For general counsel, the ability to analyze and control outside counsel spending is vital to the goal of managing legal department costs. A controversy is brewing, however, over a soon-to-be published report analyzing law department spend using law firm invoices.
The 2010 Real Rate Report—a study conducted by CT TyMetrix, an e-billing and matter management service provider, and research group Corporate Executive Board—is scheduled for release in September. It analyzes legal spend from invoices 4,000 law firms submitted to corporate legal departments of various sizes and industries. The study examines $4.1 billion in invoices from 50,000 individual billers across nine different practice areas in 51 metropolitan areas from 2007 to 2009, says Julie Peck, vice president of corporate strategy and market development at CT TyMetrix. Peck declined to state the number of legal departments included in the study.
CT TyMetrix, on the other hand, sparked interest in the Real Rate Report by releasing some startling findings. For example, billing data from partners, associates and paralegals showed that 78 percent of these timekeepers bill different hourly rates to different clients for similar work. The largest rate difference was a partner who billed between $350 and $1,000 an hour, depending on the client.