Pressure in pounds

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  • Perhaps the "steep" drop in partner rates has been an easy give. Not disagreeing with the author's assertion that a partner will bring more benefits in terms of experience and technical knowledge, but any transaction (and the roles played by the fee earners involved) needs to be viewed as a whole. A partner's involvement in transactions is not where the firm derives the majority of its billing. This reduction is a PR stunt at best to keep key clients and their in-house counsel happy.

    The "quest for value" in work product must be overshadowed by the quest for a healthier bottom line...surely that is obvious. NQ and other associate rates need to stay the same because that is where, perhaps in the absence of "value", firms will make their margins. The partner's rates do not, in my experience, materially affect the final bill. Still it would be nice to be able to show a FTSE client that the partner had graciously taken a "hit" on his rates whilst handing them a bill for £1 million because ten associates had to work around the clock for three months to close a transaction...

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  • It will only be a matter of time before most firms move away from charging based on hourly rates.

    Trying to justify NQ rates at £250 in this market is very difficult, especially when dealing with international clients in 'cheaper' jurisdictions.

    Incidentally, I can't believe that the average five year PQE rate is as stated. Try £450 for the magic circle and not much less for those outside it. Anyone paying £250 for a lawyer with 5 years' experience is getting a bargain.

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