News Business Leadership Law firms Partner rates skyrocket at top firms despite economic gloom By The Lawyer 19 September 2010 00:00 17 December 2015 15:59 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 20 September 2010 at 13:04 This all depends on the practice area. In finance rates have been on a steady downward spiral since 2008. At the back end of the boom the magic circle could get away with charging £750. Now you’ll be lucky to get £550. Reply Link Mark Dawkins' Hat 20 September 2010 at 14:50 It looks to me like the City firms have learnt nothing from the recession. If they think things have gone back to normal they’re staring oblivion in the face. Reply Link Poundstretcher 20 September 2010 at 15:16 Surely firms are going to charge whatever they can get away with? If GCs are stupid enough to pay it then that’s they’re problem. If they’re not they’ll go somewhere else – there’s enough competition out there … Reply Link Anonymous 20 September 2010 at 16:43 I’d like to hear all from all those in-house lawyeers who talked about getting the whip hand when the recession struck. Oh, is there a big silence? Reply Link Pope Benedict 20 September 2010 at 16:48 I think this just goes to show how resilient big law firms really are Reply Link Spenser Poultney 20 September 2010 at 19:20 At least you know the rate up-front. How about doubling the rate between order and assessment and lying about the increase? http://www.lcs-test.co.uk/courts.htm Reply Link Scep Tick 21 September 2010 at 10:01 Or how much the market is stitched up, an oligopoly along the lines of the Premier League. Reply Link Anonymous 21 September 2010 at 11:56 If you’ve got rid of as many staff as the magic circle over the last two years and you want to keep up profits then you have to charge these amounts. Reply Link Parsley the Lion 21 September 2010 at 13:34 The arguments about a shift in power from law firms to in-house were never based on partner or even senior-associate rates. Their work is safe and in-house counsel don’t seem to mind paying for real added value. It’s the junior associates’ rates and the leverage that are both under pressure. And it is that bottom third of the law firm pyramid that helped create the boom-time profits. If junior associate rates are increasing as well, then yeah, nothing has changed after all. More fool the in-house counsel. Reply Link anon 21 September 2010 at 13:35 an oligopoly? last I heard, there was nothing to stop a client instructing any other law firm they want. Truth is, just as no one was ever sacked for buying IBM, big firms are reassuringly expensive and no one wants to risk a disaster for the sake of saving a few grand and instructing an unknown brand. Reply Link Anonymous 21 September 2010 at 14:38 £750 an hour for a Freshfields partner is defensible. What is not is 2 hours of a trainee for the same amount. Or 1hr 20 mins of a Senior Associate – this is where firms make their money. What for me is just as absurd are those 2nd tier firms that feel they offer good value at £500 per for a partner arguing that they are 30% cheaper than the Magic Circle. A Golf Polo is 1/5 the price of a BMW – on that basis some of these ordinary partners are worth about £150 per hour. Those fleecing the clients are the second rate which is why you will not see GCs balk at Magic Circle rates. They do however get fed up with wannabee firms whose model on current pricing is fatally flawed – they just ain’t that good. Reply Link City lawyer 21 September 2010 at 16:06 I would guess that few clients are paying full rates. All the GCs I deal with are demanding considerable discounts on the bill. I would think rates are going up to compensate for this somewhat. Reply Link Anonymous 21 September 2010 at 18:44 Seems like law firms are required to compete and come down from their ivory towers in order to sweat for their fees. Interesting how law firms send all soft copy attachments in PDF format. Just so clients won’t suspect first year associates have been working on matters where partners are charging hourly rates. The reality is, in the background, young associates do all the work, partners provide the 5 minute proof read and clients are charged to the hills…now that’s providing certainty, transparency and value. Reply Link Deal Maker 21 September 2010 at 20:50 @ CityLawyer: you are correct. GCs are vehemently pushing down rates and asking for discounts. And they know they can get away with this. I feel the times when clients were routinely ripped off by all and sundry are truly over. Clients want more bang for their buck. And rightly so. Reply Link gary 24 September 2010 at 11:27 It’s obvious. While petrol prices are this high, you need to be around the £625 mark to fill the wife’s Range Rover. Anything else would be lunacy. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.