Inside Counsel Relationship

On the second day of the LMA conference, I kept the client-related momentum going by heading straight into "Client Expectations in Today’s Marketplace" after the GC Panel. Presenting in the session were Laura Meherg and Nat Slavin of Wicker Park Group, and thanks to LMA, I can tell you: 

Wicker Park Group consultants interview hundreds of clients each year on behalf of law firms located around the world. The interviewees include business owners, company executives and in-house counsel representing a wide range of industries. Taken together, the interviews offer unique insights into the essential expectations that build strong client relationships regardless of location, industry or client history."

The session itself promised that: 

This program will highlight the most common themes in client expectations, including the complaints and praise – both big and small – that clients identify as greatly impacting the well-being of their outside counsel relationships. In addition, Wicker Park Group partners will explain what clients think about client feedback, why it’s critical to consistently seek their input, the global trends in client feedback and best practices from successful client feedback and client service programs in law firms."


Continue Reading Client Expectations in Today’s Marketplace – A Recap

On Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking with another of the panelists for Wednesday’s General Counsel Panel here at the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. Joseph Otterstetter is the Managing Counsel and Associate General Counsel with 3M.  The position was a new one created two and a half years ago, with Otterstetter acting as a type of “Chief of Staff” for the legal department. He overseas a range of areas, including budget, human resources, and operations, and works with the General Counsel and leadership to run the department.

I started off by observing that in Otterstetter’s LinkedIn biography, he indicates that he was appointed to lead the efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness of 3M legal affairs. I asked him to comment on how he’s been focused on accomplishing that. 

Primarily, he answered, it’s been focused around three things.

  1. Working with his colleagues on the convergence process, which has led them to reduced their outside counsel by 75%.
  2. Related to that, there’s been a big push for using non-time-based bees for outside lawyers, and that’s now the majority of the work that they do.
  3. They’re also doing strategic insourcing – moving more of the work that they’ve typically done outside in the past in-house. 


Continue Reading Outside Firms are More and More Becoming an Extension of In-House Law Departments

We’re one week away from the start of the Legal Marketing Association‘s Annual Conference, and if you’re a regular reader of Zen, you’ll know that my favorite session of the conference is always the general counsel panel

This year, I thought I’d switch things up a little bit by reaching out to LMA before the conference to see if I could interview the GCs prior to the panel for a preview of their remarks. I spoke with one of the panelists on Friday, and will be speaking with another one this coming Friday, so tune in next Monday for our second preview interview! 

Before I jump into the panelist’s remarks, let’s look at what LMA will be focusing on in this year’s panel, which is titled "How We Buy What You Sell – and How That’s Changing."  The panel will be moderated by Catherine Moynihan, the Senior Director of Legal Management Services at the Association of Corporate Counsel, and will feature Darragh Davis, the Vice President & General Counsel for Petco Animal Supplies Inc., Virginia Sanzone, the SVP and AGC – Business Segments and Americas for CareFusion and Joe Otterstetter, the Managing Counsel for 3M. 


Continue Reading It’s [Still] About Being Your Client’s Business Partner

Today, I’m bringing you the final installment of my recaps from the Viewabill webinar (recording and audio available here). We’ve learned some really interesting things about what both inside and outside counsel are thinking these days in this climate of change, and the conversations around all of these issues should continue – the one lesson we should all take away from these is that communication among all of those involved in legal services is paramount. 

Thanks to Viewabill for inviting me to listen in, and giving me the opportunity to get a preview from a couple of their panelists! I look forward to the next session.

The final session of the morning was "Legal Tech and You:" 

Lawyers are looking for new ways to compete and position themselves as being at the forefront of an oversaturated market, and clients are demanding more efficiency, transparency, and affordability from their legal service providers. What do you look for when considering implementing legal technology and where do you see the next phase of innovation headed?"


Continue Reading Legal Technology – What’s Next?

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

After hearing about some of the trends inside legal departments during the first part of Viewabill‘s webinar last week, the moderator opened it up to all of the panelists for their thoughts. Since panelists included both those inside legal departments, and those in law firms, it was a fascinating look at the push and pull of their relationships. 

To remind you of who the players are: 

Panelists (corporate counsel):
Daniel Baker, Sr. Operations Lead, LinkedIn Legal
Connie Brenton, Chief of Staff/Director of Legal Operations, NetApp
Panelists (law firms):
Vincent Cordo Jr., Global Director of Client Value, Reed Smith, LLP
Peter Lane Secor, Director of Strategic Pricing and Project Management, Pepper Hamilton LLP
Michael Hourwitz, Chief Financial Officer, Venable, LLP

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


Continue Reading Interplay Between Inside Legal Departments & Law Firms

On Monday, I listened in on Viewabill’s inside/outside counsel webinar – it was a long one (two and a half hours), so I’ll be breaking up my recaps by session to share with you.  I love listening to inside counsel speak about the dynamics of their relationships with their legal services providers, and there were some great thoughts shared by all sides in these sessions. 

First up is "Friends in Need." From Viewabill: 

Corporate legal departments are under increasing pressure to become ‘commercially aware’ and rise to the challenge of fulfilling the role of business partner, driving the company’s business objectives and risk profile. Inside counsel discuss their evolving role and what outside counsel can do to alleviate some of the pressure."

Law firms are also under pressure. Client value and legal sourcing teams are prominent in firms today; over 50% of the AmLaw 200 already employ a Pricing Director position to oversee project management. Stretched between serving as a resource for the firm’s clients while simultaneously battling internal resistance, law firms discuss how they handle the ‘new normal’ and ways clients can help bring about change."


Continue Reading Trends in Inside Legal Departments

We’re about an hour away from Viewabill’s two-hour webinar today on the topic of improving the attorney-client relationship! On Friday, I shared an interview I had done with Casey Flaherty of Kia Motors. I also had the pleasure of speaking with another of the panelists, Dan Baker, who is the Senior Operations Lead for LinkedIn Legal. 

Dan’s role at LinkedIn runs the gamut – he described his day as always moving the needle forward on a myriad of projects, from their pro bono program, career leveling, managing contracts, requisitioning, planning/forecasting, event planning, goal setting and tracking, spend reporting, liaising with others, budgeting, knowledge management, engaging firms, and much, much more. 

As a lady who wears lots of hats herself, I could absolutely sympathize with Dan’s role…and his need to make things as streamlined and efficient as possible. 

Friends in Need

The first session Dan will be a part of today is "Friends in Need," with inside and outside counsel discussing their changing roles, and how the other can help them. 


Continue Reading “Relationships Matter, But Not if We Can’t Afford Them” An Interview with Operations Lead, Dan Baker

On Monday, Viewabill will be presenting a two-hour webinar session on the topic of improving the attorney-client relationship through innovation. I first became familiar with Viewabill during the P3 conference, when panelists during one of the sessions were discussing its value. 

Thanks to my coverage of P3, I was able to get a heads up on Monday’s webinar, which will bring together inside and outside counsel to discuss some meaty issues. I’ll be covering the sessions in more detail in some recaps next week, but I was able to snag interviews with a few of the panelists in advance of the webinar, which I’ll be sharing with you here. 

First up is D. Casey Flaherty, Corporate Counsel for Kia Motors America. Inc. and founder and developer behind the Legal Tech Audit (LTA), who was kind enough to speak with me this morning. From his LinkedIn profile: 

Based on what he witnessed in BigLaw, Casey developed a Legal Technology Audit that he administers to his outside counsel. In conjunction with Suffolk University Law School’s Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation and a group of advisers from across the legal spectrum, Casey’s audit has been automated. Registrations are open (http://www.legaltechaudit.com/). The LTA is not associated with Kia Motors America."


Continue Reading What Really Matters to Purchasers of Legal Service? An Interview with General Counsel, Casey Flaherty

I always enjoy hearing what factors into a general counsel’s decision to hire outside law firms – it gives great insight into what firms should be focusing on, both when it comes to the delivery of legal services, as well as the message that they’re promoting.

In our latest edition of the General Counsel Corner, I asked the employment counsel for a large international company to describe the factors that they consider when hiring outside counsel.  

Our GC contributor told me: 

In selecting outside counsel, we seek attorneys at reputable firms with a proven track record in the particular areas of expertise for which we are seeking counsel, who provide counsel taking into account not only the law, but also the pragmatic realities of our business and provide guidance as to how best to move the forward while mitigating risk to the company. Ideally, our attorneys will have an existing relationship with the outside counsel to increase the likelihood that the outside counsel will care about our business and the counsel being provided, as opposed to merely looking to generate a book of business. We also appreciate counsel who work efficiently and are mindful of minimizing attorneys fees and costs given the current economic climate and renewed focus on managing budgets."


Continue Reading General Counsel Corner: Considerations When Selecting Outside Counsel