jordanfurlong + clients   704

Meet Legalforce – Japan’s Legal AI Pioneer – Artificial Lawyer
We have determined that in-house legal teams in Japan devote nearly 60% of their time to contract review. Moreover, the overall workload of in-house counsel has steadily increased as companies are expanding operations into foreign markets were detailed contracts are essential. Further exasperating stress on in-house counsel is the fact legal-talent is hard to find in Japan. As a result, we have found companies to be highly receptive to technologies that are able to both accelerate contract review, and contract drafting and revision. 
global  clients  robo  innovation 
1 hour ago by JordanFurlong
Pressed for Progress: Clients Expect Firms to Meet Their Demands for Talent in 2020 | The American Lawyer
Whether it be better parental leave or robust training programs, firms will look to differentiate themselves in ways more sustainable and long term than raises, he says. Another interesting trend the industry will likely see in 2020 is an emphasis on allowing attorneys to unplug when they’re on vacation.

“Professionals in corporate law firms are expecting that they’re going to work hard and understand that,” Westfahl says. “What firms have not been able to achieve is giving junior people more predictability in their work schedules. And the ability to disengage and be offline—truly offline.”
clients  diversity 
21 days ago by JordanFurlong
Two Law Firm Subsidiaries Stand Out as Clients Embrace Alternatives | The American Lawyer
As an increasing number of law firms are trotting out their own alternative legal service providers, two have already caught on with corporate legal departments.

A new report from the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, or CLOC, revealed that nearly half of the 213 respondents had used ALSPs in 2018. The 17 outfits they named as favorites included subsidiaries of Eversheds Sutherland and Fenwick & West.
Eversheds Consulting and FLEX by Fenwick joined names like Axiom, Elevate and Integreon, as well as Big Four firms Deloitte, EY and PwC, as 34% of respondents reported making increasing use of ALSPs in the last year.

Both Eversheds Consulting and FLEX are longstanding players in the ALSP arena, even if the former technically ceased to exist last month. Eversheds Sutherland announced in June that it would be merging its advisory unit, officially titled ES Consulting, with its corporate secretarial and volume insolvency teams into one unit, named Konexo. The firm said that while the current units, combined, bring in £40 million, or about $50.77 million, of annual revenue, it sought to boost that number to nearly $127 million.
newlaw  subsidiaries  clients  ops  innovation 
5 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Innovation Case Study 1: Levenfeld Pearlstein | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
the firm has adopted a corporate style Customer Experience culture that sets it apart.  Their client focus permeates everything the firm does both internally and externally.

The firm was founded in 1999 in large part to create a different kind of law firm, one that was focused on developing loyal client relationships and producing exceptional client value. There are a number of aspects to the firm’s culture that are distinctive and innovative, and they are embodied in their model “The LP Way™.”  Unlike some firms that tout slogans or promote innovative aspects of their client value initiatives without the backing of measurements and frameworks, The LP Way™ actually is a business strategy.  It is used as the basis for how the firm attracts, develops and rewards talent and how it ensures consistency, transparency and satisfaction to clients.

Many years ago, firms began developing client service standards, protocols and strategies.  An example of a firm that was way out in front on this was Miles & Stockbridge who at the direction of their former visionary CEO and Chairman John Frisch, developed a set of client-focused values, a service pledge, a robust client feedback program and policies, programs and training to indoctrinate all lawyers and staff in exceptional client service practices. While some other firms carried through on their promises, many inadequately delivered on the client service pledges they published on their web sites.

clients  service  pricing  culture  innovation 
5 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Service Delivery Model Evolves - Citi 2020 Client Advisory - Prism Legal
This supports my long-stated view that most commentators overstate the threat that alternative legal service providers will disrupt law firms, or even take sizable share from them. In my opinion, they fail to consider how large firms are changing and improving their service delivery model. The Citi report highlights multiple steps firms take to remain competitive, including more automation, project management, online subscriptions, and lower cost leveraged timekeepers.

Before examining a couple of these changes in detail, here’s a brief explanation of why the service delivery model has changed. The market remains very competitive and growth low. Citi found that large firm revenue grew 5%, with most of that increase coming from rate increases. Underlying demand grew less than 1%. In an almost flat market, competition for new business remains fierce so firms spend more to win a bigger share of the same pie.

Automation, Especially AI Use, Up Markedly in Two Years

Law firms have adopted AI to deliver service more efficiently: Citi found a big jump in the use of artificial intelligence. I give more weight to Citi findings than to other surveys. Citi talks to many Am Law 200 firms, which share data more freely with Citi than they do with others. This chart, copied from the survey, speaks volumes:
firms  clients  innovation  robo  pricing  competition 
5 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
The Fallacy of In-House Savings | 3 Geeks and a Law Blog
My prediction is that we are reaching the peak of the trend of client bringing work in-house. This has historically been a cynical trend and with the predicted recession approaching, having large head-counts will lead to other problems for in-house departments.

On top of all of this is one of my other rants. This same client went on about how rates for senior associates were way too high, given their skill level. Having recently rebuilt a house, I find this a bad place to give your attention. Instead of focusing on the cost of inputs, you are far better off talking about scope, outcome and total cost. A focus on input costs may well drive you to compare hourly costs such as this client did, leading them to think they are getting more for their dollar when they may not be. Clients who want to truly get more for their money will be far better off partnering with the law firms to develop innovative ways to accomplish this
clients  insourcing 
8 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
INSIGHT: Who’s Afraid of Flat Fees? Not the GC of Panasonic
And the data reveals that flat fees work. As the chart below illustrates, flat fees consistently outperform hourly rates on cost-effectiveness:

Cost Certainty Is as Important as Savings
And from my perspective, cost certainty is as important as cost savings. Not just for me, but also for our internal clients, who want a clean, flat number from us. They need the predictability that flat and other non-hourly billing can provide.

Flat fees also force lawyers to think hard about budgets, and how to deliver on commitments. Firms become responsible for their costs, learn to use resources efficiently, and apply project management techniques—a perfect environment to drive law firm innovation. (Incidentally, that’s something we like about AdvanceLaw’s approach, it’s a key principle to recommend firms that excel at innovation.)

Perhaps even more exciting, the data from the Thought Leaders Experiment shows there is no statistical difference in the quality of work or the service delivered by law firms whether working under a flat or hourly fee.

While that’s been my experience, it is not the conventional wisdom. Many of my peers and commentators in the legal press worry that setting a fixed total price means trading off quality. Law firms look to maximize profit under that flat fee, the thinking goes, and staff those matters with the B-team providing B-level service, so that better (read: more expensive) lawyers can turn their attention elsewhere.
pricing  clients  innovation 
september 2019 by JordanFurlong
After 40 Years of Constant Change, What's Next for the Legal Industry? | The American Lawyer
Technology and artificial intelligence on their own are noteworthy, but what’s more compelling is the impact they will have on how firms are structured.

Mitch Zuklie of Orrick. Cedit: Jason Doiy/ALM.
“Everything that can be taken out of the hands of subject-matter experts and handed over to the process experts and technologists will be,” says Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Chairman and CEO Mitch Zuklie. “There will be far fewer associates sitting in rooms with documents and more strategic partnerships among law firms and legal tech providers.”
future  firms  clients  process  innovation  it  compliance 
september 2019 by JordanFurlong
Economic Uncertainty Is Changing Clients' Expectations - Attorney at Work
Clients are auditioning new law firms. BTI research shows only 38 percent of law firms earn an unprompted recommendation from a client. Client service is the single largest driver behind the coveted unprompted recommendation. Law firms that don’t earn a recommendation are rarely invited back for the big, complex issues. Clients are hunting for the firms that embrace client service along with complexity. Use any lead as an invitation to big-time work — and bring your A+ game. The stakes are bigger than they look.
Interest in alternative fees is surging. Clients are paying more for the new, complex work — leaving less money for other work. They are revisiting AFAs as a source of savings to fund the new, complex matters.
Complex work is officially a growth market. BTI research shows new, complex matters are now growing about 6 percent a year. This means you don’t have to steal that work away from someone else, but you still have to convince a skeptical client to hire you. Not easy, but a touch easier than convincing a client to fire a firm and hire you.
clients  intel 
august 2019 by JordanFurlong
Maroons & Grays: Part 3 - Adam Smith, Esq.
Absolutely wrong.

For starters, both can provide invaluable client service—it’s just “different” client service.

And we did allude earlier to the complexity of managing each type of firm.  Maroons are actually pretty simple to run; for one thing, lawyers have been doing it (it’s the Cravath Model, essentially) for over a century.  Hire great legal talent, love and compensate it generously, and turn away any work that doesn’t have boardroom visibility.

Grays, by contrast, are very challenging to manage effectively, and thus in our book far more intrinsically interesting from the perspective of strategy, finances, and leadership judgment.  Lawyers are one of management’s constituencies, but only one; the business professionals who are experts in process optimization, project management, big data analytics, pricing, and more provide an equally indispensable core competence.  Getting cognitively and intellectually diverse teams to work together and form a more powerful whole—including, critically, in client-facing roles—is far more challenging than identifying the finest lawyer/practitioners in XYZ field and letting them lawyer things.

Here’s a simplistic way of thinking about the two types of firms and the consequences for each of strong or of weak management.
strategy  markets  clients 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Innovation Case Study 1: Levenfeld Pearlstein | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Levenfeld Pearlstein is a 75-lawyer firm in Chicago. Its innovative CEO, Angie Hickey, recently shared her insights at the P3 Conference about how the firm has adopted a corporate style Customer Experience culture that sets it apart.  Their client focus permeates everything the firm does both internally and externally.

The firm was founded in 1999 in large part to create a different kind of law firm, one that was focused on developing loyal client relationships and producing exceptional client value. There are a number of aspects to the firm’s culture that are distinctive and innovative, and they are embodied in their model “The LP Way™.”  Unlike some firms that tout slogans or promote innovative aspects of their client value initiatives without the backing of measurements and frameworks, The LP Way™ actually is a business strategy.  It is used as the basis for how the firm attracts, develops and rewards talent and how it ensures consistency, transparency and satisfaction to clients.

Many years ago, firms began developing client service standards, protocols and strategies.  An example of a firm that was way out in front on this was Miles & Stockbridge who at the direction of their former visionary CEO and Chairman John Frisch, developed a set of client-focused values, a service pledge, a robust client feedback program and policies, programs and training to indoctrinate all lawyers and staff in exceptional client service practices. While some other firms carried through on their promises, many inadequately delivered on the client service pledges they published on their web sites.

innovation  clients  service 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Shouldering More Work, In-House Becomes Selective with Tech Adoption | Legaltech News
When pressed for where technology was expected to deliver the biggest advances in efficiency, 64 percent of respondents said contract management— specifically contract creation, management of the renewal process and risk mitigation. Those considerations may also be driving the ways that companies use AI as well.

According to the survey, 44 respondents indicated that AI is having the biggest impact in contract management and review. E-discovery took the second biggest piece of the pie at 27 percent, followed by managing repeatable legal workflow at 22 percent.

“If you’ve got 200,000 contracts, you can’t take make sense of that on your own. You’ve got to use technology to do that,” Cemenska said.

He pointed to contract analysis tools, where an AI identifies key terms in a document or PDFs to extract and index data, as an example. Once those solutions are in place, it’s easier for an organization to proactively mitigate future risk by, say, identifying problematic clauses hidden within existing contracts.
it  robo  contracts  clients 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Most Companies Will Reduce Legal Spend in the Next 2 Years, Says EY Survey | Legaltech News
“The recruitment challenge for legal teams seeking junior lawyers is to attract them with meaningful work, not routine activities, and demonstrate the potential for career progression,” Paula Hogéus, EY global labor and employment law leader, said in the report.

The options that firm attorneys who want to leave private practice have broadened. Before, firm attorneys would want to go in-house to be more involved with the business. Hogéus said that now lawyers have the option of working on a contractual basis and roles in legal tech startups.

Another issue is finding ways to give new in-house attorneys meaningful work, rather than menial tasks.

“The recruitment challenge for legal teams seeking junior lawyers is to attract them with meaningful work, not routine activities, and demonstrate the potential for career progression,” Hogéus said.

In order to find meaningful tasks for junior in-house employees, businesses are beginning to outsource those more menial tasks. Thirty-three percent of businesses indicated they are already outsourcing tasks such as contract management, entity management and document retention.
clients  recruitment  retention  budgets 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
AI for the Masses: Artificial Intelligence Now an Option for Smaller Practices | Legaltech News
“I think what is going to happen in general in the industry is you’re going to see it be a part of any legal tech product … whether there is an initiative to go out and buy or develop AI products or not,” says Jeff Marple, director of innovation for the legal department at insurance company Liberty Mutual.

Even with these advances though, significant barriers to adoption remain. And the ability to create bespoke, proprietary AI systems is still largely the domain of a well-funded few at the upper echelons of the legal market.

Yet there are some signs that even this is shifting. The rise and continued growth of “productized” AI means the technology can be more accessible to small and mid-sized law firms and legal departments than ever before. AI products will also likely get better and easier to deploy over time, and some legal teams are creatively pushing the limits of what AI can do and be in a market that has traditionally been underserved.

The days where small and mid-sized buyers were little more than an afterthought for AI developers, it seems, are long gone.

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How the Cost was Cut
As AI becomes more of an essential component of legal tech platforms, it’s becoming cheaper to use. Marple notes, “The implementation cost is coming down significantly.” There are several reasons behind this growing affordability, including the advancement of a wholly different technology: cloud computing.

In the past, if someone wanted to bring an advanced technology like AI in-house, they had to support it with physical servers and staff to configure and manage the software—essentially the body and muscles behind the brain. But now, the paradigm has completely shifted, says Ryan Duguid, chief evangelist at workflow automation company Nintex and a tech veteran who previously held various position at Microsoft.
clients  robo  ops 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
Q&A: What Microsoft's Legal Ops Director Has Learned From 10+ Years of Using ALSPs | Legaltech News
Corporate Counsel: What have you learned from your initial working relationships with ALSPs?
Tom Orrison: Make sure you really do partner with your alternative legal service provider. Make sure you bring them in, educate them about your business, let them know what you care about and paint a very clear picture of what success looks like. Then monitor and track that.

CC: How do you monitor that?

TO: We typically have technology to track individual items. We track service-level agreements, types of requests. And we have key performance indicators that we try to meet every month.

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If things aren’t going well, we have an early line of sight, so we can address those issues and course correct. We have very open and honest discussions about how to fix it. We try not to frame those problems as, “Hey provider, do better.” It’s more, ‘What’s the problem? And can we do something to help?”

CC: Are there still some challenges when it comes to in-house counsel using ALSPs?

TO: I’ve worked with attorneys for my entire professional career, over 20 years. They’re trained to be risk-averse.

Make sure they’re comfortable that what you’re doing is relatively low-risk compared to other legal work. If you can get them in a position where they understand that there are higher-value tasks they could be focused on if we took some of the tasks off their plate, that helps.

Make sure you pull the attorneys in, that they understand what is going on with continual status reports, updates, that they get to meet the team. Those things do help smooth things out and make them work better.
ops  clients  IT 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
Corporate Law On Verge of Making Things Simpler with Complex Analytics | Legaltech News
Compelling and statistically accurate, at least according to HBR’s survey. The large portion of respondents, 41 percent, categorized data science and analytics as a “medium priority,” while 38 percent identified as being in the early planning stages. As for the two extremes, 16 percent of respondents called data science and analytics as a “high priority,” while only 6 percent said it was “not a priority.”

Baker posited several theories as to why analytics may be bounding up the ladder, ranging from the sophistication of the tools now available to the general wealth of data resting at a company’s fingertips. Still, while more companies may be engaging with analytics, they’re not all doing it at the same level or even with the same goal in mind. Baker alluded to a general progression in ambition that emerges as law departments start to become more comfortable with data and analytics.
clients  data  analytics 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
What Do In-House Lawyers Want From Law Firm CLE? : Blog
This recent In-House Focus survey of in-house lawyers concerning their own experiences with law firm CLE provides some interesting perspectives on these topics. For example:

– 70% of survey respondents said CLE programming should feature diverse lawyers, presenters and faculty. But just 30% of respondents agreed that diversity is adequately represented in current CLE content. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that participating in CLE programming is an effective way for law firms to connect diverse lawyers to clients.

– 52% of respondents to IHF’s survey agreed that law firms should do a better job of facilitating introductions of their diverse lawyers to their clients, while just 5% disagreed. Further, 62% believe CLE programming is a good way to cultivate relationships between diverse lawyers and clients.

– 62% of respondents believe law firm CLE is not adequately tailored to in-house lawyers. Additionally, two-thirds agree that CLE content is more tailored to law firm practitioners than in-house lawyers. In fact, another 79% of respondents said they would be more inclined to watch a CLE program that included in-house lawyers as presenters who speak to their issues.

– When asked what are some things that would make CLE more pertinent to in-house lawyers, many responses revolved around the need for real-world examples. Some responses included: “concepts to reduce outside legal expenses,” “when to involve outside counsel and how to engage them,” and “case studies and sample scenarios from current in-house lawyers.”
cle  clients 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC’s 2019 Growing Pains | TechLaw Crossroads
But here’s the real rub: even if law firms become members, unless and until law firm management decides to participate as opposed to offering up those who can’t make fundamental strategic decisions, I’m not sure that CLOC and its conference will be able to drive the kind of changes or meaningful dialogue it wants. Talk to any legal/tech vendor and they will tell you the hardest thing about marketing to law firms is that the decision maker is rarely in the room for the pitch and will only get a summary from someone else two or three times removed. Too many law firms still manage themselves with lawyers and either don’t invite the other legal personal that don’t happen to be lawyers (to avoid using the “non” word) to the strategic table or don’t listen to them if they do. It’s all well and good for legal ops people in firms to get to participate and dialogue with corporate CLOC members but until they can actually drive change in their firms, progress will be slow.


Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the clients, the legal departments

Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the client and their legal departments. The people in these departments are already members and are having real conversations about what needs to change and how to do achieve these changes.  So adding law firm members who often are dragging their feet and reluctant at best to change may lead to little more than frustration.

The best solution may be for CLOC to turn its law firm membership into a selective one: you have to be invited in and meet certain criteria and make certain commitments to participate. While O’Carroll and the CLOC Board didn’t say that this was the plan, it appears to me at least to be where CLOC is headed. Such a plan would insure CLOC would get the kind of law firm participants and leaders it wants and needs without getting the kind that add nothing but heartburn.
ops  clients 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
New Littler 'On Demand' App Has a Human Side: Shift Lawyers | The American Lawyer
Clients will use the service by submitting questions on a newly built app, either via mobile or desktop. If the question has already been asked in an organization, it will elicit previous attorney responses. And for new inquiries, on-call Littler “on-demand” attorneys—who have an average of 15 years of experience and will work a set shift—will work to generate real-time answers. They can either respond directly or collaborate with Littler attorneys with more specialized knowledge on particularly complex questions.

Fees will range from traditional hourly rates, blended rates or any other arrangements sought by clients. Regardless, Forman said that the expense for clients would be less than the cost of salary and benefits for new in-house counsel.

Clients will also have access to a dashboard that shows what other questions are being asked, in order to gain a picture of other issues or concerns that they should have on their radar. Forman gave the example of a wage and hour question that might alert a client to a compliance issue or stimulate an opportunity for further training.

The new platform also relies on a recognition that the traditional law firm career progression does not work for everyone.

“For years, you would come in as a lawyer and then be on the partnership track or no longer at a firm,” Forman said. “We’re very cognizant that today’s lawyers are looking for different things.”

He added that many lawyers who moved in-house seeking greater certainty about their hours were encountering some of the same expectations they faced at firms.

“This delivers what most people mistakenly believe the in-house position offers: a set schedule, working on interesting legal issues for important clients,” Forman said of the “on demand” lawyers, who essentially work as an extension of the client’s legal team.
clients  talent  flex  it  ops 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Engagement and Encouragement: How In-House Directors Drive Tech Adoption | Legaltech News
Although the road to new tech may be laborious, the tech directors agreed there are some universal objectives that, if met, could deliver high usage. According to the panel, strategies to successfully implement new technology include: obtaining the GC-level blessing that’ll sway the c-suite and employees, and training that takes the suggestions and concerns of users seriously. In addition, it’s also important to encourage a perspective of adopting new technology as part of a new culture in the legal department and not a project with an eventual end date, and ensuring the new process focuses on storing and collecting data in a central location, the panel said.
change  clients  it 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Who Does Your Law FIrm Serve? - Adam Smith, Esq.
I said a moment ago that we worry about firms’ perseverance and diligence in executing every material element of a plan, but I wasn’t quite leveling with you.  If other priorities are expressed–greater collaboration, disinvestment in particular practice areas, more authority and accountability given to business professionals (for example)–then yes, we hope the firm will be conscientious, thorough, and determined in pursuing them, but the “clients first” bothers us in a way we’ve struggled to articulate for some time.  Now we think we have a hypothesis that might clarify this.  Here’s Part 1 of the hypothesis:

Many lawyers do not understand that they’re in a client service business.

They may, and usually do, pay it lip service, but in their core they don’t act it out.
firms  partners  clients  purpose 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
In-House Innovation: Managed Service Providers Targeting Corporate Law | Legaltech News
“We know the quality [of a law firm] is excellent,” Stockton noted. “The law firms are trusted; we’ve worked with them for a long time, but are we paying the appropriate amount.”

However, a larger disruption in the market is afoot with corporate legal departments actively looking for ways to measure a law firm’s quality compared to vendors, Stockton said. One area that is easy to gauge is e-discovery.

“If you think about e-discovery, we can measure the accuracy of what is being done,” Stockton said, adding if the service provider has provided identical results to a law firm, “there’s no incentive to use a law firm.”

Ultimately what in-house legal departments are often looking for is a single one-stop shop for legal services.

“I want to see the legal management service providers rebundle so we can go to one provider,” Stockton said.”
newlaw  clients 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Marketing With Metrics: Proving Legal’s Value Is More Than Just Spend | Legaltech News
But even so, a focus on dollars and cents also can be a driver for change. “If we are being forced constantly to drive value and be more cost-efficient, then we should look at ourselves as a business,  Stewart said. “And perhaps there’s an argument that we should be driving revenue ourselves and contribute to the business. … And second, if you’re a business, you need to think about marketing and marketing strategy. You need to get yourself out there.”

Marketing With Metrics
Indeed, the need to market oneself came through as an underrated reason to engage in metrics. Ranganathan explained that the ACC focuses on a few main drivers of metrics:

Creating visibility;
Gauging performance of organization;
Identifying opportunities to drive improvement;
Supporting goals; and
Supporting narratives with data.
Ranganathan noted that the last is the most important. “You really are then able to make your case more effectively. That’s really marketing yourself.”

This means not only marketing within an organization but perhaps to law firm partners as well. Stewart noted that his department has used metrics to right-size the moderate risk profile they want firms to adopt. “We have to say to them, look as a bank, we have to take some risk, because without risk there’s no reward. But you also don’t want too much risk,” Stewart said.

For him, this means “that not every piece of advice needs to be gold-plated. You don’t need a Rolls-Royce or a Cadillac every time you’re asked for it.”
clients  metrics 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
New Take on 'Mansfield Rule' Sets In-House Diversity Goals | Corporate Counsel
The Mansfield Rule isn’t just for law firms anymore.
On Thursday the Diversity Lab, an incubator focused on diversity and inclusion issues in the legal industry, launched the newest iteration of its campaign to boost diversity in legal departments and outside counsel ranks.

“Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition” will require participating in-house legal teams to consider at least 50 percent women, minority lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities as applicants for key leadership roles. Legal departments that sign on are also asked to consider at least 50 percent diverse lawyers for outside counsel hires for new or expanded work.
clients  women  diversity 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Innovation and the 2019 State of the Corporate Law Departments Report | Legal Executive Institute
And a number of key findings in the report support that last lever about innovation, such as:

Innovation has a positive effect on how external firms view in-house departments — Corporate law departments that embrace innovation are seen as 10% more effective by external lawyers. In-house lawyers who recognize their law firms as innovative are also given about 5% higher performance ratings across all criteria, according to Acritas data. The indicators of innovation include using technology, applying alternative pricing models, resourcing matters with contract lawyers or legal managed services, and delivering strong lawyer training and knowledge-sharing capabilities.

Use of technology is up among law departments of all sizes — Large law departments lead the way, with 63% increasing their use of legal tech. Small law departments are next, with 52% increasing their use of tech. Overall, 45% of law departments surveyed by Acritas are increasing the application of technology to their work.

Two of the biggest barriers to innovation are lack of time and a risk-averse mindset — One of the key ways to deliver efficiency and quality is the existence of a dedicated legal operations function. More than 50% of corporate law department in the study now are staffed with legal operations professionals. Many of those professionals are charged with leading innovation initiatives and finding ways to automate processes and legal work.
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Safety, Diversity & Inclusion at the Top of GM's Firm-Selection Process | Corporate Counsel
Hundreds of law firms had been working with General Motors over the years, according to executive vice president and general counsel Craig Glidden, who said that was far too many. Inspired by CEO Mary Barra’s mission to change how GM does business, he and a team of in-house lawyers found a way to whittle down the number of firms the company uses and make sure those firms reflect GM values.
“I think she has really led a transformation of the company in dealing with the future of mobility, whether that be dealing with electric vehicles or autonomous vehicles,” Glidden said of Barra during an interview on Tuesday.

Glidden said as much as the legal department wanted good business partners,
convergence  clients 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong
The Next Recession Could Cost 10,000 Lawyers Their Jobs | The American Lawyer
As a looming recession approaches, a look at history, plus some judgment, can tell us a lot about how organizations will manage their lawyer numbers once it arrives. It’s a clear, disturbing and instructive tale.
Let’s start with some history. In studying the trends in U.S. lawyer head count over the last 20 years, both in-house and at major law firms, one thing jumps out: the stark difference before and after the 2008 recession. Before 2008, all segments were growing; after 2008, in-house lawyer growth accelerated while growth in law firms ground to a halt.

Why the change? A different purchasing environment has held sway at client organizations since the recession. There’s been a rejection of ever-increasing hourly rates for the commodity offerings from much of Big Law. We’ve witnessed the rise of the ambidextrous general counsel, taking work away from overpriced firms with one hand while using the other to execute it in-house or move it to lower-cost firms and nontraditional providers.
recession  clients  firms  admission  schools 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong
Litigation Funders Push Back Against In-House Lawyers' Call for Disclosure | The Recorder
Litigation funders have responded forcefully to a group of in-house lawyers who are asking for more fulsome disclosures of third-party funding in federal litigation.
A group of 30 current and former top lawyers at major companies including Google, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. signed onto a letter last month backing a proposed amendment to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A) that would require the full disclosure of third-party funding agreements in civil actions.

In response, leaders from three major litigation funders Wednesday fired off their own letter to the committee at the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, which is considering the proposed changes. They call the in-house lawyers’ letter ”a PR stunt” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, which has sought to reign in the litigation finance industry. The in-house counsels’ request, the funders wrote, amounts to “a push for forced disclosure of irrelevant information that one party is simply curious to know.”
clients  litigation  financing  ethics 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
What Does the Big 4's Legal Tech Push Mean for Law Firms? | Legaltech News
He considers the legal managed services aspect of EY’s business to be different from the track taken by traditional law firms, which Grossmann characterized as operating in the “high-end legal advice” domain.

If that’s true, then the real question may be how much longer law firms can afford to operate that way once high-end advice starts looking like less of a niche. Per Grossmann, EY is already making strides on the advisory side of the equation by onboarding legal talent to service clients and fill in any gaps left by technology.

“But at the same time we’re investing heavily in legal operations, which is really our new line of business, which is where we address the needs of legal functions which are not directly related to the main knowledge,” Grossmann said.

To be sure, law firms are investing in those resources too. The firm of Bird & Bird, for example, also employs Luminance. However, according to IT director Karen Jacks, clients rarely ask for a specific brand of legal tech by name. Instead, they express the same interest in efficiency and expediency that Grossmann identified at EY.
accountants  ops  clients  competition 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Are Lawyers Ready to Be Managed by Metrics? | Legaltech News
But it likely wouldn’t stop there, the executive says. It is likely that, if such information existed, the company that owned it would serve as a marketplace for lawyers. It would match its knowledge of lawyers’ work and price history with clients’ desires.

“Take the Uber analysis and imagine ‘Lawber,’” the executive says. “That’s the way our clients will, in a few years from now, buy our legal services. They will say, ‘Here is my problem, and here are my levers: price, quality, safety.’ There is a mixture there that they can select, and then out comes a law firm or a legal team that is assigned the work.”

The executive suggests that consulting firms like the Big Four or billing technology providers are best positioned to serve this role in the market. The key is having a platform that has analyzed a vast enough swath of legal purchases and prices to set the market.
data  clients  firms  pricing  value  metrics 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Putting Intelligence in BP Decision Makers’ Hands (Live #ArkLib) - Prism Legal
The change in role in Angela’s 10 years has been to a focus today to “cutting edge next-generation intelligence service” to support delivering more energy to the world with less impact on the world (the “dual challenge”).

For the next 10 years, how do we build capability that helps BP make the right decision about delivering new energy sources in new ways. The intelligence function is key to support this initiative. The forces affecting BP include going digital, a more mobile population, and the need to store energy.

Beyond traditional library / research support, the Tech Intel function tracks conferences and events. Increasingly, some of the key insights today are more likely at a conference than in the literature.

Today, there is more emphasis on tracking and analyzing patents. Analytic tools for patents have really improved in last decades. Today, patent analytics is more important than pure patent search. The key is actionable insight. For example, analyzing a company’s patents can provide an understanding of what direction it is heading.
intel  km  clients 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Partnering with Clients to Drive Practical Innovation (Live #ArkLib) - Prism Legal
To get to the new approach at retail company, firm had to actively engage the client, at outset and ongoing basis. The legal ops person had to take chance to push for change in her company. The firm helped the legal ops person with the internal corporate selling. One in-house lawyer was very resistant. Firm helped legal ops sell the engagement on a fixed fee basis.

The key point here is that this program is very close to revenue. Toby worked with the lawyer to sell new business. Client reaction was very positive and included several tweaks in approach over time (a few months since it went live). Gwyn reports there were weekly meetings initially.

For this engagement, technology was a minor piece. The big piece was changing the process.

Gwyn explains how to approach clients with innovation. Start by working client to explain the approach, gain buy-in. KM is involved, not directly with the selling, but with Toby to make sure delivery will work and be profitable. In that initial phase, firm does some process mapping with client. That’s part of initial scoping discussion.

Next step is to build proof of concept. Direct client contact by KM becomes very important here because the firm needs to collect a lot of detail from the client. Gwyn notes that lawyers don’t usually like to sit through these meetings. But multiple iterations were required to collect the right information to handle each matter appropriately.

Once the design was done, the firm had to execute on the mechanics of doing the work. For example, associates were not part of client discussion. They need to be informed how to handle the work. Key success factors include:
firms  clients  innovation  km 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Mandatory Budgets? At a Law Firm? You Have Got to Be … Thompson Hine | The American Lawyer
Despite the unanimous agreement to budget all matters, it was not without some resistance. After announcing the policy, some partners, in jest, compared Lamb to Hernán Cortés, the Spanish general who in 1519 ordered his troops to burn their ships on the shores of Mexico as they prepared for battle.

But there was no going back, Lamb said.

“Lawyers are like cats. They don’t like to be herded,” Lamb said. “But I had learned over time that if you tell professionals what you really expect from them and hold them to it, they respond much better than if you just ask.”

Read said the firm’s strategy in spreading adoption of the tool worked. “We got more core converts and more secondary adopters,” she said.

Better Budgets
More law departments are requiring that their outside counsel provide budgets for legal matters. At companies with more than 51 in-house lawyers, 64 percent of general counsel require budgets from their law firm partners, according to a 2018 Altman Weil survey. That figure is up from 57 percent the year prior.

Still, general counsel are somewhat frustrated by the results. More than 1 in 5 general counsel said requiring budgets did not result in significant cost control improvements. That was the highest rate of dissatisfaction among 15 different strategies to control costs, such as shifting work to lower cost firms or using alternative fees.

One reason for the frustration may be that having a budget doesn’t mean you will stick to it. Read and Lamb are now fighting that battle at Thompson Hine.

The firm’s budgeting system is tied in with real-time billing data, and the system sends Lamb alerts when lawyers are going over budget for particular phases of the matter. When those alerts first started rolling in, Lamb said he would call partners and ask what was sending the case over budget. That led to some “culture shock,” Lamb said, where partners would push back against having “their” matters managed by the firm.

His response: “It’s the firm’s case. It’s the firm’s resources. You’re putting the firm’s associates on the matter. And the firm has some say in how you use its resources.”

Lamb now has a paralegal who handles those conversations, which he says are becoming smoother.
process  budgets  clients  firms  innovation  management  leadership 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Too Much Money To Care About Efficiency? A New York Conversation – Artificial Lawyer
AL: [Thinks to self – what do you mean? You mean you’re a firm that doesn’t want to be more efficient?] How?

WS: We focus on higher value advice.

AL: Sure. Of course. But you do a lot of M&A, right? And that means that you need to do M&A due diligence? And you don’t want to use any of these tools to improve efficiency?

WS: Well, we do M&A, yes. But things like due diligence…..we….er…..well….sometimes other parties handle that type of work.

AL: Oh, OK. Fair enough. That’s interesting. So you don’t do any of your own doc review? You send it all out to LPOs and other, maybe less expensive law firms?

WS: [Long pause. Evasive look.] Sometimes we work with other firms on this kind of need.

AL: But not always then? Sometimes you do your own due diligence reviews then? Right..?

WS: [Can clearly see where this is going. If they say yes, then the next question will be: why don’t you seek to be more efficient?] Well, yes…..of course…….but…..well, that’s not really where the firm is most focused.

[Long pause. WS is clearly very keen to find someone else to talk to.]

AL: But, if you were doing your own reviews, which it seems that you are….I mean…don’t the clients want you to be more efficient…don’t they care about that kind of thing……..?

WS: [Smiles nervously and wanders off.]
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Outside Law Firm Panel Convergence – Innovation Driver or Innovation Destroyer? | DennisKennedy.Blog
Stories abound these days about general counsels wanting their outside law firms to help them with innovation and technology efforts. My own conversations indicate that the real wish goes a step further. General counsel want their outside firms to bring them measurable value with innovation and technology initiatives that align with their legal and, more importantly, business goals. Even a quick scan of a recent survey results from Thompson Hine will have you agreeing with their assessment that there is an “Innovation Gap.” Only 29% of participants said that their outside firms have brought them “significant” innovation.
convergence  clients  firms  innovation 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
GCs Are Offering Work on a Silver Platter—and Law Firms Aren't Taking It | Corporate Counsel
There are two main buckets of data. There is data on spending and data on matters. Clients want both. On the spending side, Altman Weil’s Rees Morrison talked about a finding in his company’s CLO survey in which nearly 73 percent of chief legal officers said none of their top 10 law firms provides useful data on spending. None!
On the matter side, DHL Supply Chain Americas GC Mark Smolik gave an example of what he wishes law firms would do—and it’s something none of his firms ever has. He suggested a firm might want to look at, say, all of the employment cases emanating out of his California warehouses. Maybe they find that 50 percent of the cases are coming from one warehouse, and one person is the culprit. The GC can then take that information to its business units and work out a solution. It makes the GC look good and it makes the law firm look good to provide that kind of actionable intelligence. Other GCs echoed similar requests during Legalweek’s Business of Law Forum.

There was a suggestion by one panelist that perhaps law firms aren’t incentivized to present those types of data-driven solutions because it could put them out of work, or at least out of some work. The panelist suggested law departments may need to find a way to pay for such advice.

It seems to me that there is a clear opportunity for law firms here to use the data they have to engender trust and kudos—and just maybe some more work—from their clients.
data  clients  analytics  firmds 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Walmart's In-House Counsel Tells How the Retail Giant Is Changing Its Legal Ops | Corporate Counsel
He explained that until the turn of this century, the large retailer was heavily leveraging outside counsel and realized that, along with the policy of taking all cases to trial, needed to change. The first issue that Walmart needed to fix was a lack of centralization in the legal department.
Walmart’s legal department first put all of their outside counsel on the same engagement letter—they decided to have the same terms for all outside counsel.

“What we had found is that sometimes with the same firm, we would have different engagement letters,” Bryan explained.

Walmart’s legal department then took all of the data it collected over the years and organized it to be easily searchable.

“We wanted to be able to accomplish an accurate way of reporting out on things like spend and the performance of outside counsel,” Bryan said.

There was also a turn toward time-saving technology that would allow lawyers to take more time to focus on more difficult tasks.

“We announced a partnership with a company called LegalMation and we’re using software to take a complaint filed against the company—generally speaking in tort and in general litigation matters—feeding that complaint into the system and the system, within two minutes, kicks out an answer, a first set of interrogatories and a first set of requests for production. That is reviewed by an attorney but what we’ve found is that it is saving 60 to 70 percent of the time that would normally take to review that complaint,” Bryan explained.
clients  it  process 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
There’s A New World Coming | Above the Law
Use of all these methods are increasing, according to the 2018 Blickstein Group Law Department Operations Survey, published in collaboration with Consilio, which is out today.

“The legal services delivery model is now perceived as an ecosystem of providers,” said Robin Snasdell, managing director and group lead for law department management consulting at Consilio. “Now, who does the work is optimally the right resource at the right cost with the right credentials. It’s no longer necessarily about which law firm partner went to law school with in-house counsel. It’s a revolution of sorts.”

Most corporations’ legal work is still handled by law firms, and that is a sacred relationship that will continue. Yet, as the survey illustrates, LDO professionals are exploring, and often embracing, new developments and opportunities. In fact, almost 78 percent say they use ALSPs, most frequently for document review, contract review, due diligence, and contract drafting. This is probably the single best piece of evidence that the duopoly is breaking down.
clients  competition  newlaw 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Driving Analytics Into Practice: Advice from the Data Driven Lawyers | Dewey B Strategic
Overcoming Resistance. Readers who have met resistance from lawyers when they tried to introduce analytics products in their firms will find some insights to justify exploration of analytics products in their firms. Of course every new technology introduces new risks as well as rewards. Back in the 1980’s some lawyers refused to try the early versions of Lexis and Westlaw. Some lawyers relied on online research results without understanding the limits of the content or the ineffectiveness of their search strategy.  We face  similar  risks with  analytics. both Reckless and uninformed over reliance on  analytics could have adverse consequences and slow adoption.
data  analytics  change  clients 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Legal’s 2019 Tech Challenge: Getting Everyone on the Same Page | Corporate Counsel
For many legal departments, the demands of 2019 will not be much different from recent years: Do more work with less resources.

“The scope of work in many legal functions has increased, and the amount of work various legal teams are tasked with [has increased], with not significant increases in their ­budgets or headcount,” says Sowmyan “Sam” Ranganathan, senior director of information governance and legal ops at pharmaceutical company AbbVie and chair of the ­Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) legal operations group.

Facing such belt-tightening, legal departments are striving to elicit efficiencies by learning skills like project management and, equally as important, leveraging legal technology.

Ranganathan says that for many this year, such technology will likely include contract management and workflow automation products. But there are other platforms corporate legal teams are eyeing to streamline their operations as well.
clients  it  process  newlaw  innovation 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Bricklayers and Architects (080) | Legal Evolution
One way to find out what our client likes is to ask her about other similar matters she has dealt with directly or observed. What did she like or dislike about those situations looking past the specific outcome? Was the resolution too slow? Did it consume too much of her time? Did the framing of the issue cut against her general policy agenda? There are many tactical choices that can help us align how we achieve an outcome with our client’s preferences. How we drive outcomes can differentiate us as more than a technician. Architecting tactical selections that advance the outcome and support our client’s larger goals marks us as strategic advisors.
clients  design  diversity 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC London – Getting To Grips With Data + Better Contracting – Artificial Lawyer
Artificial Lawyer attended the CLOC EMEA conference in London yesterday, and as well as meeting and chatting with an array of great legal innovation and legal ops folk, managed to attend a couple of sessions. The first was on data in the inhouse world, the other was on rationalising contract processes and legal automation.

The two sessions neatly summed up the wide range of experiences across the inhouse legal world, ranging from elementary needs such as collecting data on which law firms you are using, to creating massive clause banks and working with LPOs and a range of tech companies to drive document automation at a truly industrial scale.
ops  metrics  clients  change 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Greasing The Gears Of Legal Commerce — Automatic, Systematic, Hydromatic ( Innovation | Above the Law
CLIENT PROBLEM: clients approach leading law firms (the only organization in the United States who can practice law) with a legal problem, and seek proposals to solve it;
VIRTUOUS CYCLE / SOLUTION DESIGN: law firms weigh the cost and benefits of various courses of action, and propose solutions;
BUY BUILD OR PARTNER: these solutions would include both their legal expertise, AND best-in-class technology, outside services and financing, all of which would be designed to lower costs and risks, and improve legal outcomes;
CLIENT-SIDE BUYING SOPHISTICATION: the law firm with the best proposal would be selected;
FIRM-SIDE EXECUTION: Law firm would serve as general contractor, executing the proposed solution as promised;
COMMERCIAL LOYALTY (NOT JUST <3): if the solution was successful, this strategy would please the client encouraging them to use the law firm more in the future, while also encouraging others clients;
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING: the law firm would advertise their win, and have outsized odds of picking up more like clients;
RIGOROUS REPORTING: the legal media would also pick up the innovative story and speed the adoption of the technologies, services and financing used by the law firm;
SMART CAPITAL: venture capital and strategic buyers would increase investment and acquisition of similar solutions, making them better and better, faster and faster!
RINSE & REPEAT: Well, you get the picture!
The Red Pill: The Real World We Occupy Today

Well, anyone who works at the intersection of law and innovation today knows we are far from this ideal state. In order to grease the gears of commerce, we first have to diagnose the barriers preventing the best of all possible worlds.

We identified three categories of barriers that slow the pace of innovation, each at different points in the go-to-market process: (1) being presented to buyers; (2) being adopted by a critical mass of clients, and; (3) being rewarded by the market.
innovation  firms  clients 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Davis Polk Launches Breach Notification Assessment Portal | Legaltech News
Davis Polk & Wardwell has announced the launch of a new cybersecurity assessment portal that helps clients identify their notification requirements under state, federal and international  laws after they experience a cyberattack or breach.
The web-based portal also offers automated notification letter templates that satisfy pertinent cyber breach notification laws.

Avi Gesser, a Davis Polk partner who also runs the firm’s incident response group, said the idea of the portal came from many clients struggling to comply with multiple state and federal breach identification laws.
The notification assessment tool in the portal asks if the client owns or processes certain data, and if the client is regulated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or other U.S. laws. Further questions include if the data breached was in electronic or physical form, the types of personal information breached, and what state the client conducts business in.

Gesser explained that very often the guidance the firm provides to a client was generalized from a specific question a client asked. He also noted breach notification statutes updated by legislation or case law are also updated in the portal.

The portal also provides “tabletop exercises” to mock a standard breach, ransomware attack, or a cloud breach, and checklists to help clients prepare for cyber incidents. Gesser noted that companies can use the portal’s tabletop exercises to demonstrate their cybersecurity preparedness to regulators, specifically in terms of their breach notification obligations. 

In a presentation shown to Legaltech News, Gesser showcased sections of the portal that included a ransom checklist that lists what to do when a client pays or doesn’t pay a ransom, or when its vendor is breached and data is held for ransom.

The program also supplies a General Data Protection Regulation breach notification checklist, a data process assessment checklist and sample notices used to alert authorities and individuals of compliance. Gesser noted, however, that the GDPR checklist doesn’t include templates for breach notifications because EU countries haven’t provided all of their guidance for the regulation that went into effect May 25.
innovation  clients  cybersecurity  robo 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Report Proves What We Already Knew: Clients Will Pay Any Fee Hike To Get Brand Name Firms | Above the Law
Whenever firms start chattering about a salary increase or a bump in bonuses, the same clients come out of the woodwork to complain that they will not under any circumstances pay more to finance these “exorbitant” associate salaries. Then every single one of them falls in line and pays the newly hiked fees and the whole legal world keeps on spinning.

At least that’s what happens at the elite firms. The mid-tier firms — which increasingly means “the Am Law 51-100” — don’t necessarily have that luxury. For these firms trying to keep up with the big dogs in the drive for talent, it’s harder to pass the cost onto the client, resulting in thinner margins and stressing the firm.

This has long been the conventional wisdom among legal industry observers, but the new Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group Report went out and actually gathered some hard data to see if our gut instincts are correct. It turns out… they are.
clients  firms  brand 
december 2018 by JordanFurlong
Opinion: if you want to cut legal bills, give clear instructions and use technology | Financial Times
So how does an organisation best manage legal costs? Can technology make a difference?

Some lawyers insist they should be paid by the hour. This can make sense in certain situations where the time a task can take is not certain. In litigation, this form of charging remains the basis of cost recovery by the winning side against the losing side.

Often, however, there is no adequate reason for the hourly rate; it simply suits the law firm. Just as a carpenter would quote on the price for a chair regardless of the hours it will take, so an experienced lawyer should be able to quote a set fee for drafting a legal instrument or providing an opinion. Few things are genuinely so uncertain that an estimate is not possible, even if that estimate needs variation later.

We need no longer be in the days of Charles Dickens, when the law was notoriously loaded in the favour of the lawyers.

The best way for a business to manage legal costs is to be clear what it wants from lawyers and to force them to be clear about what they offer. There is no need for businesses to go along with the old methods of law firm partnerships. For discrete pieces of work, a company can engage individual lawyers at a far cheaper rate than the partner of a top law firm, who would usually delegate the task anyway.

Technology can make a difference to legal costs. Most undertakings — especially processes — can often be cheaper or better controlled. Automation can make expensive exercises such as due diligence and discovery less time-consuming and labour-intensive. Sharing documents and editing in real time can mean limiting the lucrative pantomime of lawyers swapping versions, deleting what the other side has suggested and so on as time runs down. Time recording and project management software can keep track of costs.

But technology can only help so much. To manage legal costs directly needs a change in attitude as well as new hardware or software.

Take, for example, obtaining legal advice on whether a proposed commercial course of action is permitted and how any risks can be minimised. Unclear instructions can lead to extensive advice packed with disclaimers and provisos. Maybe the costs have risen because lawyers keep seeking clarification and information to understand exactly what they are being asked.

Or take transactional work, where lawyers on both sides of a deal negotiate and then provide a suite of contractual documentation for an asset purchase or share acquisition. Costs in high-value transactions can escalate rapidly, with both sets of lawyers repeatedly sending each other amendments and revised drafts that are of marginal, if any, consequence to the deal. It is almost as if such deals were a scheme for lawyers to charge as much as possible.
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
6 Law Firms That Became Software Developers This Fall | The American Lawyer
If necessity isn’t the mother of all invention then it’s certainly a close relative. Law firms have begun moonlighting as software developers to help make day-to-day operations run more efficiently, provide better service to clients or just to keep the lights from going out.
innovation  firms  it  clients 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Offering Flat-Fee, Limited-Scope Legal Help, New Site Sounds Like Avvo Legal Services, But with Key Differences | LawSites
Marchbanks founded the site together with Amber M. Rush, his partner in his Washington law practice and CEO of Basic Counsel, and two developers. They have been developing the concept for the site since before Avvo Legal Services launched, he says. Their goal was to develop a better and more transparent way for consumers to shop for legal services and for attorneys to commoditize at scale the cookbook-type services they provide. Ultimately, they believe, their platform could help narrow the gap in access to justice.

In posting packages to the site, attorneys are asked to outline and describe the steps involved in performing a service. These outlines serve two purposes. They help consumers understand the scope of a service before purchasing it. And, once the service is purchased, the outline keeps both the client and the attorney informed of the progress of the matter.

Both the client and the attorney can track and manage their cases through a dashboard. The steps outlined for the service are added to the dashboard and the system reminds attorneys of tasks due to be performed. Once the task is performed, the attorney checks a box and the client is notified automatically. That may trigger a next step for either the client or the attorney. In this way, the platform functions as a project-management tool, Marchbanks says.

An attorney can modify steps or timelines “within reason,” Marchbanks says, but the attorney must adhere to the quoted fee.
access  clients  process  ethics 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
NPS For Law Firms | Clio
What is NPS?
A Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a metric commonly used to rate customer satisfaction, calculated based on answers to the question “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend my service to a friend or colleague?” Based on their answer, NPS survey respondents are sorted into Promoters (9 or 10), or people who would actively promote your service, Neutrals (7 or 8 ), people who would be neutral, and Detractors (0-6), people who would actively be negative about your service.

How to calculate your law firm’s NPS
Calculate your law firm’s NPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This will give you an NPS score ranging between -100 to +100.

Companies typically send NPS surveys to their clients at various stages along the customer journey to get more detailed insights into different aspects of the customer experience. Businesses will also ask for opportunities to improve the client experience, thereby improving their NPS. Plenty of law firms calculate their NPS to help keep themselves on-track to deliver an amazing client experience.

Best practices for measuring NPS at your law firm
To get an accurate read on NPS at your law firm, and to make sure you’re interpreting results the right way, you’ve got to follow a few key best practices.

Keep the question consistent
It might be tempting to tweak the “how likely are you to recommend …” question asked above after you’ve been sending out NPS surveys for a little while. Don’t do it. Changing the question might influence client responses, meaning you won’t have an accurate read on NPS.

Plus, the idea of NPS is tied fairly closely to the question framed above as-is, with only slight variations. Depending on your firm’s primary practice areas, you may want to stick to “a friend” or “a colleague” instead of “a friend or colleague,” but in most cases it will make sense to keep it broad: Your family law clients may have colleagues who ask for family lawyer recommendations, and your corporate law clients may have friends in the business community who ask for recommendations for a great business lawyer.

Be mindful of timing
The timing of an NPS survey can influence the result: For example, if you send a
NPS  clients  service 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Big Law Should Raise Partner Billing Rates 10+ Percent Now |
The connection between delegation and partner billing rates isn’t entirely obvious but it’s real. Many partners recognize that much of the work they do is not true partner-level work. Hence, they are wary about charging full partner billing rates; but rather than delegating (as they should), they appease their conscience by shaving a little off their billing rates. Despite this back-pressure, the failure to delegate results in unnecessarily-increased client fees and also denies associates learning opportunities and disinclines partners from doing that which they should be doing, i.e. going out and finding more high-quality work. Raising partners’ billing rates assertively will push back on this dynamic, increase delegation, lower fees, and thus help stem the contraction in market demand.
On the issue of re-balancing where margin is generated, let’s again start with two observations. The first is that, over time, technology will continue to reduce the demand for junior lawyer time relative to that of senior lawyers. The second is that today’s billing rates generate higher margin on junior lawyer time than on senior lawyer time. To see this latter, take a look at the amount by which billing rates exceed compensation (converted to an hourly equivalent) by lawyer cohort. What you’ll find is that billing rates are 4.5 to 5.0 times compensation for junior associates and only 3.5 to 4.0 times compensation for senior associates and counsel. Again, linking the two observations: Big Law is on a path to see margins and profitability diminish as technology continues to erode the demand for junior lawyer time.

Big Law’s margin structure is befuddling. It is inverted relative to all other businesses—all others charge a higher mark up on their higher-value products—e.g. in the rag trade, the mark up on haute couture is much higher than that on prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear). The inversion is the cumulative effect of many years of raising associate rates more than partner rates while being careful not to let senior associate and counsel rates come too close to junior partner rates. Clients are instinctively aware of the nonsense that associate billing rates have become; that’s why they say they see the value in partner billing rates but balk at the junior associate rates. The truly weird part is that Big Law’s wacky billing rate structure is entirely of its own making. Clients care greatly about the total fee charged; they care little about how that total is arrived at in the law firm’s billing system.
partners  pricing  compensation  clients 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Bloomberg Law to Offer Lawyer-Client Representation Analysis – Artificial Lawyer
The company representation tool does not seek to make predictions on a lawyer’s likely success, but instead seeks to give inhouse legal teams, or rival law firms, a blueprint of that lawyer’s working life: who they’ve helped, what trends can be seen in the cases they take, and where do they have the most experience in terms of jurisdictions.

It will show an attorney’s experience representing companies in federal courts with additional data taken from Bloomberg Law’s comprehensive case law database and news sources.

Armed with this information companies can then make better informed judgments about who they want representing them – without having to rely mainly on lawyer bio pages or word of mouth. In short, they can take a more data-led approach.  

The company said this will complement Litigation Analytics’ existing judicial, company, and law firm capabilities, which Bloomberg Law says also ‘enables attorneys at law firms to quickly gain intelligence on their competition and chart winning legal strategies’. It added that this new extension will be packaged up at no additional cost with the existing plans of subscribers.

The key areas the new extension will help with are summarised as:

What companies has an attorney represented?
What is an attorney’s areas of expertise and practice areas?
What is the trend of an attorney’s litigation?
In which jurisdictions does an attorney have experience litigating?
Is this going to totally revolutionise litigation planning? Not yet, but it’s a useful development that shows that Bloomberg Law is serious about building out its legal data analysis capabilities and leveraging legal information where it can. And, as the group says, this journey has really only just got started, with the main Analytics platform launching a couple of years ago.
marketing  online  clients  data 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
Huge, If True: How Microsoft's Big Ideas Could Transform Legal Buy (069) | Legal Evolution
We’re definitely learning to remember that process matters, but still cagey about changing incentives: A clear majority emphasized process improvement as a solution lever.  This also appears to be a positive development away from pure-play technology innovations (because many tech-led initiatives often fail without the attendant changes to supporting processes).  That said, only 12% of the presentations addressed incentive changes for people (although it is very possible that some presenting teams omitted those particulars given the open forum).
clients  innovation 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Tricky Relationship: General Counsel + Legal Technology – Artificial Lawyer
A new report by LexisNexis has found what most of the market has known for some time: the relationship between General Counsel (GC) and legal technology is not always a comfortable or easy one.

The report is based on a survey which found plenty of interesting nuggets of info. A few of Artificial Lawyer’s favourites are below.

1 – Many Inhouse Legal Teams Are Not Set Up for Legal Tech Innovation, Adoption or Execution

When asked what the main barriers were to legal tech adoption the three issues were: a lack of resources; a lack of time to get their heads around the issues and deal with it all; and also a lack of understanding of the tech and what it can do.

In short, GCs have been very busy….but not with legal tech, and that is no surprise.

Most of the sessions at conferences Artificial Lawyer attends where GCs are speaking on tech are fairly uninspiring moments. They tend to be a litany of reasons why little change among inhouse teams takes place. A conference for GCs and tech a couple of months ago even saw a GC for a major FTSE company say loud and clear: ‘I have no interest in legal technology.’ They even sounded a bit sorry for people who did focus on this area.

Of course there are also companies, ranging from Google, to NetApp, to Vodafone, to BT, whose inhouse legal teams are very much focused on legal tech and innovation and doing a great job – but, the truth is they are not the majority.
clients  it 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
SCL: In-house Lawyers and Legal Tech
LexisNexis UK has published a dedicated Insight report for in-house counsel titled ‘Legal Technology: Looking Past the Hype’. It is not going to surprise but it does add a little extra knowledge to the murky pool. According to Lexis Nexis, over 130 in-house lawyers were surveyed and that data was augmented by 20 ‘qualitative interviews’ with General Counsel from some of the UK’s largest in-house legal teams.

The report (you have to register to download it) found that 85% of the General Counsel surveyed have introduced multiple technology types and are most comfortable using tried and tested legal insight tools. While 57% of respondents believe that technology investments have already increased their efficiency, one in five can point to a piece of recently installed technology that has had low or no usage. Despite this, 60% believe that legal technology will further improve the accuracy of legal work over the next three to five years – with 72% expecting technology to enable new data insights during that time.

Additionally, 75% of in-house lawyers expect their law firms to adopt technology and as a direct result deliver efficiency gains - specifically lower fees (74%), increased quality (66%) and faster turn-around times (63%). 45% of those surveyed also expect their law firms to advise on the best technology to use although 37% of General Counsel do not know what technology their law firms are currently using.

Sophie Gould, Head of In-House at LexisNexis said: “Our inaugural Insights in-house report reviews how the issue of legal technology is being approached by the UK’s in-house legal community.  The in-house role has changed significantly, and beyond being ‘a good lawyer’ general counsel now need to drive efficiencies, add real value and demonstrate commercial acumen.  Our research revealed an interesting range of operational and technological maturity across in-house legal teams, with some organisations needing to develop or consolidate their legal operations and technology landscape, while others were already developing robust infrastructure to undertake strategic and business transformation roles.” 
clients  it 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Ops Increasingly Relied Upon for 'Business Discipline' Over Past 10 Years | Legaltech News
The 10th anniversary LDO Survey, available for download through Above the Law, focuses largely on the differences in law department operations from 2008 through now. For instance, the survey analyzed the top challenges faced by the operations office: In 2008, the top two challenges were positioning oriented, namely how to identify opportunities for business improvement (67 percent) and show the value of the position to the corporation (53 percent). Now, the top two challenges are more business oriented, namely how to drive and implement change (42 percent) and to contain costs (32 percent).
“The challenges today look a whole lot like the challenges that every business unit faces,” Blickstein explained. “Legal ops people, they’re brought in to bring business discipline to law departments. If you look at the challenges for 2017, you could talk to the leaders at any department in a company, and those are the kinds of things that they would say.”

That theme of being integrated into the wider business of the company is one that runs throughout the anniversary survey. Another figure compares how often operations personnel felt they were involved in corporate strategic initiatives: In 2017, 50 percent said “frequently,” compared to just 28 percent in 2008.

According to Blickstein, this reflects how what’s asked of the modern legal operations professional deals with more than just the law department. “Legal ops is the perfect person to go to for privacy and data security, but that’s not an issue that’s owned by the law department alone,” he said. “There’s issues like that, reputation issues and other things, that are pervasive.”

But of course, not every legal operations function is mature, and many legal ops professionals are still working to be integrated into the business. That’s reflected in the salaries reported by the survey. While 17 percent reported having a salary over $250,000, more than double the percentage in 2008, the proportion with a salary under $150,000 (58 percent) has also increased.

The stratification, in Blickstein’s opinion, is reflective of what businesses are asking of their legal ops personnel, and how many elements of an organization their day-to-day job touches. “There are a bunch of people out there that are highly strategic, highly valuable and critical elements of a law department. And then there’s also people that are just doing a function, and that’s all that law department is doing. I think that accounts for the stratification quite a bit,” he explained.
ops  clients 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
Our journey to Big | Legal Evolution (067)
Many lawyers and law firms claim to serve the middle market, often describing how they deal directly with owners and executives rather than in-house counsel. Although these clients aren’t the Fortune 500, the lawyers and law firm leaders take enormous pride in this type of practice and discuss it in ways that suggest it’s a stable and permanent market niche. I’m not sure that’s right.
clients  firms  ops 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Walmart's In-House Counsel Tells How the Retail Giant Is Changing Its Legal Ops | Corporate Counsel
He explained that until the turn of this century, the large retailer was heavily leveraging outside counsel and realized that, along with the policy of taking all cases to trial, needed to change. The first issue that Walmart needed to fix was a lack of centralization in the legal department.
Walmart’s legal department first put all of their outside counsel on the same engagement letter—they decided to have the same terms for all outside counsel.

“What we had found is that sometimes with the same firm, we would have different engagement letters,” Bryan explained.

Walmart’s legal department then took all of the data it collected over the years and organized it to be easily searchable.

“We wanted to be able to accomplish an accurate way of reporting out on things like spend and the performance of outside counsel,” Bryan said.

There was also a turn toward time-saving technology that would allow lawyers to take more time to focus on more difficult tasks.

“We announced a partnership with a company called LegalMation and we’re using software to take a complaint filed against the company—generally speaking in tort and in general litigation matters—feeding that complaint into the system and the system, within two minutes, kicks out an answer, a first set of interrogatories and a first set of requests for production. That is reviewed by an attorney but what we’ve found is that it is saving 60 to 70 percent of the time that would normally take to review that complaint,” Bryan explained.
clients  innovation  ops 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Why Microsoft is Hosting Their Law Firms in Redmond This Week and Why it Matters for Everyone Else? – Big Law Business
Microsoft, like any huge global enterprise, is able to make certain requests of their outside counsel because of the high volume of sophisticated work they send to their law firms. Put simply: Microsoft can ask because, well, they are Microsoft (the same could be said of Shell and GSK). On the other hand, a general counsel of a company with $5-10 million in annual legal spend, is going to have a harder time creating unique alternative fee arrangements or demanding innovative approaches to legal service delivery. But, as it turns out, the fact that others do not ask creates a problem for Microsoft, because it enables law firms to push back with “None of our other clients ask for this.” For Microsoft, then, hosting and publicizing their Trusted Advisor Forum helps everyone in the ecosystem, including Microsoft.
clients  innovation  firms 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Why Are So Many In-House Professionals Joining AI Contract Startups? | Legaltech News
So what’s behind this recent migration to the legal AI startup scene? For many former corporate professionals, it’s all about the desire to have a hand in shaping the future of legal operations and to work in more creative and fast-paced environment.
Lucy Bassli, Microsoft’s former assistant general counsel who became chief legal strategist at LawGeex in February, told Legaltech News that she moved to the AI company to help legal departments turn innovative ideas into reality.

“I hope to be able to inspire a lot of companies who LawGeex plans to engage and is already engaging with to think of holistic solutions and think about the best way to implement the technology within the totality of their resources, both human and technological.”

A desire to take a hands-on role in helping legal departments innovate also pushed Nicole Arbiv, who worked in various legal operations roles at Hewlett-Packard Enterprises for over a decade, to join LawGeex as its onboarding director in April 2018.

“For me, it was really around the notion that legal tech has become the up-and-coming thing that is driving the change of the legal profession, and you really see the true impact we are able to have on the legal profession as a whole,” she said.

To be sure, the AI contract market is a competitive space, and corporate professionals are discerning in joining only the startups they believe will have the biggest impact on the legal industry.
clients  startups  robo 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Can a Big Law Private Equity Practice Play Matchmaker? | The American Lawyer
ike the fact that a law firm represents a lot of private equity funds looking for companies to buy, while also representing a lot of companies looking to be sold. If only the firm knew what dots to connect.
That’s the puzzle that Holland & Knight’s private equity practice leader David Barkus was trying to solve when he hired Keith Ferry, a former private equity lawyer, last year to be director of business development at the Am Law 100 firm, which saw its gross revenue hit nearly $848.2 million in 2017.

Plenty, if not most, private equity lawyers have introduced clients to companies worth acquiring. “Sourcing” deals for private equity clients is one of the most tried and true ways of getting new business in the competitive, but ultra-profitable, practice. Private equity firms will usually hire a lawyer to handle a deal that the lawyer sourced.
Still, playing matchmaker is far from easy: Just ask investment bankers.

But within the past year, Holland & Knight’s Ferry has developed a database that the firm claims has led to 400 introductions between its private equity and corporate clients. Some of those introductions came through a program that Holland & Knight has branded HK Deal Flow, and which have led to deals closing or parties signing letters of intent, meaning a deal is forthcoming.

It is a welcome development for private equity firms that are itching to spend record levels of capital. The first six months of 2018 saw a record level of private equity deals, valued globally at $271 billion by Mergermarket, which tracks transactions.
subsidiaries  innovation  clients 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Gazing Into the Crystal Ball | Corporate Counsel
Ready or not, the changes are coming at an exponential rate. Swirling around and through the transformation of legal departments is a convergence happening in the broader industry. Three legal players—in-house counsel, law firms, and alternative legal service providers like Axiom, Elevate Services Inc. and UnitedLex—are mixing and matching people and services. Each group is jostling to become the dominant force in the industry.
clients  future 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Innovation Takes More than Talk | Legaltech News
Budgeting: The R&D Council had already agreed to further investment in legal project management and budgeting. Recently, Chuck Baldwin, Patrick DiDomenico, and I met for a full day to plan how to take LPM to the next level. Other responses to client requests concerning budgets are in the works.

Self-Service (Q&A): Ogletree has a well-established suite of online services, for example, O-D Comply and the Clientlink Collaboration Platform (extranet). DiDomenico and his team continue to build-out these and similar services. For example, this year, the firm released its DIY Arbitration Agreements tool, which was a product of the R&D Council.

Artificial Intelligence: The firm announced a partnership with LegalMation. It automates initial drafts of pleadings and discovery papers, and saves about 80 percent of the time required to reply to complaints in employment actions.

We may not be able to measure but we know both clients and law firms are innovating more. And we can agree that’s good. The continued roll-out of innovation initiatives, with attendant PR, suggests firms and clients see the value.

The voice of the client is key in any business. Especially here, where measurement is hard, client input on new initiatives is critical. Listening, of course, matters only if it leads to action. As the Ogletree case study shows, management and resources must support pursuing new ideas.
clients  innovation 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
In-house guide to LawTech for Commercial Contracts | Radiant Law
About this guide
This is one of a series of guides created by Radiant Law to help in-house legal teams improve their contracting processes. You can find other guides here. Although these guides are focused on handling commercial contracts, many of these technologies and approaches can be applied to other activities that you do.

LawTech is both helpful and overhyped and finding the right path is hard. We published a LawTech Glossary with definitions for lots of the lingo you will inevitably be exposed to, which admittedly expressed some of our frustration with the hype. This guide is to assist you to find tools that will actually help, and ensure that they are actually used.
contracts  clients  robo  it  innovation 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Microsoft GC Tells Its Major Suppliers (Including Outside Firms) to Provide Paid Parental Leave | Corporate Counsel
Dev Stahlkopf, vice president and general counsel for Microsoft Corp., Thursday announced in a blog post that over the next year, the company will require that its major suppliers provide employees who handle Microsoft work with paid parental leave.
A spokesperson for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft confirmed that the company will include its outside counsel among those suppliers, but declined to answer further questions about the policy.

“We rely on a wide array of other companies to supply us with goods and services that reflect their core competencies, and the people who work for our suppliers also are critical to our success,” Stahlkopf wrote.
Three years ago, Microsoft announced that it would require a variety of suppliers in the United States to provide their employees with paid time off. Thursday’s announcement builds on that policy.

“Over the next 12 months we will work with our U.S. suppliers to implement this new paid parental leave policy,” the GC said.

Here are more details of the policy, according to Stahlkopf’s post:

Microsoft will require suppliers to offer their employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week.
The leave is for parents employed by suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child.
It applies to suppliers with more than 50 employees, and covers employees “who perform substantial work for Microsoft. “
It is a minimum requirement, and is not intended to supplant any state or future federal law that offers more.
The state of Washington passed a paid parental leave law last year that goes into effect in 2020. But the company said it made the decision to apply the requirement more broadly, outside Washington, and not to wait until 2020.
“Microsoft will work with our suppliers to understand the impacts of this change, and we will make these changes in a thoughtful way,” the blog post stated, including discussing a process to address the increased costs such a policy would generate.
women  balance  clients  leave 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
(11) Does the Rise of Legal COOs Spell Trouble for Law Firms? | LinkedIn
The very nature of the legal COO’s role is that they will want this information readily available, on demand, and will not accept firms failing to deliver it. The conversation will no longer be; “Wasn’t that a great piece of work we did for you?” It will be much more along the lines of, “We successfully completed that engagement for you. Here’s a complete breakdown of our costs against the fee we quoted, the people who worked on the matter, exactly what they did for you in terms of time and deliverables and what we believe are the next steps you should be considering, together with a projected timescale and potential cost.”

As such expectations become standard, the nature of the conversation with clients will fundamentally shift, and with that, law firms need to ask themselves who within the firm is best positioned to lead that conversation. It may no longer be the client service/relationship partner.

Delivering results in themselves will not be enough. Legal COOs will want a detailed understanding of how they were delivered and at what cost to his/her firm. If you’re unable to produce that data, than it compromises the ability of the COO to perform their role of achieving operational excellence. So guess what? They will look for law firms that can. There will always be exceptions to any generalisation, which clearly this is. But COOs are unlikely to have brand loyalty to a particular law firm, which may have existed prior to their arrival. They will have their own set of criteria for selecting and maintaining relationships, not just with law firms, but with any provider of legal services that meets their operational requirements. 
ops  clients  firms 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
(4) Why Students Are Choosing Corporate Law Departments Over Law Firms | LinkedIn
This trend was clearly in evidence at our recent 7th annual “BBQ, Beers, and Legal Careers,” an event that brings together summer clerks and legal leaders from companies across Silicon Valley to network and learn about law department opportunities. I was impressed and energized by the students I met, who came from a diverse range of backgrounds and interests. There were dozens of them there, all very different in perspective and experience, and all interested in exploring an in-house legal career.

It didn’t used to be like this. Firms used to be the unquestioned destination for top candidates seeking both prestige and career stability. The rapid changes in the legal market are challenging the old paradigm.  Many corporate law departments now rival traditional firms in size and operational complexity, providing a measure of stability, without the chance that your practice group might up and leave to a competitor one day.  More importantly, I believe companies offer greater opportunity to develop diverse skills and rotate among a much broader set of roles than law firms.  You can try on more suits in a company to see which one truly fits. We’ve had people from NetApp Legal move into roles in Sales, Operations, and IT, for example, not to mention transitioning from one discipline to another in our own department, such as field support to compliance.
clients  admission  schools 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Why legal design is the answer for time-crunched in-house lawyers
Taking a legal design approach — starting from the user, through sprints, workshops, prototypes, testing and so on — is exciting to implement, but what I found in taking it to the business was that they really didn’t care what we called our approach; in a more basic sense, they don’t care how you do what you, and they don’t really care about your processes and constraints. They just want an answer: preferably yesterday, not tomorrow. And why would they care? As opposed to private practice where clients come to you for your expertise, in-house you have to earn the right to be listened to. Your job is about delivering the most practical advice possible that immediately translates into the daily operations of your internal clients, in a way that means they don’t need to translate it into their own language. In other words, the in-house counsel job is all about reducing the gap between the law and those supposed to apply it for real.
design  clients 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
GCs Are Flirting With the Big Four— But They Remain Wary | Corporate Counsel
What prompted the switch? According to Lisa Konie, senior director of legal operations for Adobe, it was primarily a predictable alternative fee arrangement.

The San Jose, California-based software company pays the firm, which Konie declined to name, an annual fixed fee that depends on the country where the work is being done and the services being provided.
“What I don’t think a lot of law firms appreciate is that we are held accountable to our CFO,” Konie said. “When I come in and tell my CFO that we have 75 percent accountability with billing I come off looking like a rock star.”

While some companies, like Adobe, are on board with the Big Four, others are hanging back, despite the apparent advantages that these accounting behemoths have over traditional law firms, including more predictable and flexible pricing and Scrooge McDuck-sized bank vaults.

Those who remain hesitant say they’re still waiting for the Big Four to prove that they offer a better alternative to the traditional firm model.
clients  newlaw  accountants 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Why the GC of Molson Coors Is Moving Major Work From Prestigious New York Firms | The American Lawyer
the traditional bias in favor of law firms in the largest cities needs to be re-evaluated. The research suggests that perhaps our bias should be the other way—there are elite lawyers across the country, in many cases at a lower price point.

We routinely retain counsel in major financial or regulatory centers when there is a specific skill and experience only they can supply. Increasingly, however, we find ourselves relying on lawyers and firms in other cities for the rest of our work.

In our experience, there is a lot of untapped talent able to take on high-stakes and national work in the cities mentioned above, as well as in Milwaukee, Charlotte, Cleveland, Phoenix, Kansas City, Indianapolis and beyond. The United States has an abundant supply of sophisticated lawyers.

So why do GCs still tend to disproportionately hire firms in the very largest of American cities? A couple possibilities come to mind.
clients  quality 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Panels, Part II: Are Clients Demotivating Their Law Firms? | The American Lawyer
To us, the three management practices driving especially high panel return on investment are all about creating the right balance of enfranchisement and competition: law firm summits, competitive bids (done sparingly and well), and structured feedback. (To these we would add greater use of flat fees, as discussed in the first Thought Leaders finding, and retaining the types of firms that are especially high performing, as discussed in the second Thought Leaders finding.)

It’s admittedly simple, but few clients regularly engage in these practices. Note that the best outside counsel enjoy working with these clients the most: these lawyers are rewarded for strong performance with more legal work. And the return on investment to clients is impressive—as noted in each of the charts above, the benefits relate not only to quality but also to cost.

And this is something we’ve found at AdvanceLaw in general as we help our GCs find and retain counsel: partners receiving the best feedback on quality, expertise and responsiveness typically earn the best feedback on efficiency. Clients can, through the right practices, have their cake and eat it, too.
clients  firms  metrics 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Largest, Most Pedigreed Firms Underperform on Service Quality Compared to Other Firms | The American Lawyer
As to how it’s possible that the largest and most esteemed firms have been doing so well if they are not consistently delivering the best client service, we have a few thoughts.

First, the growing size and profitability of the largest and most pedigreed firms, and their corresponding growth in associate to partner ratios, may have reached a tipping point in the past few years—and until that point this wasn’t materially impacting service quality. On the flip side, some of the firms in the Am Law 21 to 200 only recently reached a size that gave them enough depth of expertise in key practice areas to handle high-stakes work; so there were fewer options for clients looking to deviate from big, branded firms.

Second, switching costs in the legal industry are high—incumbents know the client and have institutional knowledge—so change happens at a much slower pace. Related, some legal matters have long tails and switching firms mid-course is especially difficult. And remember, it is not that the large, pedigreed firms are performing poorly (just, on the whole, not as well as other firms).

This brings us to the third and most important reason for the disparity between firm performance and firm success. It’s that the legal market has an information problem: we don’t know which firms are performing better, so we are forced to default to brand (and high cost) as proxies for quality. But that is changing, as discussed in this Above the Law article. Clients, in essence, are finding out that the blue chip firms of the past are not necessarily the blue chip firms of the present (and future). Likewise, the “insurance” rationale for choosing certain firms for high-stakes work based on historical reputation should dissipate over time (but won’t disappear).
clients  firms  rankings  quality 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Big Law partners aren’t dumb: they’re just not in the room (054) | Legal Evolution
Over the following year, Casey wrote his book because he understood something worth restating here today: most clients really do not ask. There are a handful of clients who give very good talks at conferences about the change imperative facing us all. Others give extensive interviews explaining the broad challenges of the industry. Most of this group is in the vocal minority.

From time to time, a scathing denunciation of firm behavior by a client might be quoted with attribution, but the veneer of civility ensures that no names are mentioned. In other instances, clients will register their displeasure through some strongly worded but anonymous comments to reporters about things like associate compensation. For the most part, clients continue to give tepid grades to firms in anonymous surveys and scorecards.

But by and large, the majority of clients aren’t holding direct conversations with their relationship partners at their primary firms about what they specifically want. This much has been apparent for years to close readers of the Altman Weil survey: below is another side-by-side view of how CLOs and law firm leaders have answered the question about corporate pressure on law firms to change.
clients  firms  innovation 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Panels, Part I: Are They Designed to Fail? | The American Lawyer
While new relationships tend to start off well, that warm glow seems to fade after an initial honeymoon period. Performance tends to bounce back over time (though not always permanently), but even then, the data may reflect what’s known as survivorship bias. Matters on the right side of the chart reflect higher performance in part because of a thinning of the herd, as clients eventually stop working with some of the underperformers.

Now, the post-honeymoon dip (whether a firm is on a panel or not) may not seem like a large difference statistically, and it isn’t for any of the individual metrics. But the overall trend showing declining performance on all measures is meaningful and telling. It reinforces that without effective management, firm complacency or underperformance is not only a possibility, but a likelihood.
panels  convergence  firms  clients 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Race to the Bottom for the AmLaw 200 and Below? Doesn't Have to Be. | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Four significant industry surveys were released in the month of May:  Citi 2018 Q1 Law Firm Survey, the 2018 Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Survey and the 2018 AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 reports. There was some discrepancy in how recent findings were conveyed or interpreted, but they shared several common themes related to demand, revenue and profitability:

Overall, demand growth surged in Q4 2017 and continued in Q1 2018, but collections slowed down, and expenses grew, for many firms negating revenue growth (Citi report)
The elite firms, the largest firms and the most profitable firms continued to pull away from the majority – this was true in both the AmLaw 100 and the AmLaw 200 groups and certainly between the groups:
The AmLaw top 50 reported the best results in Q1: AmLaw 100 saw a 6.3% growth in PPP
15 of the top 20 most profitable firms were based in NY; profit margins for the top 20 ranged from 47-65%
There was 5.5% revenue growth for AmLaw 100 firms in 2017 compared to a .2% decline for the AmLaw 200, although the top firms in the AmLaw 200 group saw an increase in 2.7% which is better but still only half of what the AmLaw 100 average increase was
8 of the second hundred firms had revenue growth of 10% and another 22 had revenue growth of 5%, but 32 firms saw revenue shrink (AmLaw 200 report)
Volatility in the market is still present: 47% of firms saw a decline in revenue in Q1 (Citi report) and 27% saw demand decline in 2017 and Q1; most firms have seen up and down trends in demand and revenue growth from quarter to quarter and year-to-year
The trend immediately following the 2009 fall-out of work flowing to the second 100 firms as a better cost alternative has ceased for the most part
data  firms  clients 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
In-House Gives Mixed Reaction to UnitedLex, LeClairRyan Legal Services Venture | Legaltech News
“Large corporations look for the ability to holistically address their challenges,” explained UnitedLex CEO Daniel Reed, adding that ULX Partners will allow law firms to provide corporate clients with non-transactional solutions.

Denniston said, “It might help some companies with small legal departments. But outsourcing is not new. This is just a broader expansion of it.”

He said law firms and companies have already been outsourcing to UnitedLex, including his old company GE and his law firm, Goodwin. “UnitedLex is not a secret. It’s not hard to find them. And you don’t have to go to LeClairRyan to locate them.”

Denniston said the venture “may develop into something [of value to GCs]. But based on the announcement, you can’t conclude that.”

Deckelman disagreed. “The value proposition is: the firm lawyers are freed of [many] of the administrative headaches and can focus on higher-value work for clients,” he said. “At the same time, UnitedLex can significantly enhance the law firm’s client service capabilities through leverage of UnitedLex’s technology, process design and project management discipline. “

Deckelman said the UnitedLex technology also could help manage a client’s litigation portfolio, including cases being handled by other law firms.
innovation  sharedservices  it  ethics  clients 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Corporate Law 2.0: What It Means to Be a 'Chief Legal Innovation Counsel' | Corporate Counsel
I simplify the way we work and reach better outcomes, whether that means reducing cost or reducing risks, finding more efficiencies and producing better quality and substantive results. Oftentimes, these outcomes can be unlocked or enhanced by harnessing the power of legal tech, and that is certainly a huge element of the role.

I would also add the role of chief legal innovation counsel is an in-house variation of the chief innovation officer role that has started to take root at law firms but is still fairly fresh and new in the in-house world. Part of the role right now is defining the role.

How closely will you work with the legal operations team?

I have a natural synergistic partnership with the legal operations team at Marsh & McLennan.  Think of it as the interplay between operations representing current state—“keeping the lights on,” as they say—and innovation ushering in the future state, like an R&D lab. I remain the subject matter expert on discovery, but I also offer the broader innovation vision: the why, the what, and also elements of the how.

The operations team helps with the how and also does the blocking and tackling, but there is an element of give and take across these generalities, meaning the operations team may be the source of great innovative ideas, and I will roll up my sleeves to get in the weeds.
clients  ops  it  process 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
New Ogletree Deakins Director of Data Analytics Talks Challenges of Labor Data | Legaltech News
What are some of the biggest challenges to working with labor data?

The biggest data challenges are access and reliability. The client simply wants to run the business, and most human resources and IT professionals are already working 40-plus hour jobs. Because everyone is so time-starved, it is sometimes difficult to access data. Clarity in communication and flexibility are essential on our part in order to facilitate an efficient transfer of relevant information.

Reliability of the data can also add to the challenge of providing a cost-effective, reliable end-product. A large portion of our job is to go through the data, identify issues, and rectify them in a manner that results in a consistent, reliable analysis database, what we often refer to as “cleaning” the data.

What are some projects you’re hoping to tackle in working with Ogletree?

That is an excellent question! The projects can be separated into two specific areas: client-facing projects and internal, operations-based projects. The client-facing focus will be any litigation-related opportunities currently being outsourced to consulting firms that do not require a testifying role. This will grow to include capabilities around non-litigation statistical/economic consulting. Ogletree already possesses strong internal groups, particularly those focusing on pay equity and OFCCP/EEO audits. I will work with these groups to enhance their existing capabilities.

For the internal, operations-based projects, my goal is to assist management in identifying opportunities to create greater efficiencies wherever possible. One example would be identifying areas in which data analytics can lead to more productive results.
data  analytics  clients 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
Confusing conversations about clients (048) | Legal Evolution
That said, Type 4-6 clients are heavily constrained by the adoption decision process.  Unlike Type 1-3 clients, where one person makes the buy decision, legal departments have to be much more deliberate. In theory, the general counsel presides over the budget and has the authority to spend it.  Yet, GCs have many items on their plate. Therefore, decisions regarding legal department systems are often delegated to a lieutenant. Because systems are not part of a lawyer’s formal training, the lieutenant has to climb a learning curve. Once an adoption decision is made, successful implementation will likely require major investments in change management. Cf. Post 008 (discussing prevalence of “massive passive resistant (MPR)” in corporate legal departments); Post 047 (emphasizing need for strong leadership to successfully implement law firm scorecards). This can strain the relationship between the deputy and GC.
clients  access  innovation  firms  robo  infographics 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
My long history with law firm scorecards (047) | An essay on leadership
Leadership and management are not part of the legal education canon.  Yet, that is bound to change as more lawyers stumble forward into these disciplines to cope with the relentless growth in complexity we face on a daily basis. In the meantime, however, we are at risk for misinterpreting the tides of change.

For example, many lawyers and law firms (and initially this professor) are quick to conclude that the goal of scorecards is to save money.  Yet, in most cases, the motivation is scarcity of internal bandwidth. An important task done well and efficiently frees up time and mental energy to tackle other strategic priorities. Saving money, or getting more value per dollar spent, is a by-product of a more disciplined approach to one’s job as lawyer-manager.

The first step in this more disciplined approach is formulating the evaluation criteria.  Initially at Safelite and DHL, Mark Smolik focused on seven criteria:  (1) understands our objectives / expectations, (2) expertise, (3) responsiveness / communications, (4) efficiency / process management, (5) cost / budgeting skill, (6) results delivered / execution, and (7) compatibility with company values.  Each criteria, in turn, is defined by a set of specific behaviors.

What managing law firms looks like
For ideas like scorecards, lawyers need examples rather than abstract descriptions. In 2016, I ran some focus groups for what would later become Qualmet. Below are some of the graphics from those sessions (credit: Evan Parker from LawyerMetrix).
data  metrics  clients  firms  ratings 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
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