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A ResearchAgent survey of research directors and law librarians reveals that billing for online research is a hot topic.
Research suggests that attorney write-offs and client refusal to pay are among the top five challenges to cost recovery. When we dug deeper, we discovered that poor communication between partners and clients is often the culprit.
Partners are not always aware of the actual costs to the firm for write-offs. Many are not comfortable discussing cost recovery with clients. Clients, in turn, may not be clear on a firm's recovery policy or aware of the many steps a firm takes to ensure research efficiency.
Once your firm has made the decision to recover online research charges, you'll want to ensure that partners are well-equipped to explain these charges to your clients.
Clear communication about the value of online research and your firm's cost recovery policy are key to client acceptance. Consider guiding partners to discuss the issue:
Online services, in addition to print resources, benefit clients by increasing the efficiency and thoroughness of research done on their behalf. Online services provide 24/7 access to:
Consider sharing the ways in which your firm ensures its attorneys are cost-effective and expert researchers. For example, you may:
Do you use online client ID validation to ensure that research is correctly assigned to clients? Scrutinize online charges for accuracy? Pass negotiated savings along to clients? If so, be sure to tell your clients.