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Six things modern GCs really want from their law firms  - Remaking Law Firms
The role of the modern General Counsel is broader and, arguably, more challenging than ever before. The GC is the principal legal advisor to the client company, frequently chief compliance and risk officer, leader of the legal department and function, executive team member and general commercial advisor, as well as coach, mentor and counsellor.
Today’s GCs, regardless of the size of the law department, are constantly looking for ways to improve department performance, deliver even better legal services, find cost efficiencies and liberate staff time to spend on strategic, value-add or personal growth and development projects. It is therefore timely to examine what might help a modern GC in these efforts in a  series of articles, starting with six things modern GCs want from their law firms.
3 days ago by JordanFurlong
Sedgwick: Death By Billable Hours | Above the Law
Sedgwick was a go-to firm for insurance companies. Even a cursory scan of the firm’s website (which remains active as of the day of this article) shows that its insurance roots run deep. For much of its lifespan, a venerated specialty firm like Sedgwick would have been the insurance industry’s Rolls Royce — high cost, high performance, and a brand synonymous with trust, competence, and old-school cred. The firm could use its cache to bring in seemingly endless billable hours from clients that reliably pay their bills, and do so at a rate that eclipsed the typical small-firm insurance shop.

But after the bottom fell out in 2008, it became hard for insurance companies to justify a Rolls where a Kia would do. The years following the Great Recession saw a major shift in the power structure of Biglaw pricing. The supply of high-level attorneys swelled as law schools continued to pump out graduates, but demand for external counsel shrank as clients took their work in-house. That demand continues to shrink today, as more companies find ways to get what they need internally or from non-traditional sources. Law firms in the Am Law 101-200 and below have increasingly had to compete with one another through pricing, steadily shifting leverage to the clients that want to hire them.

It’s hard to think of an industry better suited to squeeze the billable hour than insurance. Think about it: insurance companies typically work with dozens, if not hundreds of law firms. Keeping meticulous records of the cost of transactions in order to predict those costs into the future is their bread and butter. Insurance companies with access to vast amounts of data, and the analytic skill to use it, are going to know exactly what it costs to handle their cases. They know that side of the legal market better than the firms they hire. So, any firm that wants to earn or keep an insurance company’s business has to be prepared to slash its margins to the bone. An equity partner’s negotiated hourly rate on insurance matters can easily be less than the rack rate for a first-year associate at the same firm.
firms  clients  finances 
5 days ago by JordanFurlong
Altman Weil’s latest report: ‘Cost certainty trumps process efficiency’ | RWS_01's B[D]log
Following on from my post last week that the ‘Billable hour remains the pricing method of choice for Australian law firms’, Altman Weil’s ‘2017 Chief Legal Officer Survey’, published later in the week – and now in its eighteenth year – throws a different light on this debate.

The big take-out for me can be found on page vi of the Executive Summary – namely that in-house lawyers now see ‘cost certainty‘ as being more important to them than ‘process efficiency‘.

Specifically, page vi states:

“Costs over process”.

Think about that for a second – because it’s massive if you happen to be in private practice.

Crucially, though, is this comment (also on page vi of the Executive Summary):-

It is easier for law departments to demand cost reductions from providers and let them determine how to achieve lower fees.

So what do we have here?:-

cost certainty over process efficiency, and
private practice being allowed to determine how to achieve lower fees.
QED: If you’re in private practice and don’t have, (a) a robust Legal Project Management system/program, plus (b) data and analysis on the profitability of fixed fees that you can/should be offering…
pricing  process  clients  firms 
19 days ago by JordanFurlong
No Pain, No Gain for Law Firms as Client Demands Get More Extreme | The American Lawyer
More companies have begun expecting law-firm bidders to offer once unthinkable commitments that go beyond the scope of traditional legal work. These can include:

• Access to law firms’ work product gleaned from other client matters, in the form of “de-identified” data related to litigation or transactional activity.

• Associates on loan or “seconded” to clients’ law departments—with the outside firm bearing the expense.

• Push-the-envelope alternative fee arrangements, including, sometimes, giveaway legal work.

• Deep-dive figures on the firms’ diversity, including questions related to credit and compensation allocated to women and minorities.

• “Hotlines” for free, instant answers to client questions.

Lauren Goldman, an appellate group leader at Mayer Brown who is on the firm’s management committee, said that when it comes to requests from prospective clients during bidding competitions: “We don’t reject anything outright.”

“In the ever-shifting leverage dynamic, it is increasingly becoming a clients’ market,” said Brad Karp, chairman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Like ‘Monopoly Money’
Companies’ expectations have changed for firms responding to requests for proposals, making pitches for individual assignments or hoping to sit on a bench of preferred outside firms. The race to offer “value adds”—services beyond the traditional scope of legal work—is part of that, with the overarching recognition by both sides that clients have the upper hand.

“These law firms have no choice. It’s now completely a buyers’ market,” said Mark Smolik, DHL Supply Chain Americas general counsel.

Law firms “are feeling more downward pressure than they have ever felt,” said Kent Zimmermann, a legal consultant at the Zeughauser Group, who also called the state of affairs a “buyers’ market.”
clients  service  competition 
4 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Dentons targets in-house lawyers with new Nextlaw consultancy service
Dentons has embarked on yet another chapter in its experimentation with the legal services model as the 8,000-lawyer giant announced the launch of Nextlaw In-House Solutions yesterday (15 November).

The fifth service line to come out of the firm’s spin-off Nextlaw business, the new consultancy service will see 50 of the firm’s lawyers – all former GCs – advise existing in-house lawyers on matters including procurement for panels, relationship with the c-suite and use of technology.

Unveiling Nextlaw In-House, Dentons former Canada chair and chief executive of the new platform Chris Pinnington said clients would range from in-house teams in large organisations to start-ups setting up their legal team for the first time.

The firm was circumspect on fee arrangements but Pinnington said the consultancy wanted to move away from hourly rates: ‘We want to shift the conversation from cost to value, moving from fixed fees to success fees. In some cases it will take the form of a subscription fee.’

Other services the consultancy will offer include career mentoring and crisis management, the issues that ‘keep in-house lawyers awake at night’.
clients  firms  innovation  strategy 
4 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
New Study: GCs Have Brought The Majority Of Work In-House | Above the Law
The 2017 In-House Legal Benchmarking Report from Exterro polled a number of in-house legal personnel about their business and found that everyone’s bringing more and more under the company tent as we’ve suspected for some time. And they’re doing it for the most obvious reason of all:

When asked why they brought more work in-house, they most frequently responded that it was because they could (they had built or expanded internal capacity and now were using it), to save money, or because better software had become available.

Because I can! Perhaps this could be phrased better than invoking the go to excuse of a toddlercaught reaching into a cookie jar, but this is a serious reason that spells trouble for Biglaw. While lawyers worry about AI building robot lawyers to displace attorneys — a fear that’s mostly overblown — the real technological threat to Biglaw is in easing once formidable legal processes to the point that in-house departments present a more cost-effective option than outsourcing. Legal holds and other document preservation tasks can be handled cheaper and more cost-effectively than ever by clients with the right tools. With clients reporting that they’ll be investing in more software solutions going forward, this inward flow of work shows no signs of stopping.

Where does that leave the outside counsel landscape?

And we suspect the likely outside winners will fit into two broad categories: those who can deliver standardized services efficiently, effectively, and at a very low cost, or at least lower than can be achieved internally; and those who deliver custom and specialized services — bespoke services — that only the rare corporation is likely to invest in developing itself.
metrics  clients  it  robo  process  firms 
5 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Effective is marketing that polarizes - Find Ideal via…
DigitalMarketing  clients  from twitter
5 weeks ago by jhill5

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