Fall 2017 Workshops and Speaking Engagements

For those who wish to join me at one of my upcoming keynote presentations or workshops, here are the program details: Association of Legal Administrators Regional Conference, Las Vegas, September 7-9, 2017: Legal Lean Sigma Institute Pre-Conference White Belt Workshop in Project Management and Process Improvement. Details here.

ALPMA Summit, Brisbane, Australia, September 13-15, 2017: Incentivising the New NormalDetails here.

Prodonovich Advisory, Sydney, Australia, September 19, 2017: Staying Relevant: Ideas for Growing Good "Traditional" Legal. Details here.

Legal Marketing Association, Midwest Tech Conference, Chicago, September 25-26, 2017: Moving from Art to Science: Incorporating Metrics to Drive Business Development and Marketing Priorities. Details here.

Legal Lean Sigma Institute, Boston, October 3-4, 2017: Yellow Belt Certification Workshop in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management. Details here.

Association of Legal Administrators Finance & Law Practice Management Conference for Legal Professionals, Chicago, October 5-7, 2017: Measuring ROI in Project Management, Process Improvement, and Pricing Programs. Details here.

Association of Legal Administrators Regional Conference, Nashville, September 2017: Legal Lean Sigma Institute Pre-Conference White Belt Certification Workshop in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project ManagementDetails here.

Beaton Live, Sydney, Australia, Annual Independent Law Firm Forum, October 18, 2017. Details here.

ICON Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia, October 19-20, 2017: Current Trends in Data Driven MarketingDetails here.

Ark Group and Legal Lean Sigma Institute, Chicago, December 5, 2017: White Belt Certification Workshop inLegal Lean Sigma® and Project Management. Details here

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow and Member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Incentivizing the New Normal

Businesses that don’t merely endure, but thrive, over extended time periods tend to attract and foster leaders who establish and maintain tight alignment between business strategy and business execution. Unfocused businesses with unfocused leaders generate sub-optimal financial performance even when things are going well. But when permanent market disruptions occur -- a certainty in every market segment -- unfocused businesses with unfocused leaders tend to flail until they’re acquired, dissolved, or relegated to a shadow of their former strength. This is a lesson that many law firm leaders have learned.

As law firm leaders valiantly struggle to overcome the consequences of market changes, and maintain their firm's market share, they face several obstacles:

  • Law firm partners don’t enjoy losing the autonomy to run their practices as they wish, even when alternative approaches are demonstrably more lucrative for the individual partner and better for clients
  • Many firms take an undisciplined “whack a mole” approach to driving change, responding primarily to variable client demand rather than engaging in a systematic, strategic process for business transformation
  • There are minimal rewards for partners to change behavior, and numerous rewards to maintain the status quo

We won’t address the discipline of change management here, other than to say this: Leaders can’t drive change if they lack a comprehensive understanding of their law firm ecosystem and how each business function connects and interconnects with all others. Without a multi-faceted and multi-year master plan, the odds of landing on the appropriate formula are significantly diminished. But even if we assume such a plan exists, now what?

Follow the Money

If we hope to thrive in the new normal, we need to know how we make money, and how this process has changed given the market disruptions. Law firms tend to rely on a scant few performance metrics, most of which are focused on production, most of which are wholly internally-focused, and most of which are inefficient proxies for what we really wish to measure: profitability. For our purposes, profitability isn’t a crass or one-sided measurement. It’s a scorecard that reflects how well the law firm has deployed its unique assets to meet a market need in a way that’s mutually beneficial to the buyer and seller. Calculated properly, profits are a measure of long-term client satisfaction, not of “beating” the client in an adversarial game.

So we must understand the building blocks of our business, working ever backward from aggregate results, to the practices and offerings generating those results, to the matter types and activities contained therein, to the efforts necessary to win more of these activities. When we truly understand all that we do, and what we do well, and where we can improve, we can start to identify the critical behaviors necessary to generate greater success.

Acknowledge Different Contributions

Many law firms were built by exceptional lawyers who were as accomplished at generating business as offering legal advice, who were exceptional mentors and coaches, who were as adept with strategy as with operations. This is not most of us.

A successful law firm is comprised of different roles, different skill sets, different contributions. It’s necessary to understand the combination of contributions that generates success. Otherwise we risk the false assumption that “Success is primarily driven by business generation” or its opposite fallacy “We’re successful because we have top practitioners.” Of course these are true, just as a dozen other factors play a critical role. Only by understanding the unique combination of contributions by different lawyers with different skills can we establish a roadmap for replicating our success. However, we must acknowledge a fundamental truth: some contributions are more valuable than others, and this value may differ by practice, by matter type, by business cycle, by client industry, by year. Our objective in identifying critical behaviors is to maximize the contributions of all lawyers, rather than dilute our performance by asking, or allowing, lawyers to pursue that which is not their highest and best use.

Drive and Reward

Law firm partner compensation schemes, whether lockstep or eat-what-you-kill, subjective or formulaic, open or closed, tend to share one overriding flaw: they fail to proactively and transparently define the behaviors expected of partners in order to drive such behavior. Instead, rewards are issued at year-end, in a process oft-shrouded in mystery, to partners who may not know what specific actions were valued, and how their specific contributions were valued relative to their peers. Changing lawyer behaviors requires leaders to set expectations in advance and to identify the rewards associated with the desired behaviors. Lawyers, generally acknowledged as averse to risk and uncertainty, are more likely to be dissatisfied when the incentive scheme is opaque rather than transparent. Managing expectations in this manner also helps to reduce feelings of inequity, because partners know the rewards associated with various behaviors and those willing to adapt can access different rewards.

There’s an old saying: If your compensation plan and your business strategy aren’t in alignment, then your compensation plan is your business strategy. This isn’t a reflection of selfish partner behavior. In fact it’s the opposite. Sensible partners trust that their leaders have established an incentive scheme that rewards lawyers for activities that are beneficial to the firm. When leaders expect partners to act against their economic self-interest “for the good of the firm,” this isn’t boorish partner behavior. This is simply inept management. It’s the leaders’ obligation to create alignment. The goal: What’s good for the partner is what’s good for the partnership. Settling for anything less than this outcome, and what’s good for the partnership might actually be better leaders.

 

Portions of this article previously appeared in ALPMA's Survival Guide for Legal Practitioners blog and in Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms, published by the Ark Group, with permission. 

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow and Member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Pricing Legal Work is a Two-Way Street

In any market, effectively pricing any goods or services requires an understanding of the buyer's perceived value. When the buyer has no idea of the value of a given task, and no idea how to measure the quality of service delivery, then the buyer and seller end up in an unproductive dance in which low cost providers, irrespective of quality or expertise, emerge victorious. An informed buyer knows what goods or services are needed, knows how they could and should be delivered, and knows the intrinsic value of these goods or services to his business. But that's not enough. That information must be conveyed to the potential sellers so the sellers best able to meet the quality standards at the desired price win. A buyer seeking simply to squeeze the supply chain will generate cost savings for a while, but will have no credible answer when the CEO or CFO asks for evidence of a continuous improvement culture that enhances business velocity. A potential seller must also know how to deliver the necessary goods and services at the desired price, within the required quality standards, while generating a profit. To do this well, the seller must know his internal cost to produce and deliver these goods and services, which is a clear advantage to more experience sellers. If this cost is below the target price, he can turn a profit. If this cost is above the target price, he must continually seek out unsophisticated, poorly-informed buyers, an increasingly challenging quest. Alternatively, he can try to demonstrate that the goods and services deliver greater value to the buyer, and therefore warrant a higher price. Or make no profit. Or do something else. Or get better at it. Sellers who ignore buyer feedback when setting prices, focusing instead on calculating the organization's overhead costs plus a desired profit margin, and then distributing the resulting target across the product lines, are playing recreational checkers in a high-stakes chess tournament.

We've been at this for years now, yet too many law firm sellers and too many law department buyers are still terrible at conducting commerce. Pricing legal work is a two-way street. It requires the law departments to do a better job of understanding what they're buying, and why, and from whom, and how to measure success. It requires the law firms to do a better job of understanding what they're selling, and why, and what the buyer's looking for, and how to measure success in more granular ways than "We got paid (most of what we billed)."

Law department leaders: You're no longer allowed to say to your law firms, "We don't know what this should cost, we're expecting you to tell us," unless this is literally the first time your business has encountered this issue. Otherwise, invest in analytics to learn what you've spent historically, identify which matter types have high value to the business and which have negligible value, and determine how to distinguish and measure a job well done from a job done poorly. Then take this information and embark upon a rigorous process to make better build (do the work in-house) vs. buy (hire outside counsel) decisions, and align the providers so those with the requisite skill to meet the quality standards at the right price do the work. Involve your outside counsel or other legal service providers every step of the way. And if you find yourself ignoring the analytics and reverting to hiring law firms based on some mystical notion of brand strength plus a willingness to offer hourly rate discounts, then update your LinkedIn profile because your contribution can be automated in a spreadsheet at a far lower cost.

Law firm leaders: You and your partners are no longer allowed to say to your clients, "We don't know what this might cost, because every matter is different," unless you've literally never done work like this previously. But then you should also scrub your website to remove all references to having any expertise in this area, so potential clients in the future can skip over you and find a more qualified practitioner. Otherwise, invest in professionals and training in project management, process improvement, pricing, and practice management to translate your firm's expertise into delivering quality legal services at market prices while also generating a profit. Do this collaboratively with your clients, or at least those clients you wish to keep. You're also going to need to tweak your compensation plan, because you're most likely rewarding behaviors that look an awful lot like being bad at practicing law. If all of this sounds challenging and disruptive, it is. If it sounds too hard to tackle, then step back and let the lawyers who will be around for a while run with it.

I elaborate more on this topic in my chapter in the recent book, "Practical Innovations in Legal Pricing." 

From the publisher: The pricing of legal services is no longer simply about setting rates. Properly optimizing a firm’s pricing strategy is a critical source of competitive advantage and increased profitability, which now more than ever is crucial to staying relevant in the legal sector.

Firms must start looking to demonstrate their ability to provide clients with greater value through alternative fee arrangements, effectively controlled budgeting methods, and the integration of innovative firm management practices – whilst continuing to operate as a profitable business. Standard business principles have become the norm for firms – as clients become increasingly proficient in negotiating costs and defining the scope of engagement, service delivery must now be framed by value, expertise, and profitability rather than hours billed alone.

With contributions from pricing directors and expert consultants, Practical Innovations in Legal Pricing offers insight into newest effective approaches to pricing that top firms are undertaking. Taking an in-depth look at the role of shadow-billing and client collaboration in AFAs, integrating a firm’s legal project management and pricing functions for greater client benefits, and effectively executing a newly formed pricing strategy, this title will provide a comprehensive overview of the best practices in innovative pricing functions.

I think you'll find this book, with informative contributions from its many fine authors, to be an excellent addition to your must-read list. Yes, we're all busy. But consider this: your competitors may have already read it.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

United Airlines Fiasco - Service Recovery Matters

I'm a million-miler (now almost 2 million) and lifetime elite flier of United Airlines, though much of that was accrued on pre-merger Continental Airlines. I fly every week and rarely get thrown by travel hassles, and I've seen every bad action and bad actors from numerous airlines, United included. The widely-reported passenger removal incident this past week has prompted me, and many others, to offer a few observations. Frequent fliers might find this interesting. Many may not. I'm not going to spend any time translating this to larger business lessons as I usually do, except for this one maxim: Having a client-focused service posture is important for business growth. Having a client-focused service recovery posture is critical for survival.https://twitter.com/Reflog_18/status/851452978104082434 I like United Airlines because I receive numerous perks, but I feel about them the same way they feel about me -- in a given year if I don't fly a lot on United, they take away some of my perks, despite my longtime loyalty, because they subscribe to the Janet Jackson business philosophy of "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Loyalty is measured in the present tense. So when an alternative airline with which I have only modest perks offers a flight that's far cheaper or far more convenient, I don't think twice about changing. And if United were to permanently dilute my perks, I'd find a new go-to travel partner in a hot second.

But I don't have any particular rancor toward United, nor do I think they have systemic service issues or a culture of hating customers -- though their baseline service posture has undoubtedly aimed lower than some alternatives, which the airline has acknowledged. They simply value short-term profits above the satisfaction of their living cargo (also called RASM or "revenue per available seat miles" or, sometimes, "humans"). This is their right, since they offer a service for which there are minimal viable alternatives and substitutes, and isn't uncommon in business (see: cable providers and their customer service posture).

The Sunday night incident riles me, as a frequent flier and as a businessperson, because it reflects not just poor service and poor judgment, but poor service recovery and even poorer judgment in the aftermath. Everyone and every business screws up. But what you do to recover is the true test of your corporate values. To be clear, the actions of a few idiot employees aren't necessarily representative of the whole company. And the actions of a few idiot executives reacting to the fallout from the first idiots also aren't necessarily representative of the whole company. But it does provide insights into corporate culture when the idiots at O'Hare were able to take the heinous actions they did, either without colleagues or superiors intervening, or worse, DESPITE colleagues or superiors intervening.

Here are a few reasons why the United fiasco riles me:

The airline positions this as resulting from a standard overbooking situation. It wasn't. It was a non-standard overbooking situation caused by United employees demanding seats on a full flight so they could get to their next assignment.

The passengers had seat assignments, had already boarded, and were seated when the "overbooking" situation arose. This is very very different than dealing with standby passengers or passengers awaiting seat assignments in the gate area prior to boarding. When someone (whether an employee or an elite flier with higher status) tries to secure a seat AFTER everyone else is boarded, this is by definition not overbooking. The overbooking rules should not apply.

Is there no system for United employees to reserve seats in advance, so the airline can at least get ahead of the potential overbooking and pretend for purposes of optics that it's a standard situation? If these are late-arriving United employees, doesn't the airline know where they are, know that they're running late, and know where they need to be, so it can take advance steps to avoid this confrontation?

Had the gate agents exhausted the option of placing these employees or the potentially bumped passengers, on another airline? Yes, there's a transfer cost, but it's quite small compared to the cost of the decision they made.

Federal law requires compensation for involuntary rebooking ("bumping") and the airline has the authority to sweeten the deal when they don't get enough "volunteers." Even if the gate agents didn't have the line authority, they could have escalated until they secured the approval to offer more compensation. The cost had they done the right thing is also quite small compared to the cost of the decision they made.

Whether the passenger had a "legitimate" reason to travel (apparently he's a doctor who had patients to see in the morning) or simply didn't want to deplane, the easier action would have been to take a deep breath and move on to the next person on the list. They could have even sweetened the deal for the next person, in order to shame the first person, so everyone gets what they want and the gate agents can still feel smug about it.

The airline trying to justify the overriding need for their employees to get to their next assignment is ludicrous. Who exactly makes the determination that the other passengers' needs to fly are less worthy, based on what criteria? Presumably there were a few CEOs or senior business executives with schedules to keep, candidates heading to job interviews, musicians traveling to important gigs, families with kids who have to be at school in the morning, spouses headed home for anniversary dinners, mourners heading to funerals, and so on. The airline employees' need to travel is not objectively more important than anyone else's.

The airline claims that the forcible removal of the passenger wasn't their doing; it was the transit police who took action. Of course the police offer is implicated. It's a troubling example of poor judgment by a peace officer who has confused the public with the enemy. But the airline called the police and invoked their "right" to have a passenger removed for any reason, so who actually injured the passenger during removal is only partly relevant.

The CEO's note to employees blaming the victim and claiming the gate agents "had no choice" is amateurish and really what galls me -- the mistake is bad enough, but how United handled the mistake is far worse. But I don't know which part of it is worse -- the CEO's astonishing inability to grasp the gravity of the situation; his naive belief that he could blame the victim in an internal memo without it getting leaked and creating a furor; or his obvious and stunning lack of consultation with professional PR/crisis management advisors. Sorry Oscar, you just proved you're not fit to lead the company. Finding another airline exec with comparable financial acumen and airline domain expertise is easy. But leadership requires vision, empathy, gravity, emotional intelligence, and a sense of the big picture. The knee jerk reaction to defend your team regardless of the circumstances is what we expect from junior managers. Setting an example and holding your people accountable to a higher standard is what leaders do.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Probably the CEO will issue a forced apology, ghost-written by an advisor hired after the fact. Many people will just move on, because you can't win against big companies. Maybe the memes and proposed boycotts will lead to the ouster of the CEO. But I'm more interested in what happens long-term. Will this change United Airlines corporate culture? Will this revive so-called "passenger bill of rights" legislation? Or maybe some other big news story will wipe this from the headlines and most people will forget. But some of us won't.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

The Anatomy of Law Firm Pitches

law-firm-pitchmanA colleague recently posted in an online legal marketing forum, seeking advice on "best practices for pitching" for an upcoming partner training. Experienced legal marketers chimed in with numerous good ideas of what to do and what not to do. This is a recurring discussion among marketing professionals, due to the large volume of pitches that every law firm produces. However, the elephant in the room is that asking for best practices for law firm pitches is like asking for the best barbecue recipes when your house is on fire. Said another way, the first best practice when it comes to pitches is to stop doing them! Nobody likes to be pitched. Clients have legal issues that slow down their business velocity. They don't have infinite time for endless streams of potential suppliers promoting magical capabilities. What they need is business partners who solve business problems. So stop doing "pitches" and instead focus on addressing your client's business needs. Let's define some terms so you can begin changing the way you think about this, and then begin changing your behavior.

A custom proposal reflects an in-depth understanding of a potential client's legal and business challenges, outlines the potential solutions, highlights the impact should the issue not be properly addressed, identifies how the law firm will tackle the issue, includes a budget and a project plan (or at least a budget and a project plan template), and identifies who will work on the matter. The proposal will describe how the firm operates, e.g., how it communicates when the scope of the matter changes, how and when it provides status reports, unless, of course, the client has a preferred method, and how and when to expect invoices. Such a custom proposal is directed to a specific contact or contacts who have confirmed both the need and the requisite budget to address the need, and have outlined the timeframe and process for making a decision. A custom proposal is 90% (or more!) about the client's business issues and how these will be addressed and 10% (at most!) about the firm. By definition, a custom proposal cannot be prepared without several in-depth conversations with multiple client stakeholders, in order to develop a robust understanding of the issues. If the firm uses an opportunity pipeline to track its partners' business development activity, a custom proposal is only generated after the opportunity has passed through several prior vetting stages, which is done by gathering a successively deeper level of knowledge about the legal and business challenges. Done right, 80% of custom proposals win the engagement.

An RFP response is a formatted and scripted document offered at the request of a potential client, often without specific confirmation of the need, the budget, the potential business impact, the decision process, or the timeframe. The content and format is 90% proscribed by the RFP template requirements and may, quite visibly or surreptitiously, reduce numerous competitive differentiators to numerical factors that allow for easy comparison of bids. An RFP response is often a surprise opportunity and is therefore not typically present on a business development opportunity pipeline before it appears in the response stage. Done right, e.g., the firm refuses to allows its partners or marketers to invest time responding to RFPs that are clearly a waste of time, 30-50% of RFP responses can be won. If a surprise RFP arrives from a key client, your winning percentage is likely to be much lower.

A pitch is a document about a law firm's capabilities, often submitted in response to a client's vague expression of a business need ("Yes, we hire litigation counsel when we have litigation"), but sometimes simply offered without a specific need in mind ("We both attended an IP event, so we assume you must hire IP lawyers"), and directed to a contact without knowledge of whether the contact can or will hire outside counsel now or in the future or, if so, at what rates. A pitch is 95% (or more!) about the firm and its immense and varied capabilities, augmented by lists of deals and cases we've done previously that loosely match the client ("Your business also makes some sort of widget!")  and 5% (or less!) about the client (often just the logo on the cover page). In a business development opportunity pipeline, a pitch will often appear as the next step after an initial introduction, skipping all the intervening vetting steps, reflecting an optimistic lawyer's belief that because a potential client probably has needs, we should rush to tell them about all the things we have ever done and all that we can do. Unsolicited pitches successfully generate work less than 10-20% of the time. Frankly, the primary reason they work at all is simple probability. If you go to a singles bar on ladies night and ask every single lady to dance, you're probably going to find a dance partner. If you pitch every potential client that looks vaguely like other clients, you'll stumble on some who are both in need of outside counsel at that moment and are unsophisticated buyers. We engage in pitches because the volume of activity, for the partners and the marketers, feels like productivity, and because we don't typically measure success.

Your definitions and mileage may vary. Stop the pitches. Stop the madness. Engage your clients and potential clients in a consultative manner, and propose custom solutions that address specific business issues. You'll put forth less effort, achieve greater returns, and you won't look like everyone else.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Understanding Change Triggers

In the Biglaw legal marketplace, it's taken as gospel that loyalty is dead. Corporate clients that once retained the same law firms over a multi-year period may now issue RFPs and shift the work to lower-priced firms. Partners with solid and portable client relationships may leap to new firms offering more generous compensation packages. Associates with certain pedigrees are test-driving their newly-rediscovered market appeal and selecting employers who will pay above-market rates. These changes are arguably a healthy reflection of a dynamic and competitive marketplace. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is that all of these changes are preceded by triggers; they don't just occur spontaneously. For examples, clients who change law firms always signal their dissatisfaction, though sometimes you have to watch closely to see the signs. I'm baffled why any law firm relationship partner is surprised when a new General Counsel or new Chief Executive Officer predictably launches a cost-cutting initiative or brings in trusted advisers from a prior life.  Why is it a surprise when a longtime client demands rate discounts several months after implementing a new e-billing system? When a client or prospective client issues an RFP and invites its procurement or finance team to the negotiation, why are law firm partners surprised to discover that alternative fees or discounts may be a necessary factor in winning the work, and not just pedigree or length of relationship? Some years ago in my corporate life my team established a "risk index" for our key clients, incorporating several independent factors that, when viewed in isolation, were mildly helpful indicators of satisfaction. However, when viewed collectively, these factors were surprisingly accurate in predicting when a valued client relationship was at risk, allowing us to be proactive in our retention efforts. This wasn't rocket science. We simply looked at factors like our contract terms (were they paying higher than average prices?), and depth of relationships (did we rely on one well-placed "friend in court" in the client organization, or had we established relationships at all levels?), and product penetration (did the client invest in numerous offerings or was our relationship limited to a single product or service), and product reliance (did the client have mission critical business processes relying heavily on our services, or were we in the "nice to have" category?), and even our own loyalty (has our sales and service team been consistent, or are we constantly re-assigning people and confusing the client with who to call?), and more. Two factors were highly correlated with risk, or a potential change in circumstances in our relationship. One was a change in our primary contact. The other was a notable change in the client's financial performance. When our primary contact changed, this nearly always led to a review where we had to defend the investment in our service offerings. And if the client or its parent organization had a bad year, even in an area totally unrelated to the line of business we were in, this nearly always led to belt-tightening that would sooner or later impact us.

As a result of this ongoing analysis, my team was rarely surprised. We developed a proactive toolkit when one of our key client relationships was flagged as high risk. And the clients loved it, because we often offered some creative solutions before they had formulated an attack plan, and in some cases, before they even were consciously aware that changes were needed. Who was unhappy? Our parent company, whose executives rejected any notion of proactive renegotiation because the only indicator of a relationship at risk that they would accept was an outright cancellation! This probably sounds familiar to many law firm leaders who hear soothing words from relationship partners of key clients until <gasp!> the client suddenly defects, or fades away without ever lodging a formal complaint. "But they love(d) us," the partner in charge will claim, all evidence to the contrary.

I was recently reviewing an old article in which I shared an instance of proactive service recovery by my preferred airline at the time, Continental. My closing remarks were prescient. Frequent fliers have certain buying triggers, and when an airline stops rewarding loyalty, the frequent fliers stop being loyal. Continental merged with United several years later, and, as loyal Continental fliers anticipated, the combined airline took on the service posture of United which is, shall we say, more focused on "What have you done for me lately?" than "Thank you for your many years of loyalty."

 

"Over the years I have flown to a lot of places. As a result I have earned many miles and points from various airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental companies and other assorted vendors to the business traveler.

I have countless horror stories. You've all heard them. Or something like them. It's part of our culture to mock airport security, or express frustration at airline pricing, or bemoan the inattentiveness that leads to lost baggage and is compounded by further inattention in returning it.

But today I won't discuss what's gone wrong. I'll mention a couple incidents that went right.

Continental Airlines lost my bag last week. More accurately, I had 12 minutes to make a connection in Houston and I made it but my bag didn't. When we arrived at the final destination, the gate attendant came on board and paged me, asking me to see him as I stepped off the plane. He apologized that my bag didn't make it. He gave me the specific name of an agent in the baggage service office who was waiting for me, ready to complete the lost bag forms. Since I was awaiting a colleague on a later flight, I first stopped at the food court and had lunch. Apparently I was paged several times in baggage claim, as I received calls and text messages from alarmed friends. Then I received a call on my cell phone. The baggage service agent had called my home, explained to my wife that she wanted to help me expedite my claim, and asked for my cell phone number. I spoke to the agent briefly, stopped by the baggage claim office to fill out the form, and in about 4 hours the bag was waiting for me at my hotel. Two days later I received a letter in the mail from Continental, apologizing for the mixup and thanking me for being a customer.

Last year was my lightest travel year in over a decade. This was a blessing. But also a curse. Veteran travelers know that losing "elite" status means waiting in long lines with extended families, students, sports teams, foreigners baffled by the cacophony, and vacationers. As it turns out, I flew just enough to finally attain Million Miler status on Continental, which earned me lifetime elite status. I received a nice letter, a few related tokens of appreciation, and another thank you for my business. At the exact moment I expected to have no priority status while traveling and would therefore be more of a price shopper than a brand loyalist, Continental secured my loyalty. Again.

This is even more pleasing because several years ago I asked Continental -- the reason why now escapes me -- for a running tally of my earned miles. The agent who responded via email was curt: "We don't divulge that information except by court order." I forwarded the unusually hostile email to the head of OnePass, the loyalty program, who immediately apologized, provided the necessary information, and thanked me for my business. I suspect the customer service agent also received a scolding for not reflecting the proper service posture.

Continental still serves food. There are still pillows and blankets on the flights. Their rates are as good as anyone else's. These are good reasons to travel on Continental. But business travelers demand a high level of service, the sort of service posture I have come to expect and enjoy from Continental. So unless I move to a city which requires extraordinary effort to connect to a Continental hub, or unless the airline goes out of business, or merges with another airline and the service posture declines to the industry's lowest common denominator, then I will remain a fiercely loyal, and frequent, Continental Airlines traveler."*

 

There are two lessons here for law firm leaders. One: identify the change triggers that are likely to signal a potential change in circumstance with your client's buying patterns. Better yet, build this into a predictive index and apply it regularly to all clients that you wish to keep. Two: develop a proactive response for at-risk clients. The triggers vary, so the responses will vary. But the earlier you act, the greater the chance to salvage or even rejuvenate the relationship. You're going to hit some roadblocks. Relationship partners tend not to like anyone looking over their shoulder. And data is hard to come by. And developing a collaborative response plan is a challenge in an organization where collaboration isn't necessarily rewarded. But do it anyway. On occasion will you "poke the bear" and provoke a "Hey, we hadn't been thinking about you lately but now that you mention it, we're unhappy" response? Sure. But I'd rather control that conversation and stay involved in designing the outcome than have my competitor provoke the conversation unbeknownst to me. Loyalty isn't dead. It just needs some attention.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

*This article first appeared in a previous blog in February 2009

When should a law firm develop its own software?

  Never. Law firms should never develop their own software. <end post>

Okay, fine, perhaps some explanation is in order. While the above conclusion may seem obvious to me and to many others, whenever I make this assertion on Twitter or from a podium, more than a few people will question my sanity or try to uncover my hidden bias. My bias isn't hidden at all. My view is developed from a lifetime of selling software, managing teams developing software, managing teams configuring and installing software, and managing teams buying and implementing software. Of course, the world isn't so black and white that one answer applies to every situation. But, by and large, law firms should practice law, not write software code. Here are 6 reasons why.

ivoYou need to stay focused. Smart business leaders outsource when (a) the all-in cost of buying is lower than the all-in cost of building; or (b) when in-sourcing will divert needed resources from strategic imperatives to non-core, non-strategic functions. Just as corporations hire law firms - because investing in a huge law department to handle all legal needs would be more costly and disruptive than hiring on-call experts -- law firms should outsource their non-core activities. So a law firm CIO is better off purchasing software that can be configured to the users' needs or, at worst, hiring a software vendor to write code specific to the users' needs.

Check your math. If your calculation suggests you should build vs. buy, you're likely doing the math wrong. The all-in cost, or total cost of ownership, isn't simply about software seat licenses, initial configuration, and ongoing maintenance fees compared to the sunk cost of Steve in the IT department who can write code. The all-in cost requires a broader look at the learning curve for common features/functions, R&D time for new features/functions, quality assurance and load testing, fixing bugs and releasing periodic patches, gathering ongoing user requirements, maintaining a product roadmap of features/functions having the widest impact to the user community, training users, providing front-end support such as password resets, providing second-level support for major bugs or conflicts, management reporting, and, oh yeah, coding. By the way, nowhere in your calculus or rationale should we find: "We have a software developer on staff and we need projects to keep him or her busy." Software purchases can be expensive. But it's short-sighted to view a vertical or enterprise application as solely a cost; it can be an investment too, with significant returns. Many organizations offset costs by demonstrable improvements in costly workflow, reallocating headcount doing things the old way, eliminating fees for outdated software, and even generating revenue.

You're not a special snowflake. Your users' requirements are not as unique as you think they are. Every single law firm partner believes the firm's work environment, internal processes, client interactions, and lawyers are unique. They're really not. What's worse, too often the most vocal advocates of a unique culture have literally never worked in another environment, let alone another law firm, so their perspective is meaningless -- despite what the org chart may reflect. A software provider with 10, 75, or 175 clients facing substantially the same business challenge may have deployed numerous iterations or configurations to address unique user requirements, but the core code is substantially the same and flexible enough to adapt to hundreds of other iterations. If you research existing solutions and don't find the feature or function you seek, it doesn't mean it's not out there. Sometimes a feature isn't in the base code but is commonly configured in the customer's deployment. Many times a feature or function is on a software vendor's radar but it won't be added to the next version until enough clients express a willingness to buy. Talk to trusted providers and you may find the path to meeting your requirements doesn't require starting from scratch.

Your requirements are incomplete. I can't count how many law firms I've encountered with code written to meet one specific partner's or one specific client's needs, as expressed through a vague description of desired outcomes, and ignoring all other viewpoints. Gathering business requirements and then translating them into technical specifications and then into code is a discipline, and even Agile and lean environments don't rely on coding to a single user's needs. Inevitably, if what you've coded is a good idea from which other internal users or clients would derive benefits, and it often is, the code you wrote for one specific instance -- especially if it contains hard-wired references to a specific client -- is very challenging to build upon. To scale it, you'll need to rewrite. In software development, it's better to think ahead and write modularly rather than frequently pay for one-time throwaway code. Also, capture input from all stakeholders. Countless times a partner establishes the requirements but the client, or the legal secretary, or the billing clerk, is a key influencer or user who had no voice in the development. It's no surprise why adoption rates are so low. Quality software developers capture input and seek sign-offs from all stakeholders before writing code.

Your discipline is suspect. I'm sure Steve in IT is a good code writer, even though his day job is network administrator, or help desk tech. Even if he's hired specifically as a coder, one resource isn't capable of gathering requirements, translating business requirements into tech specs, writing code, testing code, documenting code, conducting user testing, training users, and fixing bugs upon release. Having Steve attend a meeting with the partner and then begin to code from his meeting notes isn't enough. Few law firms invest in quality assurance and proper load testing, and even fewer invest in virtual environments to replicate their user community experience, including testing for conflicts with other enterprise applications. I've also run into law firms with the source code housed on one machine with no off-site backup protocol, and others where only one person has access to the source code. Just as you counsel your clients to hire the right law firm for the job, look for a disciplined and experienced software developer that isn't going to make rookie mistakes.

Reliance on a single point of failure is risky. We know that Steve doesn't have time to write up a summary of the business requirements let alone document his code. So what happens when Steve leaves and you need to fix or add something? Yes, of course you can find other coders pretty quickly, but their first task is to trace the existing code to figure out how things work. This takes time. And what if, as we inexplicably continue to see today, the current code base is ancient and the availability of coders fluent in that outdated language is limited? What if Steve leaves in a huff and deletes the source code, or changes the password? I recently worked with a law firm that had developed a specialized application some years prior and dozens of clients had embedded this app into their workflow -- a perfect demonstration of the value of switching costs in a business relationship. Trouble is, the partners didn't fully appreciate the role of their two software developers and laid them off during a cost-cutting exercise. "We have other people in IT who can run with this," they said, ignoring the importance of subject matter expertise and specialization in a way that they'd never apply to the firm's lawyers. Predictably, the code faltered, the clients grew dissatisfied, and the clients untangled their workflows from a suspect system. (Side note: partner profits increased a healthy amount that year even as firm revenues grew modestly, but <surprise!> profits declined the following year.) Invest in the redundancies and peace of mind that come with purchasing software from trusted vendors.

The selection of a software package or provider is complex, as well it should be for enterprise or mission critical needs. Some vendors are better than others, and the size of the company or global breadth of the brand are often false indicators of competence. It's necessary to address to your satisfaction common questions and objections such as depth of domain expertise, development process, architecture and infrastructure, configurability of the software, compatibility with existing systems, responsiveness and service posture, and, not unimportantly, how likable is the team you're going to be doing business with for multiple years. And yes, the price tag on the software matters, but only insofar as it's one factor in your total cost of ownership calculation. (Side note: If you're a software vendor CEO and your team isn't incorporating TCO into its sales motion, call me. Your poorly-trained salespeople are missing opportunities to solve customer needs and close deals.) I know you're in a hurry. But if you rush to do a poor job instead of taking time to do it well, I don't think "fail fast" means what you think it means.

Keep in mind, the question isn't whether you can write good software code. Let's assume you can. It's safe to assume any competent coder can produce a good software application... once. But if your business case requires this code to be supported, upgraded, reconfigured, or replicated down the road, it's healthier to start with the premise that others are better suited to provide these services in a long-term business partnership. Avoid falling into the trap of assuming that "We can do this" or "It makes my job or my team's jobs more secure" is a good rationale. The best job security comes from finding the right people with the right skills and giving them the resources they need to be exceptional.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran served as a senior executive with several global companies and has managed numerous software rollouts. He was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

The Lateral Unicorn - Recruiting a Fantasy

UnicornLateral recruiting has always has been an important approach for growing law firm revenue. However, in too many firms, lateral recruiting has shifted from one of many growth tactics to a critical strategy pursued at all costs. Rather than identifying a specific need to complement or augment an existing practice, and then seeking a lateral to fill that need, some seek any lateral candidates so long as they bring a sizable book of business. Keep in mind the usual economic formula for generating law firm revenue: Rates times Hours times Timekeepers. When clients both resist rate increases and demand efficiency (i.e., fewer hours), all that’s left is seemingly to add timekeepers if the firm is expected to grow. So law firm leaders breathlessly pursue a clever strategy of recruiting laterals whose books of business will take the firm to new levels of performance.

The challenge also lies in the wish list of characteristics that the target rainmaker must possess. It’s a glorious dream filled with rainbows and unicorns:

  • Portability. We seek an established partner whose many clients are so loyal, and whose current firm culture and resources are so immaterial to client satisfaction, that all clients will immediately transfer their matters to our firm. We expect these clients to quickly become enamored with our firm, however, and never leave.
  • Integration. We seek a lateral whose specialty perfectly matches our own practice offerings and resource mix. We expect that neither party will experience a learning curve, that there will be no material conflicts between existing clients and the laterals’ clients, that our approach to case management will be in harmony, that our billing systems will seamlessly adapt to the new clients’ billing guidelines, and our under-utilized lawyers can be immediately deployed on many new matters.
  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part. We seek a lateral with a proven track record of transferring a book of business from one firm to another, so laterals who have jumped around a bit are acceptable. However, upon arrival we expect lateral recruits to be so enamored with our firm that they will finally settle down and never pursue greener grass elsewhere.
  • Culture. We seek a lateral whose working style perfectly meshes with our own. We’re collegial and have a firm-first attitude, and we anticipate others to adopt our style. While we seek a lateral who is accomplished and ambitious, we don’t anticipate any disruptions or conflict with our current management structure or succession planning. (Note: Just as we do with our existing partners, we will make exceptions and welcome lawyers whose working style is nothing like our own so long as their book of business is appropriately sizable.)
  • Cross-Selling. We seek a lateral who will introduce our partners to all incoming clients, in order that we begin doing work for these clients in every area in which we practice. We will rely completely on the lateral’s assurances that he is a fan of cross-selling and has done so successfully in the past, though verifying any sort of track record is difficult. We expect the lateral to be relentlessly proactive in this regard, as our existing partners tend to ignore cross-selling unless prodded.
  • Profitability. We seek a lateral whose practice economics perfectly mesh with our own. Notwithstanding likely meaningful differences between the lateral’s current firm and ours in size, geography, practice mix, client mix, staffing ratios, technology footprint, and resources, we anticipate the lateral’s current billing rates to be aligned with our own. We expect the lateral’s use of our resources will maintain, and eventually improve, matter and client profitability. We will scrupulously measure the lateral’s profitability, though we don’t currently calculate let alone share our existing partners’ profitability.
  • Compensation. We seek a lateral whose status and compensation will fit neatly into our existing partner tiers, even if our approach to rewarding origination, client management, and billing time may be slightly, or even vastly, different than the lateral’s current compensation plan. (Note: As we do with our current partners, we will make exceptions and provide guarantees to those whose book of business is large enough to hurt should they depart, or even threaten to depart.)

Of course lateral recruiting is like any recruiting, and the above factors – and more – must be taken into consideration in order to find the right fit. But too often real obstacles are overlooked in the quest for revenue. Lateral recruiting is but one tactic to address an identified strategic need, not a broad strategy designed to grow top line revenue at any cost.

*A version of this article first appeared in the July 2015 edition of Strategies, published by the Legal Marketing Association

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Announcing the Coalition of Professional Services Providers

Coalition of Professional Services ProvidersWe inhabit a competitive world. Dogs vs. Cats. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Buyers vs. Sellers. Too often, however, this competitive nature prevents effective collaboration. The newly launched Coalition of Professional Services Providers is a step in the direction of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between those who offer services and products to professional services firms, and the professional services firms who buy them. In the legal segment, most of the professional associations are exclusive by nature, indeed almost combative. Only practicing lawyers can join this group. Only chief marketing officers can join that group. Only buyers of a specific legal technology product are allowed to join a discussion of the product. And so on. Major conferences often have a bias for in-house professionals as presenters. "We must be protected from vendors trying to sell us something," they say, thereby eliminating input and advice from experts who may have seen 75 implementations of a specific tool or process, in lieu of an in-house practitioner who has deployed the tool only once, in only one organization, and is leveraging the speaking opportunity to find a better paying role. Of course not every in-house presenter has such limited experience and of course they're not all seeking a new job. But if you stipulate to that you must also stipulate that not every vendor is going to rashly use podium time to pitch a product that the audience doesn't need or want and instead will provide useful education and practical takeaways.

"For the low, low price of $10,000 you too can be in the same room with people who might someday influence a buying decision!" says the brochure for the local chapter of a professional legal association, promoting this opportunity to all vendors and service providers as some sort of exclusive benefit that can't be gained otherwise. "For $20,000 you can put your logo on napkins and the president of our association will nod curtly in your direction during the cocktail reception," they breathlessly exclaim. "But there may be no eye contact, and you're not allowed near the podium because of the potential risk that you might begin selling." And my favorite: "You may purchase an expensive advertisement on the back cover of our trade magazine to show your support, but you may not attend the workshop for buyers of your product, where the top agenda item 'If Only We Had a Better Understanding of How to Use the Product' is sure to provoke lively discussions."

While these are somewhat exaggerated, they ring true for many of us who have been on both sides of the buyer/seller equation. What's missing in some cases is a sense of collaboration, an understanding not just that we need each other, but how best to utilize each other. Clients can be great catalysts for new and innovative ideas, features, and functions, just as vendors and consultants can share time-tested best practices with clients who are behind the learning curve. A service provider that doesn't heed client input is no more absurd than a client needlessly pursuing a long, lonely learning curve on some new technology without any guidance whatsoever.

And so several of us put our heads together and decided to launch a new initiative. The Coalition of Professional Services Providers is designed to jump start this dialog. The in-house practitioners have several professional associations through which they can collaborate, communicate, network, and learn. And while some of these associations warmly embrace consultants and service providers as members, most don't. CoPSP serves as a platform for those providing services and products to come together and communicate on what's working and what can be improved, to collaborate on best practices, to work with other associations to develop mutually beneficial sponsorships, to help newcomers to the field learn how to market and sell to the professional services segment, and to provide resources and training.

The Coalition of Professional Services Providers (CoPSP) is an organization dedicated to advancing the interests of solution providers that work with the legal and professional services communities. It is governed by members, for members, all of whom stand in alignment around the following principles:

  • Passionate about continuous improvement – for ourselves and our ability to serve clients and customers – and for our clients and colleagues
  • Committed to transparency in the way business is transacted
  • Access to quality and relevant education that advances personal and professional development for members
  • A community of peers is critical for success
  • Advocacy on important issues gives us a collective presence, stronger voice, and greater influence

We hope you join for the ride.

More information here. Apply here. Facebook here. Join the LinkedIn Group here. Follow on LinkedIn here. Twitter here.

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms

Compensation (Re)Design for Law FirmsThe good people at Ark Group recently published a new book, "Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms," edited by Soo Darcy. I was invited to contribute a chapter, entitled "Incentivizing the New Normal." As regular readers know, I believe that many, if not most, and quite possibly all law firm compensation plans are in need of an overhaul. There are numerous opportunities for improvement: aligning incentives with client needs; recognizing that different types of contributions deserve different rewards; eliminating the competition between furthering firm strategy and partner rewards; addressing the huge looming issue of succession planning and treating it as a firm wide problem, not as the responsibility of a handful of retiring partners to graciously solve by acting against their self-interest; and much more. Above all, incentivizing the new normal means rewarding profits derived from efficiency. The primary reason law firms don't embrace alternative fees or project management/process improvement is that these novel approaches, despite being demanded by clients, will erode partner compensation... but only if we stick with outdated compensation models. The list of other contributors to this book is impressive: August Aquila; David Baca; Thomas Berman; Jim Cotterman; Arthur Greene; John Jeffcock; Joel Rose; Julious Smith; and Mike Roster. If you don't these names, click on the links to their impressive credentials. They each offer different insights into the philosophy and mechanics of rewarding behavior for maximum organizational effectiveness. I am pleased to be among such esteemed company.

If you serve in a law firm management or leadership role, do yourself, and your firm, a huge favor and purchase the book. Partner compensation has been considered by some to be the "third rail" of law firm management consulting. You can mess with anything else in this changing profession and industry, so long as you don't impact the partners' livelihoods. But here's the thing: the incentives as currently modeled in many plans are specifically designed to lead to the law firm's failure. The cost of doing nothing has never been greater. But lest the theme of "adapt or die" not be enough of an catalyst, think of it this way: your lawyers want to do the right thing for the clients; your clients want to continue to retain top lawyers; yet your compensation plan inevitably forces some unfortunate and awkward choices. The lawyers have to choose between their own self-interest or their clients' needs; or the clients have to choose between excellent lawyers they know well but can no longer trust in lieu of unknown lawyers who demonstrably place client needs front and center. The law firms that figure this out have a window of opportunity to capture market share.

When an organization's incentives are mis-aligned, and the highly compensated are rewarded for acting in ways that are contrary to the best interests of the firm, this is, undoubtedly, a bad situation and one can rightly assign some responsibility to bad actors. But the lion's share of the responsibility belongs to firm management. If you know the incentives are misaligned, and if you allow the perpetuation of highly-compensated individuals to pursue their own self-interest to the detriment of the organization, then you have utterly failed as a manager and a leader. There is nothing especially surprising about law firm incentives. Every other business on the planet has dealt with similar issues. Isn't it about time you step up?

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Do You Have An Idea Worthy of a 2016 InnovAction Award?

Presented each year at the College of Law Practice Management’s Annual Futures Conference, the InnovAction Awards seek to identify and hold up as models those lawyers or firms or legal organizations doing things that have never been done before — or never in quite this way. The Entry Form for the 2016 InnovAction Awards is now available. Apply today and tell us your story. Innovaction AwardsClick here to download the InnovAction Entry Form

Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2016.

About the InnovAction Awards

InnovAction Award winners are recognized around the world as being the best of the best among individuals and firms taking chances and creating advantages for their practices. Read more about the Awards here, and be sure to read about all the past winners. This year, the awards will be presented during the 2016 Futures Conference, September 15-17, in Kansas City.

Details for Entry

  • Unless you are submitting electronically, please submit six copies of your entry.  Submissions can be made by hard copy, video, CD or on a thumb drive. You may also email your entry in a PDF format todcurtis@colpm.org.
  • All entries must be received by May 31, 2016, and accompanied with the $199 US entry fee. The College waives the entry fee for recognized 501(c)(3) organizations. Please include your tax id number on your application.
  • Winners receive a beautiful crystal award at the InnovAction Awards ceremony and are invited to make a presentation describing their innovations.
  • Winners will be highlighted and promoted in ads placed in media sponsor publications, on the College website and featured in the COLPM e-newsletter.
  • Winners will be prominently featured on the InnovAction Hall of Fame page that celebrates the innovative accomplishments of lawyers and law firms on a global basis.

Notification of Winner(s)

The winner(s) of the 2016 InnovAction Awards will be notified on or about Monday, August 1, 2016, in plenty of time to take advantage of discounted Futures Conference pre-registration rates.

Please contact Debbie Curtis-O’Connell, College Administrator, at 224.337.9033 or dcurtis@colpm.org for additional information.

More Project Management & Process Improvement Courses Added

Due to increasing demand, we are now offering additional dates to attend the Legal Lean Sigma Institute instructional courses in Process Improvement and Project Management. The highly interactive, experiential-learning courses combined lecture with hands-on experience to illustrate the effectiveness of the tools and methodologies. Our past attendees have cited the practicality of the course, the benefit of collaborating with others facing similar challenges, and the variety of perspectives we and other participants share -- these courses are ideal for law firm partners, law firm associates, finance professionals, marketing & business development professionals, corporate General Counsel, in-house counsel, procurement professionals, and both novice and experienced practitioners of either project management or process improvement. While most of our work is customized and delivered privately to law departments and law firms, these pubic open-enrollment courses provide a great opportunity to see the ideas in action, to interact with similarly situated colleagues facing the same resistance and catalysts to change, and to gain a better understanding of how and at what pace to roll out such an initiative in your organization.

Our next open enrollment white belt certification course is a one-day workshop, held in Los Angeles on May 24, 2016, and hosted by the law firm of Greenberg Glusker.

Our next open enrollment yellow belt certification is a two-day workshop, held in Boston on July 26-27, 2016, and hosted by Suffolk Law School.

For more details on costs and registration, click here. For more information on process improvement and project management, click here and here and here.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Legal Marketing Association Releases "Body of Knowledge"

I'm pleased to have been chair of the Legal Marketing Association's inaugural Education Advisory Council in 2015. We combined input from numerous market leaders with our own insights to develop the first official LMA Body of Knowledge. This tool reflects the skills and competencies expected of different roles and levels of the various members of the Legal Marketing Association. It will guide leaders and managers in assessing team member strengths and areas of improvement, and it will help individuals plot their career paths. Many thanks to the numerous contributors who helped shape this inaugural effort. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOH3JwP4aQg[/embed]

The Evolution of Law Firm Compensation

IntersectionLaw firm compensation plans are by and large unsophisticated, hard to administer, too subjective, opaque, and reward the wrong behaviors. As someone wise once said, "If your compensation plan is in conflict with your strategy, your compensation plan is your strategy." To generate maximum financial performance in a law firm, and achieve the highest level of client satisfaction, we need to re-align the incentives. I've said a great deal about the deficiencies of law firm compensation plans (here and here and here). A good plan should further the firm's strategy, be easy to administer, and both drive and reward the desired behaviors. Many miss the mark on one or more of these dimensions. Here are the typical challenges I observe:

No alignment with strategy. Our strategy establishes one set of goals; the compensation plan rewards other, often entirely opposing, activities. We're a full-service law firm for our clients, but we don't track or reward cross-selling. In fact, we create internal competition and ill-will by forcing partners to take a pay cut when they bring others into their relationships. We wish to expand into new practice areas and geographies, but we punish the partners brave enough to lead an expansion because their short-term economic contribution suffers. We want everyone to get out of the office and become a rainmaker, but we pay partners primarily to stay in the office and bill time. We promise clients seamless transitions when partners retire or depart, but we punish partners who introduce younger colleagues into key relationships by requiring them to split credit. We promote our client focus, but we pay for hours, not efficiency.

Limited transparency. Some firms share compensation amounts among all equity partners. Others share nothing. Some firms have lengthy compensation plan documents. Others make all decisions in a closed-door session involving a select few. Some offer helpful scenarios to guide partner behavior in matters such as fee-splitting. Others trust partners to figure it out. What most miss is that transparency is not the same as having an open or closed system (sharing, respectively, all or no compensation details). Transparency is about establishing clear direction as to which behaviors we reward, and in what proportion, and doing so well in advance of the desired behavior. More than one managing partner has been shocked to discover that many, if not most, partners are unclear on the firm's primary compensation drivers. This is management shortcoming, not a result of dim bulb partners.

Poor or insufficient metrics. Some financial metrics are easy to come by, such as billed hours or collected receipts. Others are more elusive, such as timekeeper or client profitability. Still other metrics are more directional in nature, such as cross-selling (we may know the client worked with another practice group, but we don't necessarily know whether the relationship partner drove that). Some behaviors have only subjective metrics: serving as a good mentor? community involvement? acting in the best interests of the firm? A solid plan has specific metrics tied to the desired behaviors, and a clear and sustainable methodology for measuring performance in more subjective areas.

Inconsistent or incomplete reporting. When the compensation drivers are established, they should be published and then periodically the metrics tracking performance should also be published. Why not monthly? It serves little purpose to provide no metrics until year end, or provide vague or incomplete metrics at uncertain intervals during the year. It's hard make a course correction if we have neither a map of our destination nor our current coordinates.

Failure to acknowledge self-interest. We all want to earn a healthy living. But just as partners are loath to discuss budgets with clients, many avoid compensation discussions until required to do so by executive or compensation committee fiat. There's nothing wrong with wanting to know what specifically I can do to increase my compensation -- especially if the management committee has aligned the comp plan to strategy, so maximizing compensation furthers the strategy! Also, far too often top rainmakers or management or comp committee members prevent meaningful discussions of compensation plan changes because they fear losing income. While a revised plan may indeed result in changes to some partners' compensation, if the outcome is improved financial performance for all (and improved client satisfaction), then it's bad form and quite possibly a breach of fiduciary duty for those at the top of the pay scale to refuse to review alternatives.

Pursuing a disruptive implementation. If we identify a better compensation approach that serves the partners' and the clients' interests, it's statistically improbable that everyone will make the same. The change may be good. Some partners who are more comfortable billing time might be quite pleased with a plan that offers more certainty but less potential. Rainmakers may enjoy growing their books of business without being tethered to the billable hour. But some change may be troubling: some may see a compensation decrease commensurate with a declining trend in economic contribution. But we don't have to make these changes all at once. We can establish the end-state and then migrate to it over several years, providing training or transition support to those who might be significantly disrupted by a new plan.

Incomplete modeling. By nature, any forecast is speculative. To change a compensation plan means applying numerous "what if" scenarios to current performance, with no guarantee that we will sustain our current level of performance. We also don't know if, or how quickly, an adjustment to, say, origination credit will grow the pie. We don't know for sure how many partners will defect if their compensation will decrease, because the market dictates whether their economic contribution is more valuable elsewhere than here. They may already have the greenest grass they'll ever see. So we must model numerous factors, using realistic variables, and then create a few versions of the future. Failure to do this may result in significant disruption and unrest, and risk-averse lawyers tend to become flight risks during times of uncertainty.

Big dog accommodations. Every firm has one, if not many, partners who are the top of the food chain and who are somewhat blasé or even outright hostile to firm policies. Nothing creates organizational turmoil than when senior leaders or big dogs are allowed to break rules that little people must follow. When a top rainmaker threatens to leave, sometimes the best response is to say goodbye. When new compensation policies are put in place, it may be reasonable to make certain accommodations for those who feed others. But there's a limit. The behavior we desire should be incorporated into the compensation plan, and there's no room for unwritten rules.

A compensation assessment or redesign can be an extraordinarily effective tool to improve financial performance, foster a client-focused and collaborative culture, reduce unnecessary distractions, and provide a roadmap for career success. Expecting smart people to somehow "figure it out" is lazy management. Build the future you want in your law firm. Start today.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

 

Useful Metrics & Benchmarking

The path to success in a law firm or law department has changed, yet many continue to rely on outdated metrics to track performance. Both buyers (law departments) and sellers (law firms) rely on billable hours as a proxy for productivity and value. This is silly. Sure, hours are a unit of production and law firm leaders should be aware of what it costs to produce the output of legal work. And yes, law department leaders should be aware of what they're purchasing. But if I visit the grocery store with a list of 47 specific items, I don't necessarily declare victory if I return home with 45 or 35 items, or 47 completely different items that cost less. I've also written previously about the lazy reliance on benchmarks -- relying on dissimilar metrics from dissimilar organizations in dissimilar markets with dissimilar characteristics is a recipe for mediocrity. A general counsel declaring that "We should reduce legal spend to 1.3% of revenues just like our competitors in the same SIC code" is as short-sighted as a managing partner stating that "We need to reduce our secretarial ratio to 4:1 to keep pace with more nimble competitors." There are a hundred factors in play that should be considered. Perhaps an investment in the legal department can improve organizational throughput, e.g., reduce the time negotiating contracts, accelerated IP review increasing our speed to market, so cutting funding harms the business. Metrics Scatter PlotPerhaps a practice that derives profits from lower-cost paralegals and secretaries managing large piles of filing will come to a screeching halt when this work is pushed up to associates and junior partners, simultaneously eliminating the benefits of leverage and annoying clients who have come to expect lower rates.

On a recent speaking tour of regional educational conferences hosted by the Association of Legal Administrators, I asked audience members to volunteer the metrics they track. We captured pages and pages of performance metrics and the non-surprising results indicated that they vast majority are lagging indicators, e.g., "What happened last year, or last quarter?" and reflect short-term financial performance, e.g., "Was this matter profitable?" We need to evolve as a profession to also incorporate leading indicators and focus on long-term financial performance. As corporate guru Jack Welch once said, “You can’t grow long-term if you can’t eat short-term. Anybody can manage short. Anybody can manage long. Balancing those two things is what management is.”

My friend Silvia Hodges Silverstein, founder of the Buying Legal Council invited me to participate in recent conferences in London and Chicago, where rooms full of legal procurement professionals, in-house counsel, and law firm lawyers and professionals discussed the evolving world of legal metrics so we can find common ground in measuring and delivering value. For the Chicago session, I recorded my remarks, and you can view the session below.

My friend Greg Lambert, a leading information professional and co-founder of the award-winning 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, then riffed on my session to focus on metrics for a sub-set of professionals within law firms. After you view the video, you should read Greg's article. How can you incorporate better metrics in your organization?

 

 

Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Random thoughts on the future of law and technology

I have the good fortune of meeting and collaborating with some pretty influential players in this cozy little global profession of law practice. Monica Bay is one of those with whom, and from whom, I've learned a great deal. While it's shocking to comprehend the passage of time, I first worked alongside Monica over 20 years ago when we were colleagues at a spunky little technology startup called Counsel Connect, a division of American Lawyer. You can probably google the history somewhere, but essentially Monica and I were part of an effort to bring social media and technology to the mainstream legal profession long before it was cool to do so. I played a minor role in comparison to the other staff members and volunteer contributors, many of whom continue today as thought leaders in this field. But over time I've gained a few insights of my own, and I've had the luxury of sharing my learnings and wisdom, such as it is, as a leader, manager, mentor, and now consultant, where I regularly offer insights at law firm and law department retreats, at conferences, and, of course, on this blog. I was delighted when Monica, in her role as roving reporter at the recent ILTACON15, asked me to spend a few moments reminiscing on what we've seen transpire in this profession, and what we see coming in the near and long-term. We touch on the role of technology, the demise (?) of the billable hour, project management, process improvement, change management and how incentives influence the pace of change, and what's next. I hope you enjoy watching and listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.

 

ILTACON 2015 - ILTA TV - Monica Bay interviews Timothy Corcoran from ILTA on Vimeo.

Upcoming Legal Lean Sigma Certification Course in Project Management and Process Improvement

What is it? The Legal Lean Sigma Institute is hosting another of its popular "open enrollment" white belt certification courses in project management and process improvement. Join us in Chicago on November 11 for an in-depth dive into PM and PI. We combine lecture and interactive exercises to help attendees understand and then apply PM and PI concepts adapted for implementation in the law firm and law department settings. We cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, but participants will leave with a solid understanding of both the fundamentals and how they can be applied.

Who should attend?

The white belt certification course is ideal for those who are ready, or getting ready, to embark upon a continuous improvement initiative within their organizations. It's also a great refresher for those who have had some exposure but haven't had much opportunity to engage. We held a standing-room only session earlier this year exclusively for in-house counsel, so those who were unable to join us are welcome. We've also held a number of private white belt and yellow belt certification courses for clients in the US and Canada, so this session is ideal for team members who have joined your continuous improvement initiatives but weren't at the initial training. This is also an ideal session for law firm and law department leaders who don't expect to personally dive into the details, but need to know enough about these concepts to establish a vision for continuous improvement and then supervise the effort. Of particular interest to senior leaders are the modules on understanding the economics of continuous improvement. Think PM and PI are bad for law firms, because efficiency doesn't pay as well as inefficiency (even though it's not cool to say that out loud)? We'll show how law firms can generate greater profits from PM and PI while improving client satisfaction. Think your law department is too complex to "routinize" all of your legal matters? We'll show you how to better link upstream your business management's needs with your law department resources and mission.

How do I enroll?

The event is produced by our friends at the Ark Group, so visit their site here to register. As of this writing, there are individual seats available and a few slots for teams.

The Perils of Income Smoothing

Illustration by Chloe Cushman, h/t Financial PostPerhaps you've been following the criminal trial of former leaders of disbanded law firm Dewey LeBoeuf LLP. The prosecution contends that these leaders purposely misled other stakeholders, including equity partners, bondholders, and the general public as to the firm's fiscal health. Law360 reporter Andrew Strickler recently asked me whether such shenanigans are standard practice. After all, if everyone does it, and if there's no standard for financial reporting, is it wrong? You can read "BigLaw Fee Antics Persist Despite Dewey's Cautionary Tale" and many other articles related to the Dewey trial here. I'll offer some brief elaboration on my comments.

First, it may be helpful to have the fastest lesson ever in law firm accounting. Most law firms operate on a cash accounting basis -- simply put, when a client sends a check, it's counted as revenue. When the law firm spends money or a lawyer records time, it's counted as an expense. A lawyer doing work for a client today, and incurring expenses on behalf of that client tomorrow, might not get paid until many months after. At fiscal year end, the firm's total expenses recorded for the year are subtracted from all the revenues collected, and what remains is the firm's annual profit. So revenues associated with a specific matter might fall into next year even though much of the expense was counted this year.

Most companies, however, operate on an accrual accounting basis -- for reporting purposes, revenues and expenses are recorded according to certain trigger events. So the company might sell a product with 12-month payment terms. The entire revenue is "booked" at the time of sale even though the actual cash flows in over a much longer period. This approach allows business leaders to gain insights into financial performance without worrying about timing issues. Of course, in the example above some buyers default so there is a process to reconcile what we booked with what we actually received.

It may also be helpful to understand that good "fiscal health" is often loosely defined as a track record of generating increasing revenues and profits every year, generally without huge peaks or valleys. Many investors like certainty. Of course, business is unpredictable. Higher returns tend to require higher risks. So when investors, or market analysts whose job it is to advise investors, demand consistent performance year in and year out, they often mute the performance of companies that are inclined to gamble less. Many business leaders act conservatively, seeking a predictable annual growth rate rather than making bold bets and possibly generating leaps in income. Investors with a high tolerance for risk expect much bigger bets and much larger returns, and are willing to accept bigger misses. In a law firm setting there are no external institutional investors, but there are partners (who are equity shareholders), staff, potential recruits, clients, and competitors who all serve as stakeholders. Show weakness or fiscal instability and competitors will pounce, clients may hedge their bets by shifting work elsewhere, and lateral recruits with sizable books of business will get cold feet and seek stability elsewhere. So law firm leaders tend to want to project an aura of fiscal stability, of endless, solid, stable growth through good times and bad, regardless of economic or competitive conditions.

Whether a company relies on accrual accounting or a law firm relies on cash accounting, its leaders can be tempted to play with the timing of events to smooth out peaks and valleys. While these leaders may have good intentions, "income smoothing" is, by and large, unethical, and most likely illegal when it reflects a purposeful intent to use creative accounting to present a false picture of financial performance. Studies have also demonstrated that, in the long run, income smoothing negatively impacts performance. I have no particular insight into Dewey's financial performance or accounting practices during the period immediately before its demise, but there are numerous techniques I've observed by other organizations elsewhere that suggest purposeful income smoothing.

Perhaps the law firm has already met its financial targets for its January to December fiscal year and a few more checks arrive in the mail in the final days. If it sits on the checks for a little while before depositing, the revenue is recorded in the following year, giving the firm a headstart. Or perhaps a friendly client will send a check in December with a January date, allowing the firm to record the revenue in one fiscal year but actually cash the check in the following fiscal year. The reverse also happens, a client sends a back-dated check -- it arrives in January with a December date, allowing the firm to pretend the check arrived in time to count in the earlier period. The same can happen with expenses -- making a lease payment early, say paying the December rent on December 1st and the January rent on December 30th, in order to reduce the coming year's expenses.

"But wait," you might say, "If we have extra income and we want to pay the rent early, isn't that a sign of good fiscal health?" Sure, it could be. But when the intent is to specifically disguise actual financial performance and it results in stakeholders making poorly-informed decisions, then it's more nefarious than prudent. Imagine if firm leaders delayed recording fee receipts for a specific partner by ensuring that all expenses are recorded, and accelerates some expenses from January into December, with the net effect negatively impacting the partner's performance metrics so that his colleagues demote him to a lower equity tier and he earns significantly lower compensation. Or imagine that firm leaders offered several compensation guarantees to new lateral recruits but hid this from other partners, disguising these contractual payments as travel expense reimbursements.

You can see that a lack of financial controls can create a slippery slope where even an honest and good-intentioned leader might tweak some figures to address some short-term issue, with the expectation that everything will work out over time and no one will be the wiser. And sometimes it does. But, just as with gambling addicts, sometimes a tweak here or there that doesn't pan out leads to even bigger bets "to get caught up and then I'll stop." That same lack of controls can tempt bad actors into specifically defrauding shareholders and other stakeholders.

Sadly, too many law firm partners aren't given access to detailed firm financial information, or they are too disinterested to request access, or are given access but don't have a clue how to interpret the results. Some have argued that forcing law firms to use the accrual accounting method will help improve transparency -- but this move is not without consequences. Others have argued that law firms, despite being private enterprises, should release periodic public financial reports. One way or another, demystifying law firm finance and perhaps adopting more transparent approaches will serve the profession well. There may not be readily available statistics on how prevalent income smoothing is in law firms. But perhaps all we need is a smell test: Do you know how your firm accounts for revenues and expenses? Do you know if and when and by whom these practices are audited? Do you have absolute faith in your leaders' integrity? Does the position description for firm leadership require finance or accounting training? Are there sufficient fiscal controls in place to prevent one bad actor from wreaking havoc? If you don't know these answers, it doesn't mean there's a problem. It just means you'll be the last to know when there is.

Timothy B. Corcoran is the immediate past President of the Legal Marketing Association and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words. Today's Dilbert comic poignantly illustrates the disconnect between lawyers who bill by the hour -- and who believe the quantity of hours is both a measure of quality and a measure of financial success -- and the rest of the business community, in which making money while you sleep is the true measure of success. Dilbert 60 hours

Lest this come across as some sort of new age anti-work philosophy, the concept is really quite simple: Successful businesses embrace the learning curve business model, in which efficiency gained from prior experience provides a competitive cost advantage. Business leaders with a continuous improvement mindset don't value workaholics who toil furiously and endlessly at a task and generate high volume as much as they value those who can do more with less, exploiting experience to find more effective ways to generate similar or better results in less time. This excess capacity is then deployed against new projects, in turn generating new financial returns. So the true measure of success is making more profit in less time.

As the legal profession evolves, a necessary outcome is moving away from the silly notion that hours are a measure of anything other than cost. When we decouple hours from compensation, or more accurately when we begin to pay more to those lawyers who can generate comparable revenue and profits in less time, and when clients shift to paying for outcomes rather than for production, then innovation in the legal profession will accelerate.

Think about all of this after you've finished billing your time today. We'll be at the pool with a cold daiquiri waiting for you.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran is the immediate past President of the Legal Marketing Association and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

Leaders in Legal Business

Leaders in Legal BusinessThe legal profession is changing. Perhaps you've noticed? What was once a profession is now most assuredly a business. Of course, it's always been a business, but when things are going so well that both buyers and sellers are content, we can convince ourselves that we're above the challenges faced by lesser mortals. Things like economics, and consumer behavior, and profits in alignment to client satisfaction rather than in opposition. Luckily, the disruptive forces impacting the legal profession are pretty routine for anyone who studies business cycles. Those who are most challenged when facing a changed future are not those who have never faced these changes previously, for they will turn to expert guides. Those who will struggle mightily are those who refuse to believe lessons from other business segments apply, and they will blindly lurch from strategy to strategy in a vain attempt to maintain profits and market position while clinging to outdated business practices. Given my career history as a corporate executive and former CEO who now shares my business training with law firm and law department leaders, I was invited to contribute to a new publication, "Leaders in Legal Business," compiled by industry veteran Stephen McGarry. In his words:

"Is law a profession, a business, or both? For decades, every law school, bar association, and law society has posed this proverbial question. The fact is that today, the profession of law annually generates more than $700 billion dollars in revenue. There are several million people employed in the legal profession, and hundreds of thousands support it through products and services. Some would even argue that the profession of law has morphed into the business of law.

Twenty-eight distinguished leaders in legal business discuss the history, development and the future of the services and products they, their firms, companies and associations provide the profession of law. This is must reading for the legal profession."

I am pleased to be in the company of some of the fantastic minds helping to guide the profession today, many of whom are good friends as well as colleagues and thought leaders I turn to for inspiration. Take a look at this roster. It's like a live concert with the remaining Beatles joining the Rolling Stones on stage to play the entire Taylor Swift catalog, or something like that!

Here's the lineup:

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Leaders in Legal Business
Stephen McGarry – Founder Lex Mundi, WSG and HG.org
Overview – Legal Business Services Jordan Furlong – Principal, Edge International
Chapter 2 – Legal Business Publishers and Publications
Publishers on the Business of Law Bill Carter – President and CEO, ALM
Legal Business News John Malpas – Publisher, Legal Week, Incisive Media
Law Firm Directories and Rankings Derek Benton – Principal, Warwick Vine Consulting Ltd.
Chapter 3 – Legal Business Consultants and Advisors
Hiring a Consultant or Advisor Michael Roch – Founder and Partner, Kerma Partners
Law Firm Business Strategies Timothy B. Corcoran – Principal, Corcoran Consulting Group
Business Development, Coaching, and Sales Silvia Coulter – Founder and Partner, LawVision
Online Content Marketing Kevin O’Keefe – CEO, LexBlog
Social Media Marketing Nancy Myrland – Myrland Marketing and Social Media
Corporate Legal Management Susan Hackett – Principal, Legal Executive Leadership
Public and Media Relations Richard Levick – CEO, LEVICK
Recruiting and Staffing Jon Lindsey – New York Founding Partner, Major, Lindsey & Africa
Discovery and E-Discovery Carolyn Southerland – Former Director, Huron Consulting
Knowledge Management Ronald Friedmann – Senior Consultant, Fireman & Co.
Technology Assessment Robin Snasdell – Managing Director Huron Consulting
Chapter 4 – Law Firm and Multidisciplinary Networks
Stephen McGarry – Founder Lex Mundi, WSG and HG.org
Chapter 5 – The 100 Largest Law Firms – Management
Tony Williams – Founder and Principal, Jomati
Chapter 6 – The Bar, Corporate Counsel, and Administrative Associations
American Bar Association James Silkenat – Immediate Past President, ABA
International Associations Fernando Pelaez – Past President, IBA
Corporate Counsel Associations Veta Richardson – President, ACC
Legal Administration Associations Oliver Yandle – Executive Director, ALA
 Chapter 7 – New Law – Alternative Business Models
Mark Ross – Global Head - LPO, Integreon
Chapter 8 - The Future of Legal Business
Legal Business Publishing Tony Harriss – Group Managing Director, Globe Business Media Group
Overview – Legal Business Services Jordan Furlong – Principal, Edge International
Legal Business Consulting Gerry Riskin – Founder and Principal, Edge International
Law Firm Networks Stephen McGarry – Founder Lex Mundi, WSG and HG.org
International Law Firms Markus Hartung – Director, Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession
Bar and Legal Associations Bob Young – Chair, ABA Law Practice Management Division
New Law – Alternative Models Joseph Borstein and Edward Sohn – Global Directors, Pangea3
Chapter 9 – Epilogue
Stephen McGarry – Founder Lex Mundi, WSG and HG.org

 

And perhaps the best part is the book is free! Click here to download the PDF, and here to download the eBook. Enjoy!

 

Timothy B. Corcoran is the immediate past President of the Legal Marketing Association and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.