Because They're Worth It
“Only the rich can afford cheap shoes”, as your grandmother may have said – and what’s true for footwear proves surprisingly apt elsewhere.
The question of value for money is one which is readily misunderstood. Too often mistaken for an urge do everything as cheaply as possible - particularly with an eye to ever-tightening belts and budgets, and the demands of the Jackson Reforms - it should instead be a prompt to provide the best possible service at a proportionate cost. To stretch the adage a little further: that pair of canvas shoes may have seemed a snip at a fiver for the first few steps, but walk a mile or more and with each fresh blister the notion of ‘value’ takes on a different aspect.
A recent article on the Legal Futures site raises some excellent points regarding the concept of value in the provision of legal services. It is, says Michael Porter, very much “in the eye of the beholder.”
Firms must balance the twin imperatives of seeking where possible to keep costs proportionate and within clients’ means – whilst also remaining aware that they represent the highest levels of professional legal expertise. As Porter says: “Solicitors need to understand ‘value’; value themselves, the value of their advice as well as understanding their client’s perception of value. Few customers wake up wanting to pay a higher price but most certainly seek value.”
Ultimately, what represents value for a client is not the lowest possible expenditure, but the best possible outcome to a case, achieved with maximum efficiency. Key to assuaging client concerns regarding costs is a degree of certainty: clients are unlikely to seek detail on precisely what elements constitute a firm’s hourly rate, but will be reassured by a firm pricing structure reflecting both hours and expertise.
If firms are to fully grasp the concept of providing value to clients, they should seek the input of litigation support partners such as Legastat at the earliest stage of budgeting. Costing essential elements of case preparation such eDiscovery and eDisclosure, together with legal tech options such as secure 24-hour access to shared documentation, ensures clients have true value – and that firms match expectations with the delivery of the highest standards of professional expertise.
To quote Porter: “Value pricing should be seen as a thing of beauty by solicitors. Pricing is a skill that needs to be learned and applied. If you need help, seek it. You owe it to yourself, your business and your clients."