Posted by Joseph Lamport on October 30, 2019
This week I finally had a chance to catch up with Wendy King, a managing director at FTI Consulting, about the recently released General Counsel Report that was produced as a joint effort of FTI and Relativity. While the major focus of the white paper is to examine the changing role of the general counsel in today's corporation, at the same time it casts some interesting light on the consequent changes that is bringing about in the relationship between corporate clients and their outside counsel. You can download a copy of the Report here.
The primary conclusion of the Report is that in recent years the GC's role has been morphing within the C-Suite, expanding beyond a gatekeeper function to assume greater responsiblity as a business strategist. Instead of being viewed as a cost-center which must be managed in order to minimize the cost of legal exposure, the law department today is expected to play a far more pro-active role, helping to steer overall corporate policy, taking necessary measures to mitigate risk, and establish a culture of compliance. Instead of sitting back and waiting for lawsuits to happen, the GC today looks to be more deeply embedded throughout the corporation in order to anticipate and come up with solutions before a complaint gets filed. The heightened need for regulatory compliance on data privacy and security issues turns out to be a key driver that necessitates the GC's more pro-active role.
As Wendy King explains, "We see the need for the GC's partnership with outside counsel will continue to evolve and change as the GC's role itself is changing." The most significant development seems to be an expectation that outside counsel will likewise step up and do a better job of understanding the client's business. It's time to get in bed with the embedders, you could say.
The Report found that more GC's are focused on this as their top priority in dealing with outside counsel than any other issue, seeing it as even more important than the GC's usual preoccupation with cost-containment. In fact, 66% of the GC's surveyed said that their most important recommendation to outside counsel was "to know my business better", compared to the 53% who identified the willingness to consider alternative billing arrangements as their top priority.
So the major takeaway here for law firms is pretty simple: lawyer, know thy client. This is a bit of proverbial and free advice that clients are offering to their outside counsel, according to the Report. And how should law firms go about the task. Well, let me leave you with a couple suggestions served up by GC's interviewed in the survey which might help you get started with the task:
'An early-stage technique is to spend non-billable time with the client before you need to. "Get in there when things are calm and get to know your client, especially the client's IT department and how it is structured, because when a crisis hits, no one has time to understand that," one general counsel recommended.'
'One lawyer suggested that law firms rethink their entire approach. "I want them to disrupt their own business model because I am going to increasingly do that if they don't" the individual remarked. "Most of them don't discuss basic project management, never mind appplying technological solutions to our issues, and want to manage the whole bundle, including e-discovery; they don't understand that the client is better served if that bundle is disaggregated."
And so on. There's lots more in the Report that makes it worthwhile reading for the law firm marketing team.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on October 9, 2019
We may not become perfect through practice, but we may become more open to necessary change.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on June 5, 2019
Platformization just may be the next big thing in the legal market.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on May 15, 2019
Posted by Joseph Lamport on May 1, 2019
There are only a handful of brief and shining moments in life when the slipcovers get removed and we are permitted to see and sit upon the real fabric with which the universe has been upholstered. In this week’s blogpost I’m going to write about just such a moment that occurred for me as a young man, in fact, only about a decade out of law school, when as luck would have it, I had a chance to attend (in a semi-official capacity as a fly-on-the-wall) a meeting among three titans in the business world.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on April 17, 2019
Posted by Joseph Lamport on March 27, 2019
Why is brand activation so damn important for law firms? That’s the question I have set out to answer with this series of blogposts. In the first installment I discussed how, for the most part, law firms have paid next to no attention to brand activation as part of their branding strategy. In this second installment I’m going to explain why that’s such a mistake. Brand activation is a huge overlooked opportunity that can deliver enormous benefits in improving the strength of your law firm brand.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on March 6, 2019
It’s an oxymoron to speak of something as being on the cutting edge of the legal market. I mean, the legal market tends to be backward leaning to say the least – the cutting edge to us generally looks like what people in many other markets were thinking about 10 to 15 years ago. Case and point being how we are only now waking up to the importance of data-driven marketing, the lifetime value of a client and client-lifecycle management – concepts that were already well in vogue several decades ago in other markets and industries.
Posted by Joseph Lamport on February 21, 2019
This Is Marketing is Seth Godin’s new book. As you would expect from a great marketer like Godin, the title pretty much nails it. If you want a book that will provide a crash course covering the keys ideas in the field of digital marketing today then this is a great place to start.