After lunch on the first day of the P3 Conference, we had the opportunity to listen to a client discussion – which, if you read Zen regularly, you know is a favorite of mine!  Moderator Vince Cordo (@vcordo), the Global Director of Client Value at Reed Smith led a panel that included Nick Bagiatis, the COO of Reed Smith, Lesley Garafola (@plgarafola) of Duke Energy, Gonzalo Frias of Duke Energy, and Kimberly Levinson of PNC. 

The delegate packet told us: 

Tracking and reporting on the value and the cost of legal services had become top priority. Value promotes the adoption of management practices that allow all participants to achieve their key objectives. This session is a discussion on how clients are working with firms to track spend by a law department with a focus [on] measuring value. Until you can get that data, you[r] best option is to keep pushing for lower costs. Comprehensive performance management programs are being introduced by corporations in ever economic sector. Most include key performance indicators (KPIs). These indicators and the programs they support are comprehensive because they are much more far-ranging than budget and other financial indicators. Clients want programs which reduce waste and which encourage all resources to be dedicated to the top priorities set by executive leadership. It reflects the transition of the legal function from a classic position of support to one which is likelier to add value." 

Continue Reading Law Firm Partner and Client Discussion: Creating the Win-Win

The second breakout session that I attended on Thursday morning at the P3 conference was "A Case Study on Profitability through Pricing and Client Value," presented by Redwood. 

The program told us: 

For years the legal profession’s main focus with respect to ‘profit’ has been on driving productivity and revenue. Well before the boom in alternative fees this perception had changed drastically. Now in a new world with heavier client demands, budgeting needs, alternative pricing, and changing structures the true drivers of profitability have come under additional scrutiny."

Attendees of this session will learn about the components and changes within the drivers of profitability. In addition they will engage in a case study using real data under a pseudonym to analyze trends, identify wayward pricing strategy, and hone in on alternative ways to look at a firms’ [sic] profitability." 

Continue Reading Driving Profitability through Pricing and Client Value

The first breakout session that I attended at P3 was "Value-Based Pricing, Legal Project Management and the New Value Proposition."  The session was presented by Doug Woods (Strategic Pricing Manager Ogletree, @dougwoodsCPA), Jim McGrew (Chief Marketing Officer, Ogletree), Ashley Tenney (Business Development Manager – Corporate Department, McKenna Long, @latenney), and Crissy Wolfe (Attorney, McKenna Long). 

LMA gave us the key takeaways right in the program, so I’ll list those upfront before we get into the full recap! 

  1. What are the common "value drivers" of clients, and how can legal marketers help attorneys have a deeper conversation about what is valued by the client?
  2. Which pricing arrangements are most (and least) appropriate for various client value drivers?
  3. How do legal marketers market, and assist in developing, pricing arrangements and project management?
  4. How do pricing and LPM complement each other and what role should legal marketers play?

Continue Reading Value-Based Pricing, Legal Project Management and the New Value Proposition

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the LMA’s P3 conference, which brings together "pricing, project management and practice innovation experts to discuss the use of various tactics to explore solutions to real issues face by law firms today." 

I’ll be publishing some recaps for the conference in the coming days, since there was a LOT of high-level meaty topics and conversation happening in and around the event. But today, I wanted to bring you my two takeaways from the conference. As always, there are more than just two to discuss, but we’re focusing on these today! Feel free to add any other takeaways in the comments below, or just add your comments to the discussion! 

Takeaway One: Pricing & Process Improvement Can’t Happen in Silos

Just before the conference, ALM Legal Intelligence released a special report on Pricing Professionals: Essential to Law Firms, an Ally to Clients (report available for purchase). I’ll be talking a bit more about this in the coming days as well, but I read through it in preparation for the conference, and the main thing that struck me is that we’re only now seeing an increase in integrating process management with pricing. 

Tim Corcoran (@tcorcoran) (who was on a unique panel at P3 with Catherine MacDonagh, John Byrne and Amy Hrehovcik) put it perfectly in a post-conference interview he conducted with LexBlog: 

We spend all this time coming up with the right budget, and then we go deliver the work the same old way and we don’t adhere to the budget. And either the client says ‘I don’t want to pay anymore’ or we end up taking a hit to our profits because we can’t bill more but we spent more time working than we needed to."

Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Takeaways from P3