Optimizing Savings through Prompt Pay Discounts in CounselLink

Kris Satkunas; Strategic Consulting Director, and Stephanie Beck; CounselLink Professional Services Manager; LexisNexis:


Virtually every legal department is under pressure to reduce and tightly manage costs. And for most legal departments, outside counsel spending represents a very large portion of that cost. In addition to enforcing the billing of approved timekeeper hourly rates or alternative fee arrangements, CounselLink has features to manage discount arrangements with law firms.  We were curious as to the sorts of discounts used most by CounselLink customers today, and whether any best practices could be gleaned from these arrangements.  We will be exploring this question through a series of blog posts.


To start, we took a look at customers leveraging prompt pay discounts. 26% of CounselLink customers take a discount off of some law firm’s invoices if they pay the invoice within a relatively small number of days after receiving the invoice. On average, these customers receive a 5.7% rate of savings on prompt pay invoices, and the overall savings these customers take to their bottom line is 0.27% of their total gross invoices (those with and without prompt pay discounts).  While that percentage may be small, looking more closely at how prompt pay is utilized by customers points to multiple ideas for optimizing the savings potential of this discount arrangement.


1. Arrange for prompt pay discounts with as many law firms as possible.

  • Of legal departments utilizing prompt pay discounts, 78% have discount arrangements with fewer than 10 firms.  These discounts result in a 6.5% rate of savings on prompt pay invoices. The overall savings these customers take to their bottom line is 0.10%  of their total gross invoices (those with and without prompt pay discounts).
  • In contrast the legal departments leveraging prompt pay with 10 or more of their firms have a lower rate of savings on prompt pay invoices, 2.8% (they take lower average discount percentages), but the overall savings these customers take to their bottom line is .86% of their total gross invoices, nine times greater than customers only employing prompt pay for a handful of firms.



2. Negotiate as large a discount rate as you can.

  • The majority of prompt pay discount rates are between 1 and 3%, with discounts between 5 and 10% being the next most popular rates.  
  • Do not assume that firms only accept prompt pay discount rates up to 3%.  Nearly 50% of clients using prompt pay discounts include a discount greater than 3% in some portion of their discount arrangements.


3. Employ multiple tiers of discounts.

  • The most common terms for a prompt pay discount are 30 days, 10 days, and 15 days. About half of legal departments taking prompt pay discounts use a 30 day threshold as part of their discount structure.

Most common number of days
to approve an invoice





  • Prompt pay discounts can be tiered where each tier corresponds to a period of time and a discount percentage. For example, the legal department can approve an invoice within 10 days and receive a 5% discount with the firm but if they miss that cut off and approve within 30 days, they can still receive a 3% discount.
    • 80% of legal departments with prompt pay arrangements have a single tier discount structure
    • 11% have two tiers
    • 9% have three tiers
  • Customers only using a single tier for discounts save .27% of total gross invoice value. 
  • Customers using two or three tiers of discounts save .92% of total gross invoice value, more than 3 times the savings of clients only using a single tier.


Whether you’ve been considering adding prompt pay to your savings toolkit, or already employing the feature, these tips should help you get the most value from this discount arrangement.

Stay tuned for our next post related to other discounting best practices.