Guest Blog: David Vilensky of BBV

David Vilensky, managing partner of BBV in Perth, Australia, and a Trailblazer, recently responded to an article in Lawyers Weekly, “Clients falling back on ‘safe’ hourly rates.”

Have you ever read such laughable crap. Clearly Mallesons have got a better PR machine that anyone else. Talk about vested interests.

As is well documented, these big firms survive on billable hours—the alternative is a slow death.

I recently posted a comment on Linkedin about the concept of “nobody’s money”. Why would the CEO or CFO of Woodside, or Rio, or NAB, or QBE, or whoever, give a toss about the amount of legal fees being spent when they are not actually paying? It’s shareholders money being used (nobody’s money) and when a company has $15m in the bank who cares if the lawyers bill is $20k or $50k or $100k.

But wait until the CFO gets divorced and goes to a family law lawyer who bills by the hour (as most do)—then they sing a different tune. Why? Because they are paying with their own money.

Regarding in house counsel, it’s the same story really. Most come from the big firms and are now working for former clients of their old firms. Clients that use “nobody’s money” to pay their legal bills.

I look forward to the day when the CEO of a large public company calls in his team of in house counsel and says to them that their bonuses will be based on the amount of legal fees they can SAVE the company. Watch them then!

Ron, this reminds me of your statement (BRW a month or so ago) which said “If you’re afraid of change you’re really not going to like irrelevance.”

Yes, big firms will be the last to change for sure.

I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, David.

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