I’m still recovering from the whirlwind that was #LMA15 – it’s always a festival of education, networking, mentorship, relationship-building, thought leadership, and having amazing, thought-provoking conversations about our industry and where its headed. And I love every minute of it. But one of my favorite parts, as you know, is the general counsel panel.  This year’s panel was focused on “How we buy what you sell – and how that’s changing.” I had the pleasure of speaking with two of the three panelists in advance of the session, Joe Otterstetter of 3M and Virginia Sanzone of CareFusion, and their comments during the session were very much in line with our conversations. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at how LMA described the session:

You already know plenty about ‘The New Normal’ and how law firms are adjusting, but corporate legal departments are not standing still either. This year’s GC panel will share Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) data and the perspective of senior in-house counsel on trends in law firm selection processes, outside counsel management, and unbundling and in-sourcing work. You will have a chance to take a look ‘under the hood’ at how legal services purchasing decisions are made and external resources are managed, including discussion of how ‘switching costs’ from an incumbent law firm are considered, the role of Procurement, how success is measured (including how the managers of outside counsel are evaluated), and more through open Q&A.”

 
Continue Reading How We Buy What You Sell – and How That’s Changing – A Recap

Building on Viewabill’s last webinar session (audio and presentation recording here), they moved into a discussion of transparency, and its impact on the inside/outside counsel relationship. Per their session agenda,

What role has sharing matters via Viewabill played in fostering collaboration throughout the legal process, and what overall impact has it had on your professional relationship with each other?"

The participants in this section include: 

Panelists:
Daniel Baker, Sr. Operations Lead, LinkedIn Legal
Mike Haven, Senior Corporate Counsel, Legal Operations and Litigation, NetApp
Vincent Cordo Jr., Global Director of Client Value, Reed Smith, LLP
Rick Howell, Director of Financial Systems, Perkins Coie, LLP
Justin Liu, Associate General Counsel, MGM Resorts International
Karen Anzuini, Chief Information Officer, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Moderator:
Robbie Friedman, CEO + co-founder, Viewabill


Continue Reading Fostering Collaboration Between Clients and Lawyers: The Transparency Piece

   

 Member of the International Lawyers Network

The ILN is proud to announce our latest "Firm of the Month" – LEADCO Legal Counsel of Hanoi, Vietnam!

Leadco Legal Counsel (Leadco) is a Hanoi-based law firm established in 1992. It was one of the first domestic law firms to be founded after the implementation of the Doi Moi (renovation) economic reform

For our latest installment of the General Counsel Corner, we talked to Mark Ginalski, the General Counsel at SunLink Corporation. SunLink manufactures integrated PV balance of system solutions for the photovoltaic industry that reduce the cost of installation, ease permitting, and enhance system design flexibility. SunLink’s industry-leading solar roof and ground mount racking systems

On Friday morning, LMA delegates gathered to hear the annual general counsel panel, "U.S. General Counsel Discuss Global Needs for Outside Counsel: Is Your Firm on Their Short List?" produced by Inside Counsel and Lloyd Johnson.

The program description read: 

This panel of general counsel will discuss high priority needs, challenges and concerns related to managing a large law department.  In addition, the panel will discuss the complexities…related to managing a remote professional staff who work outside the United States. Topics covered will include: 

  • How law firms can help meet the needs of today’s law department challenges; 
  • What today’s law department leaders see as potential future challenges
  • How firms’ managing partners may engage in shared insight discussions with law department leader/counterparts
  • How is value received for fees paid assessed by the corporations today? 
  • What is most useful about a year-end review, aka client feedback meeting?
  • Last call: number one need on the law department side: from the relationship standpoint? From the substantive legal needs standpoint?"


Continue Reading US General Counsel: Global Needs for Outside Counsel

Another of my all-time favorite conference sessions at LMA is always the client panel.  For me, the panel always makes the investment in the conference worth it, because I can impart what I learn from the GCs there to my lawyers, to help them to understand their own clients better, and that adds value for everyone. 

This year’s client panel didn’t disappoint. It focused on best practices for building and maintaining your law firm’s relationship with in-house counsel and featured Megan Belcher, the VP and Chief Employment Counsel for ConAgra, Kevin Schubert, the Associate General Counsel, Transactions for LV Sands Corporation, Simon Manoucherian, the Assistance General Counsel/Director of Litigation GRIFOLS, and Karen Cottle, Senior Counsel for Sidley Austin and former in-house counsel. The panel was moderated by Inside Counsel magazine. 

The panelists said that they would discuss the role of social media for general counsel, the challenges that they see over the next five years, and the change in inside/outside counsel relationships since 2008.  Since the economic downturn, GCs have changed the way that they evaluate outside counsel, and the process by which trust is built. 


Continue Reading General Counsel Panel: Separate from the Pack – a Recap Part I

When I attended the general counsel panel a couple of weeks ago at the LMA’s Annual Conference, I was happy to hear that the moderators would be spending some time focusing the panelists on discussing social media, and their use of it in their outside counsel relationships.

I’m going to delve into that discussion more in a future post, but today, I wanted to talk about the results from Greentarget, Inside Counsel, and Zeughauser Group’s In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey results, which were released last week. I pay very close attention to this survey because let’s be honest, social media isn’t going to matter one whit to my clients if their own clients aren’t paying it any attention. 

This year’s survey results reaffirmed both the comments of the three general counsel at the LMA Conference, and my anecdotal experience, which I often share with my attorneys. Today, let’s look at a couple of highlights. To see the survey results in full, click here


Continue Reading It’s Here! — A Look at the 2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

In my last post, we talked about the first part of the client panel session from the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting, with panelists Jeff Carr of FMC Technologies, Janet Dhillon of J.C. Penney and Ron Barger of the Archon Group. The second part of the session was equally as valuable as the first.

One of the interesting points that the panelists made during their comments was that they need their attorneys to elicit the real end game from them – they went as far as to suggest that attorneys should ask them directly “What does ‘winning’ mean to you?” Jeff said lawyers need to get their clients to be specific, because they often won’t volunteer that information.

He joked that business development is like a relationship – people don’t get better with time. They’re on their best behavior in the “marketing phase,” so attorneys need to get past that, and force their clients to be specific about the results that they want.


Continue Reading Change or Die? A General Counsel Panel – Part II

A few days ago, I offered my initial recap of the general counsel panel that we were treated to at this year’s Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, focusing on some key quotes from the session. Now, let’s get into the meat of the panel, where even more value is to be found.

The one overriding thought I had (and I was not alone if you listened to the tweet stream) was that year after year, we’re hearing the same comments and advice from general counsel. What does that mean? It means that law firms STILL aren’t listening to what their clients really want. 

In the past, this has been manageable, because the economy was thriving and there was plenty of work to be going around. But now, as Jeff Carr of FMC Technologies warns:

There will be new business models that come into place. We’ll build them if you won’t. We don’t need YOU to survive. We need the [legal] industry to survive."


Continue Reading Change or Die? A General Counsel Panel – Part I