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While law firms try to navigate the uncertainty this virus has created in so many aspects of their businesses, the adage “control what you can control” takes on even more importance than ever. 

Over the last month I’ve talked with firms that have taken drastic actions; reducing salaries, limiting partner draws, stopping retirement plan contributions and letting employees go, in an effort to exert control over the new financial reality facing them.  All considered painful, but necessary, decisions.

So, given the willingness to make these internal sacrifices, help me to understand why so many firms are unwilling to take advantage of a resource that can tell them if they are paying too much for a significant reoccurring cost.  I’m referring, of course, to the firm’s Westlaw and Lexis expenses. 

As a fundamental aspect of my business, I offer (at no cost or obligation) a detailed market assessment of the law firm’s research contracts.  The assessment tells the firm three things: where their contracts sit relative to current market rates, whether there is a reasonable chance to reduce the rate and what that new rate could be.   

While many firms do take me up on my offer (and control what they can control by gaining market insights that let them make informed decision about a major expense), many more decline.  Part of this may be due to the “sales” nature of the offer.  This I totally understand…I’m a skeptic and instinctively withdraw if I feel I’m trying to be “sold” something.  There is, though, a large number that, for lack of a better term, “bury their head in the sand”.   This I don’t understand.

I encourage you to take advantage of this intelligence, whether it’s with me, or the handful of other people out there with the expertise to provide this information.  Yes, I’d love a new client, but I also have always been driven by a desire to level the playing field between the firm and the vendor.  If you choose to retain me to negotiate your contract, great.  If you don’t, but I’ve given you something helpful, I’m fine with that too.

The bottom line is to take advantage of the resources at your disposal, control what you can control, especially now when so much is on the line for your firm and the people who work there.  Good luck and stay safe.