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Chat GPT and Pricing

I ran across an interesting story in LawyersWeekly entitled “ChatGPT’s rise means billable hours will ‘inevitably decline.’” (Link available upon request.)

Several attorneys were quoted, but the consensus is summed up well by Hive Legal principal Ella Cannon:

"'The emergence of technology like ChatGPT puts the outdated — yet deeply ingrained — time-based billing model at further risk, as it has the potential to automate some aspects of the time-consuming and low-value tasks that have traditionally been billed by the hour (and for which clients may be less inclined to pay a high hourly rate for),'" she posited.

"'As lawyers, we need to embrace new pricing models that are more transparent and aligned with our clients’ interests, or risk being left behind in a rapidly changing legal landscape.'”

Yesterday I had a conversation with my IP attorney who is working on a trademark for my business. We were reviewing a seven-page analysis of the trademark protection I may seek and what my chances of success might be.

I don’t know how long it took her to prepare the document. I have no idea whether she used ChatGPT, Perplexity, or some other AI software to assist in the preparation of this document. I don’t care.

When I received her letter, I quickly scrolled to the only four sentences in the entire document I care about: her recommendation. Sure, I read the rest of the letter, but the conclusion is what I cared about.

The only other part of my interaction with her on this matter I highly valued was a subsequent phone conversation in which I received further commentary from her on her recommendation. I had the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers to those questions from an individual I highly trust.

Where’s the perceived value to me as the client? It’s the judgment and advice of this highly experienced attorney. That’s what I’m paying for. The document is parsley on the plate of the main course.

And I'm paying a pre-determined fee, not by the hour.

It’s easy to understand why the billable hour for many attorneys is in its death throes, and why the basis of their pricing models will have to morph into a more value-based approach than on what’s never made much sense: the clock.

By the way, I went to Chat GPT to ask about my chances for the specific trademark I’m seeking. Here’s what I got back, in part:

“As an AI language model, I do not have access to your personal information or the specific details of your situation, including your intended use of the trademark and the applicable legal requirements in your jurisdiction. . . .

“It is recommended that you consult with a trademark attorney or a trademark agency to evaluate the specific details of your situation and provide you with advice on the likelihood of obtaining a trademark on [redacted} and the steps you should take to protect your brand.”

Thanks, ChatGPT, much appreciated.

Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

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