Katten SmartMatters: Our Approach to Strategic Pricing and Legal Project Management

When it comes to value pricing and legal project management, Katten’s SmartMatters approach centers on collaborating with our clients to customize our fee arrangements and service delivery to their unique needs. We understand the important role that pricing, value and data analytics play in client relationships. That’s why our firm has established a dedicated Pricing and Legal Project Management Team to leverage metrics, process and business management principles in developing mutually beneficial institutional client relationships. Our experienced team includes industry pricing and process improvement veterans who work in collaboration with Katten attorneys, our Innovation Team and clients to develop customized, value-based fee arrangements, matter and portfolio budgets, and staffing models and performance monitoring reports that provide stakeholder groups with greater certainty, predictability and visibility into the work being performed. 

A collaborative, customized approach

The Katten Pricing and Legal Project Management team works under a variety of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) with our clients and is prepared to customize any arrangement to new or existing assignments as appropriate. We believe fee arrangements are a collaborative effort that require establishing consensus on definition of scope, strategic value of the work to the client, budgetary requirements and likely risk factors. In each case, our goal is to deliver the greatest service value and create a financial arrangement that works well for both our clients and the firm. 

Legal project management plays a vital role and is key to successfully executing AFA matters. Since all AFA models and hourly matter budgets are built based on assumptions, it’s important to carefully define and monitor the scope, staffing and workflows necessary to meet the expectations established by the AFA. Coupled with ongoing communication and transparency, this continuous monitoring and reporting process managed by Katten’s Pricing and Legal Project Management Team helps ensure that work is proceeding according to plan and quickly identifies when material scope changes occur.

Overall, we believe it is important to our relationship with our clients to frequently review the financial performance of our assignments across the breadth of our portfolio of work, whether they are AFAs or traditional hourly work, to ensure we are delivering on our value commitment. Such reporting and discussion promotes healthy communication and transparency, providing an ideal platform to discuss the work being done and the overall relationship.

Demonstrating leadership

Our team is considered a thought leader in pricing and legal project management. Our director of Pricing and Legal Project Management, Keith Maziarek, has had recent speaking engagements that include: 

  • Co-Presenter, "Law Firm Economics 101: A Client-Focused Primer on the Drivers of Law Firm Performance," Legal Value Network Webinar, August 2020
  • Facilitator, “Pricing and Profitability Town Hall,” P3 Virtual Conference, June 2020
  • Panelist, “Dimensions of Modern Law Firm Profitability,” Mechanics of Law Firm Profitability Virtual Conference, Ark Group, June 2020
  • Panelist, “Managing Law Firm Profitability, Pricing and Data Analytics,” Sandpiper Partners, New York, January 2020
  • Interviewee, “Pricing Matters” Podcast, Digitory Legal, January 2020
  • Panelist, "Tenth Annual Legal Department Operations Survey Review," P3 Conference, Chicago, June 2019
  • Panelist, "There’s Something Lurking in the Shadows: The Growing Disruption in the Legal Market and the Business Development Opportunities," LSSO Peer Monitor Session, Chicago, June 2019
  • Judge, "Legal Tech Landscape" and "Knowledge Engineering for Automation," IFLP Innovation Module Workshop, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, May 2019
  • Panelist, "KM's Role in AFA's and Value Based Billing,” ILTA Virtual Roundtable, March 2019
  • Co-Presenter, "The Crystal Ball Effect: How the Legal Industry is Mining Historical Matter Data to Predict the Future," ILTA Webinar, February 2019
  • Presenter/Facilitator, "Innovation Roundtable," Percipient, Chicago, February 2019
  • Co-Presenter, "Strategic Secondments Best Practices," TVPI Pricing Cohort Speaker Series, November 2018
  • Panelist, "Collaboration Between Law Firms and Clients," ELM Conference 2018, San Diego, November 2018
  • Panelist, "Key Parts to a Successful Legal Department — Defining the Value and ROI of Legal Reporting," Today's General Counsel Institute — "The Exchange" for Legal Operations, Chicago, October 2018
  • Interviewee, “Technically Legal” Podcast with Chad Main, September 2018
  • Co-Presenter, "Airing of the Grievances: I Hate it When Firms/Clients . . .," Buying Legal Council, North America Annual Conference 2018, New York, September 2018
  • Panelist, "Measuring the Value of AFAs," ACC Legal Operations Conference, Chicago, June 2018
  • Facilitator, "Client/Firm Project Collaboration," ACC Legal Operations Conference, Chicago, June 2018