find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Lawyers “underselling” themselves

Lawyers “underselling” themselves

TIME-SHEET PADDING is not the real problem facing firms, legal practice management consultant Ashley Balls of PMF Management Services says, but rather the ‘institutionalised’ writing off of…

TIME-SHEET PADDING is not the real problem facing firms, legal practice management consultant Ashley Balls of PMF Management Services says, but rather the ‘institutionalised’ writing off of time.

According to PMF Management Services’ records, most New Zealand firms routinely discount work, and are running at a rate of around 60-75 per cent of time recovered. “When you ask partners what is the task they like least of all, they say billing,” points out Balls. “Lawyers are serially underselling themselves. Maybe this is because they set too high a price, which is not actually attainable in the market place.”

Balls spoke in response to recent articles published in issues 30, 31 and 32 of NZLawyer respectively entitled, “Firms’ budgets create billing fraud”, “Padding out the time sheet”, and “Time sheet padding refuted”.

Balls believes the heart of the billing problem lies in New Zealand being the only common law jurisdiction that does not require a formal set of terms of engagement when a client and a lawyer meet. “Ninety per cent of complaints to the law society are about costs, so there is clearly an issue of effective communication here,” he says.

Whether underselling themselves or overcharging, some management consultants believe lawyers should be more open about pricing. Australian professional services management consultancy Julian Midwinter & Associates recommends that law firms should have straightforward discussions about price with all stakeholders, identifying which clients will pay more for exactly what services, and what pricing parameters will stimulate clients to migrate to other providers, because “overlooking consumer intelligence may result in under-pricing of around five per cent”. A recent article entitled “Price optimisation”, published by Julian Midwinter & Associates, states, “Pricing is fiendishly difficult. Lawyers and other expert professionals don’t much like talking about it, but service pricing can vary widely. Because of the ego, status, and power with which charge rates are imbued, it can even be difficult to get realistic information”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers “underselling” themselves
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Law Council of Australia
LCA calls for urgent adoption of ‘game-changing’ recommendation
The Law Council of Australia has urged for the immediate adoption of a key recommendation put forwar...
Sally Wheeler
Nov 20 2017
ANU College of Law appoints new dean
A distinguished legal academic and the former head of law of a higher education institution in Irela...
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...