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Law Practice Management

‘Frills and Fripperies’ Cut at Australian Law Firms

Posted Mar 10, 2009 6:58 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Law firms in Australia are cutting costs, evaluating everything from technology budgets to purloined meals.

Holding Redlich managing partner Chris Lovell told ALB Legal News that the economic downturn has his firm taking a close look at the budget. "There are a lot of totally discretionary costs that we should have looked at before but we overlooked because everyone was too busy,” Redlich told the publication. “Things like IT add-ons and tools which frankly I'm not sure people were using anyway. We have also postponed some IT upgrades and scaled back some marketing functions. We still have them, but not as many."

Even stationery and free food are being evaluated, Lovell said. "We're careful not to upset the culture of the firm," he told the publication. "We certainly don't want to compromise the integrity and robustness of the business. But there were a lot of frills and fripperies for which there was no glaring demand."

Law firm managers speaking off the record with ALB Legal News also identified these cost-cutting measures:

• Some law firms are trying to sublet part of their office space.

• Law firms are evaluating potential clients’ ability to pay.

• One law firm is clamping down on lawyers who abuse a perk for those working late—a free meal at the firm’s cafeteria. The lawyers were reportedly eating for free, and then promptly leaving. Some were also improperly claiming free taxi rides for working late.

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