin the process can mean the difference of thousands of dollars for the firm/organization. Assess value early, Get quotes early.

Benchmark Your Contracts

When was the last time you had your contracts benchmarked by an outside firm? Your firm or organization may have the strongest negotiators in the industry but without the knowledge of where your contract stands in the market, you have no foundation to start from.

Revisit your Legal Information Strategy

Reviewing your strategy ensures your goal setting for 2018 is in line with the firm/organization’s anticipated changes and goals. Revising your strategy is a strong way to start the new year.

Collection Audit

Is your portfolio of resources serving your constituents fully? We have clients who sign a new contract year over year without assessing the use and value to users because the price tag is not significant. These small items can add up. Take the time to review your collection. If you don’t’ have the time, hire an outside consulting firm like Feit Consulting. With a little investment of time and money, you could be saving thousands over the years to come.

Interested in learning more about what Feit can do for your firm, contact us today for an initial consultation.

Dec 07

What to Expect in 2018 from the Vendors

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations , Vendors

Currently, Westlaw’s position on contracts is your pricing is correct. One can anticipate receiving the standard 3-5% increase, no matter what the situation is. This is what one can expect for 2018. The exceptions to this are 2017 year-end proposals with 0-1% increases for contracts that are already priced high in the market, giving one the impression they are getting a good deal.

Westlaw has been able to sustain such increases due to their vast popularity. One-quarter of firms that had considered eliminating Westlaw ended up retaining Westlaw because of its popularity amongst attorneys. However, this success is dwindling. The inability to rationalize pricing according to events at the firm such as usage and demand will continue to alert firms to the value for the dollar. As word gets out that more firms are eliminating Westlaw, the House of Cards will fall. While currently it is very difficult to negotiation core pricing, we expect this to change if not in 2018, then in 2019.

Lexis on the other hand is a much more open negotiating partner. Because they do not have the popularity of Westlaw, they are always fighting against this. In the latter half of 2017, Lexis developed a bottom line on pricing. A new strategy enacted in 2017 that we will see carried through in 2018 is the inability to retain peripheral products without a core Lexis contract; this is especially true for AmLaw 200 firms. This policy will not work indefinitely. At its core, this could be a great strategy but in our opinion, it is too soon for Lexis to enact this now. They need more buy-in and ramp up of the new acquisitions; time to solidify their product offerings before cutting off firms.

Unless there are dramatic changes in the market such as product offerings or new competition, more firms will choose to eliminate one of these two vendors, with an even split equally divided between Lexis and Westlaw.

Nov 30

Is a 0% or 1% increase a good deal?

By Kate | Contract Negotiations , Pricing

This year more than ever, Thomson is approaching firms with 3, 4 or 5 year extensions in return for 0% or 1% increase. The messaging, “Extend now because your contract pricing is so good; you won’t be able to get these great pricing and terms when your contract is up.”

This is a red flag. If there is an offer for 0% or 1% increase, consider whether your current contract pricing and terms are fairly priced. If your firm or organization has not had a price adjustment since 2008, it is likely you are overpaying.

If indeed your pricing and terms were good in the eyes of the vendor, then it is likely they would wait and offer the standard 3% to 5% increase.

Consider having your contracts benchmarked by Feit Consulting to ensure best pricing and terms. Confidence in your pricing adds great value to the bottom line. Click here to connect with Feit about benchmarking your contracts this week.