Fredrikson & Byron Deploys AI-Powered Intapp Pricing to Improve Estimates, Manage Budgets, and Monitor Matters
Fredrikson & Byron, a leading Midwest law firm, chose Intapp Pricing to accelerate and scale its pricing function while mitigating fee earner investment in unbillable time, improving the accuracy of estimates, systemizing budget and matter activity monitoring and reporting, and delivering better client value.
Founded in 1948, Fredrikson & Byron has a reputation as the firm “where law and business meet.” With six Midwest offices and two international locations, Fredrikson attorneys provide strategic legal counsel and business acumen to their work on behalf of clients. To continue to provide exceptional value and results to their clients, the firm has a board-level mandate to leverage technology to innovate and drive collaboration. The firm earned Tier 1 Metropolitan “Best Law Firm” rankings in 35 practice areas from U.S. News Best Lawyers in 2021.
Modernizing a Labor-Intensive Pricing Process
Prior to implementing Intapp Pricing, Fredrikson & Byron relied on spreadsheets and time-consuming manual processes to gather source material and conduct the analysis required to develop new budgets. “From a client value point of view, it’s critically important to get pricing right so there are no surprises,” said Christina Brusven, Lawyer and Shareholder at Fredrikson. “We were spending an inordinate amount of administrative time making sure that our estimates were well-reasoned and reliable.”
Using this manual system, the pricing team was at a disadvantage. “We could only unburden the lawyers to a point,” said Steve Chambers, Pricing Manager at Fredrikson. “We could gather the information they needed, but the process ultimately required significant review time by the folks who have a direct understanding of the work.”
Selecting an AI-Powered Pricing Solution
In 2018, Fredrikson launched an AI effort focused on mapping and creating clean metadata, working with a third-party vendor. “We couldn’t just keep preparing rough estimates without validated trends, and we needed to reduce the time our lawyers were spending putting estimates together,” said Norah Olson Bluvshtein, Chief Practice Management Officer at Fredrikson. “Building an AI model addressed both of those issues.”
Ultimately, the AI model they were trying to implement proved difficult to scale. “What we really had was a bridge solution,” said Chambers. “It was great for what it was designed for, but we were only able to complete three projects during the course of a year and a half.”
Although the initiative did initially provide results, Fredrikson wasn’t receiving the level of partnership required to succeed. “We needed a partner that was in it for the long haul and could help us build stable and scalable capabilities quickly,” said Olson Bluvshtein. “When we found out about Intapp Pricing and Engagement DNA, we quickly realized that this was the only tool out there that was heading in the same direction we were.”
Fredrikson & Byron, a Midwest law firm with a board-level mandate to leverage technology to innovate and drive collaboration, used Intapp Pricing to scale the automation of estimates, improve accuracy, and monitor budgets. As a result, the firm has built competitive advantage through an elevated level of client service and value.
- Manual pricing processes excessively burdened fee earners with administrative time investment.
- Reliance on a third-party bridge solution impeded the firm’s ability to build stable, scalable AI capabilities.
- Difficulties monitoring and reporting on ongoing budgets and matter management complicated client-value delivery.
- Client-requested pandemic rate reductions necessitated advanced modeling to help the firm respond quickly and reasonably.
Results with Intapp
- Improved pricing experience: An automated AI solution eliminates the headaches associated with tedious manual processes to review historical matters.
- Increased bid confidence: Certainty in the accuracy of numbers behind the estimates dispels the worry that inaccurate quotes will compromise client-value delivery.
- Stable, scalable AI capabilities: Integration with a connected firm management platform boosts analytics capabilities while improving user experience and internal adoption.
- Better client-value delivery: Tracking and reporting capabilities for budgets and matter activities ensures lawyers have the insights they need when meeting with clients.
- Stronger competitive advantage: Sophisticated modeling helps lawyers adjust budgets decisively, providing noticeably elevated levels of client service and value.
Partnering with Intapp for a Purpose-Built Solution
With concerns looming about the long-term viability of the home-grown AI bridge solution, Intapp came into the picture with a timely solution. “Being part of the early adopter program was a huge bonus because we had direct access to the Intapp product team,” said Chambers. “We were able to surface what was important, and influence how things progressed.”
In the initial phase of the engagement, Fredrikson focused on data mapping, cleanup, and coding while Intapp developed the matter proximity and search capabilities in Intapp Pricing. In subsequent phases, the Fredrikson and Intapp data science and engineering teams collaborated on a process to classify matter narratives into phases, tasks, and activities, resulting in comprehensive training models for the business litigation, energy regulatory, and M&A practices that were incorporated into Fredrikson’s pricing application. “It was a fortuitous moment when Intapp could build upon the AI work we had already done, taking it and running with it — with us and for us,” said Olson Bluvshtein.
Ultimately, the solution yielded significant improvements. “Using Engagement DNA, we can continuously refresh and improve the quality of the data to make building estimates easier, faster, and more reliable,” said Chambers. “In fact, we’re able to confidently provide an estimate typically within a couple of hours — sometimes within 30 minutes, depending on our workload — and, at most, overnight.”
Lawyers participating in the firm’s pilot program similarly reported positive experiences with the software. “It was the reliability and ease of use that was most helpful to me and others; we could quote with confidence both quickly and accurately,” said Brusven. “The solution also includes a reporting system that alerts us when fees are approaching budget thresholds, so we’re able to maintain a consistent communications cadence — which makes clients happy and lawyers’ lives easier.”
Moving Forward on Enhanced Client Value
When the pandemic landed during the firm’s first user pilot, the importance of tracking and monitoring moved to the forefront. “We were able to show we could track budgets to actuals,” said Chambers. “This capability — on top of our ability to turn around estimates faster and more accurately — became a compelling selling point for our internal stakeholders.”
Chambers is working with the Intapp team to tailor the Intapp Pricing user interface to make it easier for the lawyers and partners to use the solution. “The ability for the lawyers to pull data together for a report — for times when they’re meeting with a client and know that they’ll be talking about where they stand on budget and matter activity — is highly valuable,” said Chambers. “When they’re talking with clients, they need these insights at the ready to deliver on client experience and value.”
The firm is also moving forward on analytics and reporting capabilities, which have been particularly useful during the pandemic because so many clients face pressure to reduce budgets. “Using the solution, I can figure out how to cut a budget by modeling rate reduction scenarios and other factors,” said Brusven. “Because we’re agile enough to respond quickly and reasonably to these requests, we not only make clients look good to stakeholders in their organizations, but also stand out among competitors with respect to client-value delivery.”