Toby Brown Discusses Pricing and Project Management with The Washington Post

The Washington Post, for its article “At law firms, pricing managers are in demand,” quoted Akin Gump chief practice officer Toby Brown on the growth of pricing and project management at law firms.

The article notes that law firms are relying more heavily on their pricing analysts to help attorneys calculate and manage legal costs, including by creating alternative fee arrangements for clients. When Akin Gump hired Brown in 2012, the firm became one of the first large law firms to bring in a full time individual dedicated to this role.

Brown noted that the firm uses innovative tools to create the alternative fee arrangements: “A lot of people in this role, we live and breathe in spreadsheets. We have tools for profitability analysis. There are emerging tools on the monitoring side.”

He continued, noting his process for obtaining the best financial plan for the firm’s clients, “My go-to question [for clients] is, ‘A year from now, what will fee success look like for you?’ ‘What are the pressures from your leadership to save money?’ It can come in many forms. What I’m really trying to find out is what are the driving factors with the client? Most say they want to save money but that can take many different shapes. I’m trying to uncover what the driver is.”

Brown also discussed the progression of the pricing function at law firms, pointing out that “[d]ifferent practices are in different stages in terms of pricing pressures.”