2010 Steel Cage Match: Corporate Clients vs BigLaw
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I have a mental image of two giants staring each other down inside a locked steel cage before charging at one another, swinging leather briefcases and throwing Blackberry’s. In this corner, wearing a charcoal suit and a red power tie we have BigLaw, who wants to raise billing rates by 5%, and in this corner wearing a black pinstripe suit with a pastel blue tie we have Corporate Clients, who want to pay 2008 rates or less. The cage is sealed, and only one will emerge victorious.

In a year in which both law firms and their corporate clients have had to make deep cuts and face economic uncertainty, neither side seems ready to blink. Several law firms have enacted salary cuts for first year associates along with lowering the billing rate for their time, and alternative fee structures are on the rise. But profits are down and the easy cost cutting measures have already been enacted, which means law firms want to raise rates to compensate. Corporations are turning to their own legal department for more of their work and are also suffering from lowered profits and greater public scrutiny. In a grudge match with enormous stakes, who will back down first?



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