Presentation on theme: "“Addressing the Disconnect” The ACC Value Challenge Reconnecting Cost with Value July 21, 2009 ACC NE Chapter - AM Leadership Discussion Susan Hackett,"— Presentation transcript:
“Addressing the Disconnect” The ACC Value Challenge Reconnecting Cost with Value July 21, 2009 ACC NE Chapter - AM Leadership Discussion Susan Hackett, ACC
A (r)evolution in legal service provision The disconnect / discontent in-house counsel wish to address is the result of behaviors they have not only enabled, but often are responsible for creating. This does not excuse poor business structures in firms, but expected changes have to be rewarded The law firm market is headed for seismic change / in- house departments must manage toward the change
Underlying the Disconnect Lawyers in law departments work in a business environment where productivity, lean efficiency, cost predictability, innovation, and risk-taking are rewarded; legal expertise is important, but secondary. Lawyers in law firms work in a “professional” culture that values legal expertise over everything else, minimizes risk and discourages innovation, and rewards less efficient, less team-oriented, less outcome-focused players. And most in-house counsel retain them anyway.
What clients want Themes from the regional sessions (2008-9) Better management; lean efficiency (two-way) Certainty / predictability Focus on outcomes and results, not just on process and analysis: driven by performance/metrics Costs and fee structures that equate with value received Horses for courses: at entry, and thru better staffing/teams KM and applied expertise – don’t reinvent the wheel Outside counsel and firms whose motivations and business model are aligned with the client’s – shared risk
What firms need clients to consider … Better articulation of expectations, workplans, and budgets up-front A return to long-term trust and continuity (versus reliance on RFPs, audits, etc.) Institutionalized relationships that support the commitment firms need to make to drive alignment Reward firms that demonstrate value/innovate Reconsider the impact of the in-house mantras: “ No one ever got fired for hiring [Insert BigLaw Firm Name].” “Hire the lawyer and not the firm.”
In the end, it’s all about value.
“Value” topics for discussion 1.How can we improve? How do we drive the message (or not)? 2.Does decreased cost to clients = decreased profit for the firm? 3.How will clients assure adequate work flow so outside lawyers are better aligned and incented toward efficiency? 4.How can junior lawyers get trained, more reasonably priced, more on the front line, with less turnover? What leverage level works? 5.What is the lawyers’ highest contribution: how do we drive that? 6.How can we better budget, and manage costs and staffing? 7.How do we align comp, incentives, & staffing with client interests? 8.How do we create sustainable practices for profitable law firms? 9.How do we evaluate progress and performance? What is success? 10.How do we create a culture of continuous improvement?