Hugh James was reported as saying that the number of claims in employment tribunals is bouncing back following the slump after the introduction of fees (‘Employment tribunal caseload rebounds after slump’).
As Hugh James partner Emma Burns quite correctly notes, this is in part attributable to claimants having acclimatised to the new filing fee regime, in the same way that litigants adjusted their expectations after 1 April 2013 in response to the loss of the ability to recover the success fee or ATE costs. It just became the ‘new normal’.
However, that cannot be the whole explanation because we see plenty of evidence that the rate of improvement in workflow across firms’ employment teams is occurring unevenly. We have noticed a strong correlation between the speed at which instructions are picking up and firms’ willingness to offer clients much more innovative and flexible pricing solutions.
Price modelling deployed by these firms tends to be far more sophisticated.
It involves undertaking a proper client pricing diagnostic and price sensitivity analysis; focusing on and scoring the client’s pricing pressure points, such as budgetary predictability and manageability; cashflow sensitivity; proportionality; appetite for fee risk sharing; better alignment of interests between fee and outcome; pricing transparency; overt choice of pricing model; and other features.
Pricing sophistication is rapidly becoming a meaningful differentiator. Little wonder that clients are voting with their feet and those firms are enjoying a disproportionate share of the work.
Richard Burcher, chairman, Burcher Jennings, London EC4