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Law Firms Cut Costs, With ABA Dues and Fancy Restroom Supplies First to Go

Nickel and diming isn't something new to lawyers -- after all, many lawyers do it to clients, all the time.  But now, Elie Mystal is reporting at Above the Law that firms are taking their penny pinching in-house.  For example, K&L Gates will be introducing cheaper paper products in the restrooms, while Pillsbury has told its lawyers that it will only pay ABA dues for those lawyers who are actively involved in ABA committee work.

Though I'm not a fan of nickel-and-diming clients, cutting back on expenses is just such a no-brainer in tough times.  Law firms are so large that even little tweaks like lesser-quality paper towels or foregoing the several hundred dollars a year in bar dues for 75 percent of its lawyers can make an enormous difference to the bottom line (e.g., $400/year in dues x 700 lawyers = $280,000 in savings).   That's a lesson that tech giant Google just mastered.  According to this news story, Google's revenues and profits increased by 31 percent and 26 percent respectively over the third quarter, in large part due to cost-cutting measures, such as slowing recruitment and shortening the opening hours of the free cafeterias for workers.  (Full disclosure: My spouse works at Google.)

So where do you think firms should make the cut? 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 17, 2008 at 06:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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