By Kate Harry Shipham, Senior Recruiting Manager, JJES
Buying Legal Council held an event - "Focus: Metrics & Benchmarking" - on October 19, which was hosted by DLA Piper in Chicago. Organized and led by Silvia Hodges Silverstein (Executive Director, Buying Legal Council), this event explored several themes, including what clients measure and what do they think law firms should measure, what do client's pay attention to, and, what are the useful metrics for legal work.
There were many great speakers at this event. Below are the sessions which resonated for me:
- Jeff Carr from ValoremNext discussed the true value lawyers actually add. He talked about the fact that a lawyer's value adding capability really comes from their ability to display judgment in different scenarios, but this judgement is often not what client's want to pay for. He said 85% of lawyers in private practice firms are blocking and tackling, and again, their abilities to display judgment are not required in this type of work. And this work, he says, should be outsourced. He encouraged lawyers to be thinking about streamlining their services, providing preventative solutions and guidance to clients, and therefore significant savings to clients in this preventative advice. He said "the best problem is the one you never had."
- Marc Calhoun from Abercrombie & Fitch shared his thoughts on how procurement departments view in-house legal services: they can over-value relationships and under-value the dollar spend. Conversely, in-house attorneys talk about not being able to commoditize legal services and not being understood when it comes to providing the services they do.
- A panel of seasoned attorneys provided some valuable insights into 'What Legal Services Firms Measure', and Susanna Blancke from Tower Legal Solutions, Eric Gonzales from UnitedLex, Patrick Lamb from Valorem Law Group, and Bill Rudnick from DLA Piper all shared their views on this. The interesting themes from this discussion was that trust is THE most important factor when dealing with clients on legal services, and it just cannot work when the parties are at arms length. The billable hour, the unique solutions individual lawyers can provide, and why finding a quick solution or resolution, are indeed the things that clients need and value first and foremost.
Overall, a great event and some very interesting discussions in an intimate, unique environment.
Kate Harry Shipham is a Senior Recruiting Manager with J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc (JJES). JJES specialize in placing marketing and business development professionals into law firms across the US. Kate can be reached at email@example.com