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Rob Mattern

Greater Philadelphia Area

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Outsourcing: Everybody’s Doing It – But Does it Work?(Link)

Legal Management (ALA)
April 2012

With approximately 70 percent of law firms outsourcing some aspect of their back office functions – such as reprographics, mail, messengers and records– this management tool certainly has been embraced by the legal industry. In certain markets and firms, this practice has even spread to the areas of litigation support, word processing and in some instances, “lite” legal work.

However, according to research by Gartner, Inc., at least 50 percent of outsourcing deals fail and 80 percent don’t produce any savings at all. It is healthy, if not prudent, to take a step back and analyze the wisdom of the current practice and model when it becomes widespread and widely accepted – and even more so when the adoption rate of a particular tool or practice
doesn’t appear to be commensurate with its rate of success.

Output Management: The Nirvana Strategy(Link)

April 2012

There was a time when single-purpose copy machines were just plugged into an outlet and that was the end of the story. But those days have long passed. Today, there is a vast array of multi-functional devices (MFDs) that copy, scan, fax, print, act as a portal into your document management system, and are the conduit for your cost recovery system. In conjunction with the growth of features available on these MFDs, there has been an explosion in the placement of standalone printers--both local and networked--in the legal environment.

Six Reasons To Outsource Your Outsourcing(Link)

ILTA Law 2020
June 2012

When your firm has a knowledgeable and professional management staff, why would you consider bringing in an outsider to perform a job capable of being executed and managed internally? An outside resource does not weaken the role of the in-house law firm leader; it strengthens it. Here are six reasons why outsourcing work to the right resource should be part of your firm’s strategy now and into the future.

RFPs Are an Overlooked Opportunity for Law Firm Cost Savings(Link)

Executive Counsel
July 2012

Law firms are beginning to regain their footing following the economic crisis of 2008 and ensuing recession. However, now that the paradigm has shifted, there’s no turning back.

Per attorney billing rates alone can no longer be relied upon to drive a firm’s profitability; the traditional legal model has become more client-centric, and pressures from clients in this new legal model to have increased decision power over costs has changed the game permanently. All the talk is about alternative fee arrangements, which, too, drives an increasing need to capture cost-efficiencies at every level.

The Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Survey 2011 listed among its top trends more price competition (90%) and fewer support staff (88%). This combination can be challenging when considering firms must also not sacrifice the quality of their work product, i.e. their attorney’s time.

Raising the Bridge v. Lowering the Water(Link)

Law Journal Newsletters Accounting and Financial Planning for Law Firims
August 2012

Many times as part of an introductory call with a potential client, firm management will ask the question: How much can you save me? This savings-focused or lowering the water strategy is only exacerbated by consultants in the industry who focus on savings as a basis for their payment—a business model which, quite frankly, is not in anyone's best interest.

However, there is an alternative strategy: firm management can choose to focus on the recovery of costs in addition to savings—this is commonly termed ‘raising the bridge.’ What many firms fail to take advantage of is the fact that, by focusing on the recovery of costs where applicable, they can accomplish more to help their bottom line than most cost reduction exercises.

Law Firms Keep Trying to Collect Office Costs(Link)

Law Technology News
October 2012

In today’s digital world,most legal documents are scanned, emailed, and electronically edited, then sent to local printers at attorneys’ desks or to sophisticated multi-function machines at in-house copy centers. But cost recovery at firms has not kept pace with these electronic options, and many of these routine expenses are simply absorbed. Photocopies are still high on the list of costs charged back to clients, but in-house prints and digital work — such as scans, photo editing and graphic design — lag.


Traditional Cost Recovery: The Right Way(Link)

Law Journal Newsletters Accounting and Financial Planning for Law Firims
December 2012

The Oct. 22, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal published the article, "Law Firms Face Fresh Backlash Over Fees" by contributor Jennifer Smith in which she details how clients are raising objections to legal miscellany fees including legal research, photocopies, food, etc. The article cites our Mattern & Associates 2012 Cost Recovery Survey.

However, this move of costs into overhead cannot be taken lightly. The basis for these soft costs such as legal research and the back-office operation (copy, print, scan, IT) can amount to the fourth or fifth highest expense area for a firm, right behind wages, rent and insurances.

Soft Cost Recovery Under Siege: Three Strategies Your Firm Can Adopt Now That Will Pay Off in the Future(Link)

Legal Management
January 2013

The traditional model of cost recovery is the method that approximately 99 percent of firms employ. This is where firms capture on-site costs through a cost recovery system with a pre-set charge for copies, facsimile, etc. While a number of firms have given up on this method and many predict its demise, the vast majority of law firms employ it; however, based on the results of our survey, only a few do it well. One of those firms is an Am Law 20 firm based in the Midwest. I spoke with them to determine the five key reasons for their success.

Best Practices (And Even Better Questions) to Apply to Your Back Office Operations(Link)

Law Journal Newsletters Accounting & Financial Planning for Law Firms
May 2013

While the economy continues to limp along and the experts continue to predict a flat legal market, it is more important than ever to ensure your back-office operations are functioning in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible. With that goal in mind, I gathered a list of best practices that we at Mattern & Associates have observed law firms implement this past year.


Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery™

United States 13/273,281
Filed October 14, 2010

The Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery method is a proprietary process that enables firms to maximize billable cost recovery revenue by increasing net realizations through restructuring onsite support services as hard cost disbursements.

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