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New Report from Brightflag Explores Pricing Trends Among Top US Law Firms

Brightflag’s new rates report covers rate increase norms and benchmark data for the top 100 US law firms broken down by firm size, practice area, and geographic location.

New York, NY, December 7, 2023– Brightflag, the modern e-billing and matter management platform that enables corporate legal teams to operate like a business, today released a new report: Hourly Rates in Am Law 100® Firms: Increases and Key Drivers. The report uses Brightflag’s database of billions of dollars of outside counsel spend to report on rate increases among the top 100 US firms in 2023, and to provide benchmark data broken down by firm size, practice area, and geographic location.

The report comes at a time when in-house teams are turning their attention to negotiating law firm rate increases for 2024. Persistent inflation in 2023 has caused concern that firms will request significant rate increases, while a challenging year for many companies means that legal budgets remain flat or are constricting.

In this environment, in-house teams need data to understand timekeeper rate increase norms and have informed rates discussions with their firms. Apart from arbitrarily limiting annual rate increases, in-house teams may also not be fully aware of the other levers they can pull to control rates and make their legal budget go further.

Key insights provided by the report include:

  • The rates of the top 100 US law firms increased by 4.8% in 2023 when compared to 2022 rates. This is over three times higher than the rate increase in the previous year, significantly impacting in-house legal spend.
  • Partners in the top 25 firms charge almost double that of firms with a ranking of 51 or above. In addition, associates in the top 50 firms charge more than partners in firms with a ranking of 51 or above.
  • While rates in all other practice areas fall steadily in line with firm size, M&A rates remain high across all of the top 100 US firms.

The report provides further insights, including the impact of geographic location on rates, and the financial effect of firms staffing heavily with partner time. It also provides recommendations to help in-house teams negotiate better rates and define a cost-effective resourcing strategy.

“Timekeeper rates are a key driver of legal spend. To control rates effectively, in-house teams need to equip themselves with data and with cost-efficient resourcing strategies” said Kevin Cohn, Chief Customer Officer at Brightflag. “We are thrilled to release this report to empower in-house legal teams to proactively manage rates.”

The report can be downloaded here.

About Brightflag

Brightflag is modern e-billing and matter management software for legal teams and their finance partners to operate like a business, backed by outstanding customer service. Clorox, Shopify, Volvo, and other leading companies use Brightflag to create and protect business value by effectively controlling their budget. It’s the only platform that has AI at its core powering e-billing, financial reconciliation, financial planning, and vendor benchmarking.