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

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

I’m currently about 30,000 feet above the earth, flying back home after a whirlwind time at the LMA’s Annual Conference. I feel like my attendance at the conference was akin to drinking water from a firehose – there was a lot of information to take in, and a lot of great ideas and conversation. Now, it’s time to process all of that, and sort out what I can use and share.

In my mind, the most important session of the conference is always the General Counsel (GC) panel – I can best help my clients by telling them what their clients say to marketing folks when they’re not around. This year, the panel was its own breakout session (though I think it should really be required attendance for EVERYONE), and once again, it was an incredibly valuable session. 

The panel featured Ron K. Barger, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Archon Group, Jeffrey W. Carr, the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for FMC Technologies, and Janet L. Dhillon, the EVP, General Counsel and Secretary for J.C. Penney Company. It was moderated by Tom Duggan and Cathleen Flahardy of InsideCounsel.  All of the GC’s represented are active members in the General Counsel Forum


Continue Reading “Legal is the Only Industry Where Clients Act Like Sellers and Sellers Act Like Buyers” – A General Counsel Panel