SaaS legal pricing platform Virtual Pricing Director – the tech solution from pricing experts Validatum and costs consultancy Burcher Jennings – has been formally adopted by UK top 50 law firm Fieldfisher following its hard launch in February.

VPD, which is led by CEO Martyn Jennings, has been in development over the past two years, originally in conjunction with Neota Logic but subsequently with its own development team so the solution can be coded ‘from the ground up’.

It provides intelligent templates that incorporate an array of practice areas, tasks, rates and clauses, to produce a pricing dashboard that can give clients a clear breakdown of their expected spending and allow them to quickly make changes or refine the quote.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Fieldfisher’s head of technology, outsourcing and privacy, Rob Shooter said: “The reason this is exciting is that everyone in legal knows Richard Burcher and Validatum. He is without a doubt the leading pricing consultant and has spoken at Fieldfisher partner conferences and others around the world about how to price work in a way that is transparent and fair and realistic. Some of the law firms are in the dark ages and the reason you hire Richard is that he is on a mission to bring legal pricing into this century.

“His team has taken a large amount of that knowledge and built it into the prettiest, Apple-like front end, unlike a lot of the software we see. It requires very little learning and you can play with it out of the box. There are very few software packages you can say that about.”

He adds: “I’m an outsourcing lawyer and we produced an outsourcing template that came up with every stage of every deal. We pre-empted hourly rates for every grade of lawyer, using an algorithm that came up with a proposal where you can switch off and on elements to adjust the schedule, for example more partner time or fixed or capped fees – it’s all on a slider.

“It can provide you with as detailed a proposal as you like. I’ve just agreed a RFP to get on panel and client has said they don’t want to pay for trainee time. It takes a second to adjust the RFP using this software. Lawyers are bad with spreadsheets and anything that allows us to change things without spreadsheets is a game-changer.”

Validatum has provided pricing consultancy to over 300 law firms in 22 countries and Jennings said: “The market doesn’t need another version of the spreadsheet. The profession’s requirements are vastly more sophisticated than that now and VPD has been built from the ground up to do just that.”

Burcher said: “Over the last 10 years, the importance of data driven pricing sophistication has become increasingly apparent to most law firms. What firms around the world have told us for several years is that they want a holistic solution that appeals to both front line lawyers and management power users, but is sufficiently flexible, adaptable and scalable up or down to meet the needs of a very diverse market.

“The democratisation of AI capability has enabled us to build some very clever functionality into it which minimises the amount of time required to put together even quite complex proposals. Firms are experiencing improved realisation and their clients appreciate the transparency and budgetary predictability that VPD provides.”