In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome back Kris Satkunas, Director of Strategic Consulting at LexisNexis CounselLink, to discuss the findings of the 2024 Trends Report. The report, now in its 11th year, provides valuable insights into the legal industry, particularly focusing on hourly rates and spending patterns.

Satkunas explains that the data used in the report comes from the CounselLink Insight benchmarking database, which normalizes and anonymizes data related to matters and billing from CounselLink customers. This year’s report highlights significant increases in hourly rates, with firms relying more heavily on this lever to increase revenue and offset rising costs due to inflation. However, the degree to which rates have increased in recent years is noteworthy, with certain practice areas, such as M&A and IP litigation, commanding even higher rate increases.

Despite the substantial rate hikes, the report shows that blended rates at the matter level are not increasing as much, suggesting that other factors, such as staffing and leveraging, are helping to mitigate individual rate increases. Satkunas also notes that while there is a perception that high rates may drive clients to mid-sized firms, the data does not support this trend, with large law firms maintaining and even growing their client base.

The discussion also touches on the adoption of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), which has remained relatively stagnant over the years, with only around 10% of matters having some form of AFA. However, Satkunas remains optimistic that the increasing pressure on corporations to manage costs, coupled with the adoption of AI and other technologies, may lead to a greater uptake of AFAs in the coming years.

Looking ahead, Satkunas predicts that rates will continue to rise, but the legal industry will likely see changes in the business model as AI becomes more integrated into legal practices. She emphasizes the importance of in-house counsel investing in the right talent to assess their needs and determine which technologies will best address those needs. Additionally, as AI advances, more transactional work may become commoditized, potentially leading to increased adoption of AFAs for these components of legal matters.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠

Contact Us: 

Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Threads: @glambertpod or @gebauerm66
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠


Continue Reading 2024 Trends Report: Dynamics Shaping the Future of Legal w/CounselLink’s Kris Satkunas

Reading about big data seems to be a daily exercise. So lately I have been putting a few brain cells on the subject of new ways of applying data analytics to the legal market.

And here’s today’s idea: The Analytics of What Clients Reject.

What if you take the emerging tools for analyzing billing

The Legal Duck is a brand new, very exclusive, and extremely expensive restaurant owned and operated by Lena Dewey and Daniel Cheatom, two of the most successful attorneys in our fair city.  Last week, we sat down with Lena and Dan to discuss their new endeavor…

3 Geeks:   So, what inspired you two to

How are you? So good to see you again.  It’s been so long?  When was the last time we…

Oh, wait.  No! Somebody lock that door! Don’t let him out! You guys, each grab an arm and sit him down in this chair.

[cc] Image – Spiterman

OK.  Calm down…  It’s alright.  No one is