Cost Recovery?  How to make the business case for your back and middle office strategy

The cost recovery marketplace is increasingly split into two groups: firms that are proactive about maintaining this expense recovery stream and are adjusting their strategy to the current marketplace, and firms that are allowing the 3% – 4% of revenue which comprises this recovery stream to disappear.

In light of this fact, how can you make the best business case to your law firm to adopt the strongest/most apt recovery strategy fit for your firm’s culture?

You’re in luck. Mattern & Associates produces a bi-annual Survey benchmarking cost recovery practices across the industry,  and participating firms receive customized reports detailing their firm’s performance to their peers. Consider what some participating firms have achieved leveraging these results:

  • A significant percentage decided to roll out print capture based on the data in our 2012 & 2014 surveys–effectively doubling their net billable cost recovery.
  • Some firms decided to take their litigation support operation and turn it into a hard cost pass through model (Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery®) thereby taking a sizable expense and turning the area into a neutral revenue stream.
  • A Baltimore firm decided, after a review of their survey results compared against the industry and examining their client
    base, to get out of the cost recovery business altogether– thereby saving the expense of recovery, tracking and  management.

In each of these situations, the bottom line impact is concrete, measurable, and delivers value.  In a market where managing  cash flow to margin is increasingly important, informed decision making in all areas of cost recovery are key.

Benchmarks build the business case and answer the questions any firm’s management is going to ask when changing a policy:

  • What is the impact to the bottom line?
  • Who else is doing it?

This year, we’ve added a tier of strategic questions to capture industry trends in the law firm back and middle office functions, measuring changes that have transpired in legal workflow and processes.

A strong financial strategy begins with the right data.  The 2016 Cost Recovery Survey provides firms with the deep insight they need to make major decisions, making it one of the first and most valuable steps your firm can take to improve your bottom line.  We are looking forward to the results.

The Survey is open to participation now through the end of May.  To participate, please contact Lisa Schneider at  To answer any cost recovery question you may have, please contact Rob Mattern at