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LeftFoot - Fresh Conversations on the Business of Law
28 minutes | Apr 9, 2019
122: Innovator Behaviors with Michele DeStefano
This month the LeftFoot Podcast features Michele DeStefano; her recent book Legal Upheaval provides the backdrop for a conversation focused on innovation in today’s legal environment. Through her work and research for her book, Michele confirmed that clients are looking for a new type of collaborative service disguised in their request for innovation. Along with lawyers that know their practice area, can guide and have a point of view; using business language to convey it; clients want lawyers that express the behaviors of innovators – asking different questions, listening and applying a different approach to problem finding and problem resolution. Let’s look at an example. A bank was struggling to show they had complied with a consumer-facing compliance request. In this circumstance, an advisor would typically help the bank show and communicate that they’re in compliance. The alternative response included talking with and hearing from consumers. This bank didn’t have a compliance problem, they had a communication issue, once contacted the consumers noted that they didn’t understand the process employed. The result was education for consumers – and proof of compliance for the bank. Recognizing the disconnect between what customers ask for and what lawyers deliver; this is an example of the culture change occurring within in-house legal and firms. They’re working jointly, investing in partnerships, and sharing risks to advance the industry. Michele DeStefano is a lawyer, professor at the University of Miami, and guest faculty at Harvard Law School’s Executive Education program. In her book Legal Upheaval, she provides evidence that collaborative innovation is the new value equation in law.
29 minutes | Mar 5, 2019
121: Beyond the Big Bang with Jeff Pfeifer of LexisNexis
Capitalizing on Incremental Improvements On Episode 121 we talk with LexisNexis, VP and Chief Product Officer, Jeff Pfeifer. Jeff is responsible for product strategy having established his organization as a leader in legal analytics and data-driven law. Jeff begins our discussion by noting that access to big data and incremental tech development is resolving legacy problems within the legal industry. That in-house counsel is increasingly forward-thinking, using data to inform their responses, and looking to firms to use data in their recommendations. This data is validating a path forward and supporting what is likely to happen. An additional challenge brought on by the proliferation of data is the need for a different skill set to access the data and make data-based recommendations. Helping organizations be change ready is where the opportunity lies. There’s a real need to build in-house teams in support of these initiatives including identifying team members who are not intimidated by tech and the advantages it brings. There was agreement that both firms and in-house departments are in the early days of this new data, process and technology driven model. Examples exist where workflows are undergoing reconstruction, and engagement of outside counsel is being radically modified. An opportunity exists to break down and understand processes so that we can rebuild and better align with today’s environment. This is less big bang and more incremental process improvement. It’s about 100s or 1000s of small improvements applied over time. The time has come to stretch out in innovation labs, to take a serious look at iterative thinking, and failing faster within legal.
32 minutes | Jan 22, 2019
120: Diversity Lab’s OnRamp Fellowship and Mansfield Rule 2.0
Diversity Embraced It’s 2019 and the Diversity Lab remains front and center in the conversation on Law Firm and In-house Legal department diversity. Late last summer we sat down with On-Ramp Fellowship Managing Director, Jennifer Winslow and the Mansfield Rule initiative leader, Director, Lisa Kirby. The Mansfield rule supports the diversification of law firm leadership, and the OnRamp Fellowship is the largest re-entry platform for female lawyers and other professionals. An outcome of Diversity Lab’s 2016, Women in Law Hackathon, the Mansfield Rule has been moving the needle increasing awareness around diverse candidates for leadership and the transparency on who should be considered for leadership. For Mansfield Rule 2.0 the program has expanded to include LGBTQ+ leadership candidates as well as measurement of inclusion and engagement in formal pitches. The program which initially launched in 2017 with 44 firms, today has 65 firms participating in Mansfield 2.0. Today, clients are looking for and confirming that they are benefiting from the value of diverse teams/diversity of thought. The OnRamp Fellowship program started in 2014to alleviate concerns specific to work breaks and provide access to experienced lawyers looking for opportunities. Ever since the OnRamp programming has been replenishing leadership pipelines with experienced lawyers alleviating concerns specific to work breaks; while providing access to experienced lawyers looking for opportunities. Those applying for the program are typically unemployed or underemployed doing part-time or contract work. Most are empty nesters with their eyes wide open. Challenges include technology – whether you’ve been out 2 years or 20 the technology has changed. The positives include resilience and problem-solving skills that only come through experience. Looking back measurement and accountability was a missing element in many diversity programs. By bringing challenges front and center the Diversity Lab has prevented programs from fading or ‘fizzling out’. Today, information sharing; data; and accountability remain a significant part of the Diversity Lab’s success.
26 minutes | Dec 11, 2018
119: Creating Conditions for Change with Mo Zain Ajaz of National Grid
Enabling Collaboration Through Tools On episode 119 we talk with Mo Zain Ajaz, the 2018 Legal 500 Individual of the Year for Legal Operations. Mo is accountable for operational excellence across National Grid’s Global Legal Function. Having understood what is important to its business (including a 25% efficiency goal), the legal operations team at National Grid helped build a 3-year strategic program. They started by gaining visibility to their external spends. The introduction of an e-billing system and a new panel of outside counsel provided an opportunity for improved scoping of work, matter budgeting and stronger alignment with firms. To manage risk and drive efficiency, National Grid prioritizes and right sources legal work; matter profile and risk thresholds underpin decisions specifically what should be done in-house and what should be outsourced with the goal being to drive value and reduce cost without increasing risk. With the addition of data and standards for outside engagement, the next step involved enabling change using lean and design thinking models including legal project management data-driven decisions, visual management; real time information. Through these models including the Hines Model for change National Grid ensured that their strategic road map remained on track. The Hines model highlights the key conditions required for effective change and more importantly the consequences when a key condition is missing. This and other lean models can be used to take an audience from current state to future state. A lean tool that National Grid uses for stakeholder engagement is 3C. Using 3C stakeholders are asked: What are your concerns with the current way of doing things? What is the cause of these concerns? What would be the counter-measure to this concern? The project sponsor using 3C model puts counter-measures in place to address the concerns and create greater solution ownership from stakeholders. Creating the conditions for change and collaboration with law firms is the role of in-house teams. National Grid holds quarterly Operational Excellence Workshops with their firms to address relationship or process concerns through collaborative design thinking workshops. The internal team and a panel of outside counsel work to resolve issues by problems solving, sharing best practice and building a plan of deliverables for the next quarter. Topics addressed at these workshops include a technology audit of the law firms National Grid uses to optimize the use of technology on National Grid matters and decision trees to right source work. The next frontier for National Grid is obligations tracking within a contract lifecycle. Data suggestions a 10% savings on procurement spend when post-negotiation obligations are well managed. Working with a broad team of stakeholders in the industry they are looking to partner and take on this challenge. That’s what legal operations and executing change is about solving big hairy problems with your partners in the ecosystem. Mo Zain Ajaz is the Global Head of Legal Operational Excellence at National Grid. He has responsibility for legal function strategy, operations, embedding performance excellence, technology, as well as panel firm appointment and delivery. Mo is also engaged in a not for profit program called LExOpenSource.com, which is a platform where a number of other legal professionals share market best practice on the business of law.
30 minutes | Nov 27, 2018
118: Necessity is Bringing Change to In-house Legal, with Walmart’s Alan Bryan
Move Beyond Being Risk-Averse As part of our Executing Change series, focusing on in-house legal award winners and the changes they’ve implemented within their departments, we welcome back Alan Bryan, Wal-Mart’s Senior Associate General Counsel. Alan was also a guest on LeftFoot Episode 68. Walmart had an opportunity to change; to centralize, to change firm engagement, and increase legal dollar spend value through leverage – and it worked. Walmart saw immediate value through the implementation of uniform engagement letters with uniform terms and rates; eliminating tens of thousands of agreements including agreements with different terms and rates with the same firm. Uniform engagement letters set the stage for what was next. In a legal department where the majority of matters are litigation; Walmart turned to data; matter-by-matter RFPs and reverse auctions to create fixed fee and phased fee proposals. Dashboards and access to data remain critical parts of the program today, a process that began with data cleanup and the assembly of an analytics team to manage the data and data access. From the outset, the Walmart Legal operations team had buy-in from the top and executed a detailed communication program with intended outcomes of the changes they were implementing. Communicating the plan for change and ultimately the impact the programs were having they were surprised by the acceptance and willingness of their outside partners to assist. Becoming more predictive with data, including data from their stores is part of Walmart’s future; specifically the use of artificial intelligence in e-discovery and reporting at the outset of a matter; to save time and money. We concluded our Executing Change discussion with Alan’s advice to legal professionals on change; move beyond being risk-averse; change your mindset specific to change; be creative, innovative; think strategically, holistically. Today’s legal world is changing, and change is a necessity. Alan Bryan, Wal-Mart’s Sr. Associate General Counsel, transitioned from law firm partnership to in-house counsel managing litigation for the world’s largest retailer. Today, his office oversees his company’s relationships with all outside counsel measuring performance and cost with a focus on data and the use of time-saving technology. The recipient of an ACC Legal Operations Professional of the Year Award; a 2018 Buying Legal Council Award winner for Process Improvement in corporate procurement; Alan recently accepted one of the 2018 ACC Value Champion Awards for Legal Operations on behalf of his team.
19 minutes | Nov 6, 2018
117: Replacing the Abstract with Data
We chat with Matt Galvin of Anheuser-Busch Over the last three years, Matt Galvin has executed change and embraced the use of data in decision making as the Global Vice President for Ethics and Compliance at Anheuser-Busch InBev. Following a significant global acquisition, Matt talks with us about both the volume of compliance matters and the risk factors associated with the newly combined organization. To fulfill their compliance mission, Matt and his team created a living-breathing model to access risk quickly and educate the business about future risk. Focusing on the data associated with potential compliance risk and the risk of the relationships present as the most efficient way to deal with the hundreds of millions of transactions of the combined organization. Their initiative started with a pilot where they looked at data in terms of sets and systems and determined where the data sets were that represented the most risk. They would then focus in and filter up and down in search of other risk factors. Pleased with this approach they quickly determined that training someone to do this could take months and would require an audit layer and additional oversight. To address this concern they took the project a step further creating 12 workflows and visuals to attach the model to different systems and situations. Now armed with data and responding with full transparency to the business, a project that started as a compliance project is now a transparency project. By risk scoring– every transaction, every vendor, every investigation – the business is taking notice where compliance risk is being identified. Access to this information has also allowed for faster decision making. Risk profiles are used to investigate related issues more thoroughly. In evaluating compliance matters, lawyers typically look at the same facts over and over in the abstract. By accessing multiple data sets, pulling the data from different data sources to build a compliance model, AB-InBev is relying on the truth of the data present. Creating a compliance model based on real data versus the abstract the data sets and systems will get smarter as will our teams. Matt Galvin, Global Vice President for Ethics and Compliance at Anheuser-Busch InBev, is skilled in Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Sanctions, Anti-corruption, Dispute Resolution, and Big Data Analytics.
21 minutes | Oct 9, 2018
116: The Iceberg Effect with Cameron Findlay of Archer Daniels Midland
Creating an In-house Legal Department of Value Cameron Findlay is the SVP General Counsel and Secretary at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the largest food processor in the world. The legal department Cam leads has been recognized as one of ‘Corporate Counsel’s 2018 Best’ for executing change; notably firm convergence, upgraded matter management and insourcing. Wanting the legal department to be a value center for ADM, Cam and his team set out to preserve and affect value where they could. At the outset current spend and therefore savings goals weren’t clear, but ADM knew they needed to spend less and put better controls in place. Their efforts were less about innovation and more about executing change, applying ideas that had been used elsewhere. When they looked at spend, a key factor was a total spend of which 85% was being spent on outside firms, and 15% was being spent on in-house work. The iceberg effect was in full force, ADM’s time and effort were being spent managing the 15% above the surface with little time and effort focused on the 85%, below the surface. By seeing and focusing on the 85% they were able to implement change and achieve real savings. Educating and changing the mindset that a small in-house staff does not equate to lower legal spend; Cam and his team educated their colleagues on a more effective process, showing business leaders that a larger in-house team would create savings. While the naming of panel firms is a suggestion, not a limitation, and that 100% compliance to matter management is a challenge a hurdle that pays off. Technology is a great enabler to practicing higher value law, focusing on matters that matter and having the data to better manage matters and matter cost. We can’t underestimate the impact of technology on the legal profession. Outside counsel guidelines, agreeing to a specific rate structure, and concentrating work with a smaller group of firms in exchange for a value agreement is a culture change. Budget certainty for in-house teams and volume-based incentives for firms requires communication and culture; as a profession, the legal industry needs to do a better job up front as to what ‘work’ will cost. Firms add value when they proactively present cost saving and fee arrangement ideas, getting in front of alternatives; that proactive management matters. Cam commented on the rise of activism putting pressure on companies to change the agreements they have with law firms; that every organization will have to do more with less. Today there is an opportunity to disaggregate the legal process to a variety of resources – contract lawyers, non-lawyer professionals, and that opportunity exists to utilize alternative providers. Cam and others are asking firms to understand the spirit in which they are entering into agreements and to come up with innovative ways to provide great legal service at a lower cost. Cameron Findlay has been the General Counsel for three important organizations after a career in private practice and government – which included time as a law clerk for Justice Scalia. Cameron Findlay Bio
29 minutes | Sep 11, 2018
115: Authenticity with Cara Hale Alter of Speechskills
Adjectives that Describe You, Like You Describe You Today’s guest a deep understanding of nonverbal communication and the perception of leadership presence. She’s worked extensively with lawyers and legal professionals, as they look to project the image of how they’d like to be perceived while remaining authentic. Today’s guest Cara Hale Alter has a deep understanding of nonverbal communication and the perception of leadership presence. She’s worked extensively with lawyers and legal professionals, as they look to project the image of how they’d like to be perceived while remaining authentic. Behaviors can lead to very predictable responses from others and lead others to your preferred assessment. For lawyers and legal professionals, the behaviors that convey strength and leadership include strong posture, a strong voice with optimal volume, and eye contact. Similar to other professionals, lawyers are often plagued with verbal fillers ‘umm, yes, and like’, and upward inflection ‘valley girl style’ at the end of a sentence. While fillers can be easily replaced with pausing, coming to a complete stop at the end of a sentence; most people are uncomfortable with it. Adults who came of age before or during the 80s, cascade down at the end of their sentences. Others can credit “valley girls” with the lightweight style of upward inflection at the end of a sentence. Removing upward inflection will go a long way in improving presence and credibility. Do you keep your head still while your talking? This alone is a very high-status behavior. How about volume calibration issues? If you get feedback that you need to speak up, doing so will increase your influence. You can improve your physical presence by pointing your nose at the person your speaking with, and for video and video conferencing have your chin on the level with the camera not raised or down, and strong lighting will put your image in the best light. Cara Hale Alter is the founder and president of SpeechSkills. She is a sought after trainer and speaker working with a wide range of organizations including Facebook, Google, Caterpillar and numerous AM100 law firms including DLA Piper, Morgan Lewis, and White and Case. She was a main session speaker at the 2018 CLOC Symposium.
22 minutes | Aug 21, 2018
114: In-house Legal in a Digital Age with General Counsel, Bill Deckelman of DXC
Technology Investment Pressure Will Continue EVP, General Counsel and Secretary of DXC Technology, Bill Deckelman is one of the most innovative General Counsels in the market today, we’re excited to feature him as our first GC in our Executing Change Series. Bill Deckelman had a clear understanding of both the mission and execution that lead to the well-publicized rebadging of 225 of DXCs 525 lawyers. Redundancy brought on by the merger that created DXC and the need to reduce legal spend sent Bill and his team searching for a solution that also met long-term goals of improving speed to market and compiling data to improve performance. Once outlined there were many compelling reasons for DXC and the individuals directly affected to embrace the impending change. The legal industry and business are changing and the rebadged team saw this as an opportunity to work for an organization continually investing in technology and the discipline to be process driven; while DXC saw the value of accessing people operating within cutting-edge practices. Essential for Bill was the immediate support of the DXC CEO; noting a definite turning point when the concept clicked with the leadership team. Over time, as the communication around the benefits became clear; support for the change continued to grow. Bill sees the digital transformation as the driving force behind change in business and in legal, that technology will enable work, but people need to open their minds to new ways of doing things. While technology can be implemented quickly; preparing people and changing an organizational culture takes time. DXC is moving the needle on value; promoting the need to be efficient while exercising professional judgment when it comes to risk.
25 minutes | Aug 7, 2018
113: Story Telling Lawyers on Video with Mitch Jackson
Newsjacking With Style Out of the gate, our conversation with Mitch Jackson focused on the use of social media to enhance human-to-human behavior. Connecting with 100s if not 1000s of people to create relationships and move your referral base beyond local to global. We’re all in media publishing, and how you use social media makes a difference. The market is moving fast to video and storytelling, and today’s news is the most relevant to the social media viewer. Newsjackingallows you to capitalize on breaking news by sharing comments and offering a unique perspective or fact. Mitch’s strategy is 70% listening, providing tips and giving back to the community; and 30% creating and publishing content that helps others solve problems and make improvements. A few tips? Social media content lives into the future but doesn’t have to be perfect. Be engaging, humanize your brand, and find the unique intersection of timing, trust, and need. Last point? When you combine social media and traditional marketing – magic will happen. Jackson and Wilson name partner and blogger Mitch Jackson helps good attorney’s become, great lawyers. He uses his experience practicing law and building businesses; along with his knowledge of technology and social media to help others become better communicators and resolve legal challenges. Mitch Jackson Bio
21 minutes | Jul 24, 2018
112: The Duty of Technology Competence with Ivy Grey
And the Tools we Use Each Day In Episode 112 we talk with Ivy Grey, lawyer, Legal Tech Designer and Legal Tech author. For Ivy, the transition from lawyer to legal tech designer wasn’t difficult; growing up in Silicon Valley she naturally uses technology for efficiency. Similarly, she’s embraced writing about technology with the goal of making the duty of technology competence accessible to all lawyers by focusing on the technology lawyers use every day; tools like Microsoft Word and the Microsoft suite of products. Implementing legal technology shouldn’t be total upheaval; it’s about palatable changes that allow technology to impact how we work. Ivy looks at changing market conditions as having forced the wall down between lawyer and client. Clients today expect their lawyers to care about efficiency and outcomes. For Ivy, that means understanding the whole situation not just the legal and risk components. By following what’s going on, how we got here and working to correct the cause of the issue we put ourselves in the client’s shoes and show that we care. In addition to her writing and legal tech design; Ivy Grey focuses her legal practice on bankruptcy and distressed transactions. Ivy Grey Bio
26 minutes | Jul 10, 2018
111: The Value of Efficiency and Effectiveness with Goodwin Procter’s Brooks Brown
In Today’s Legal Market On Episode 111 Brooks Brown of Goodwin Procter talks about the initiative and energy required for consistent business development success; that building relationships that lead to new clients and additional work with current clients should be part of each day. Reviewing a single page business development strategy document weekly and prioritizing tactical business development objectives is an important and enjoyable part of legal work and a priority within his practice. For Brooks, repeat success comes from understanding the goals of his clients and their organizations. Asking early what success looks like, beyond the facts then collaborating with them to meet their business objectives. His success story reflects on educating firm relationship partners on a specific area of risk, and it’s associated litigation. Explaining a complex legal concept concisely using business terms that lawyers could remember and convey to others. Brooks advise to those starting out? Be focused on building a toolkit of what works in business development today. Clients in today’s market value experience and expertise that allows them to be efficient in what they do. Using data intelligence to support alternative pricing models builds confidence both internally and with clients. Sharing firm operations expertise; recommendations on fee arrangements; and providing input on e-discovery tools are examples of helping clients achieve effective outcomes. Brooks Brown is a partner in Goodwin Procter’s financial industry group and co-chair of the banking and consumer financial services practice. He specializes in defense of leading financial services and technology companies in consumer class action, government investigations, and enforcement actions. Brooks Brown Bio
37 minutes | Jun 12, 2018
110: Human-Centered Design and Business Development with Cat Moon
A Mindset of Curiosity and Empathy Today’s guest is Cat Moon a practicing lawyer, educator and business leader with more than 20 years of experience in human-centered design, agile project management, strategic communication, and the practice of law. Human-centered design is a process, a set of tools, a mindset of curiosity and empathy. It’s putting you in the shoes of the client; asking excellent questions and listening intently before offering solutions. Human-centered design is reorienting how you work and delivery service by putting the client in the center. Along with human-centered design, Cat and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University Law School are teaching and practicing collaborative skills with cognitively diverse teams. Cognitively diverse teams are both efficient and effective in solving today’s business problems, serving client more broadly and with stronger conclusions than non-diverse teams. Reflecting on her own experience as a practicing lawyer, Cat’s advice to others includes going above and beyond for clients and seeing feedback as affirming and valuable. She also encourages embracing ambiguity, asking questions and gaining insight before presenting a solution. Cat Moon is the Director of Innovation Design, Program in Law and Innovation at Vanderbilt University Law School; where she is also an adjunct professor. Cat is the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Design Officer and Co-founder at Legal Alignment – a company focused on creating alignment in legal workflow through legal process management training and global certification.
26 minutes | May 29, 2018
109: Listening to Understand with Sarah Cave of Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Building client Trust and Confidence A partner since 2007, Sarah Cave kicks off our conversation talking about digging in on tough problems, being highly organized, and listening to understand a client’s wants and concerns. She then shares her three-pronged growth strategy: Show Up: be thoughtful about determining events and situations to participate in that allow you to meet potential clients and make connections with people who are good to know Put Up: keeps your skills toned and ready to assist clients and potential clients Shut Up: focus on listening, observing, and being keenly aware of the needs of your clients and their desired outcomes Sarah reflects on her positive experiences getting involved and showing up for events with both her local Bar and the International Bar Association. She conveys a success story that came out of meeting a lawyer at an International Bar Association event. She also talks about seeing clients as people and ensuring you’re aware of the goals of the person and not just the matter at hand. When asked what’s truly innovative in legal technology Sarah notes that strong communication and technical sophistication is expected by clients today. That leveraging technology to effectively connect and respond to a client’s needs will enhance the trust and confidence a client has in you and your services. Sarah’s advice to those starting out, have a plan that’s flexible; take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Be informed, not just about the law but about business and industry so you can respond to your clients’ needs and requests. Lastly, listening is critical in developing client trust and confidence. Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Partner, Sarah Cave leads a practice focused on complex securities litigation, professional liability, and bankruptcy litigation in federal, state trial and appellate courts across the country. She’s worked on the largest financial crisis-related litigations of the past several years. Sarah Cave Bio
33 minutes | May 15, 2018
108: Joy On Both Sides of the Table with Judy Jennison of Perkins Coie
Today’s episode features Perkins Coie intellectual property practice leader, Judy Jennison, in addition to her time in private practice, she spent 8 years as an in-house lawyer with Microsoft in intellectual property, product development, and antitrust compliance roles. Judy Jennison Bio As a former in-house lawyer within a big organization, Judy understands the path to success requires an understanding of the client’s culture and the goals of their legal department for the next several years. With this understanding, she focuses her efforts on projects that align with both the long-term strategy of her firm and the strategic plans of her clients. Key to this plan is creating a happy, productive environment – a joyous experience – on both sides of the table, enhancing client and outside lawyer communication expanding the opportunity to present ideas and resolve issues. A focus of our episode was Judy’s success story where she highlights a pilot project designed to improve timelines, enhance institutional knowledge of the client, and ensure proper budgeting for a significant portion of the client’s legal spend. For this project, Perkins is providing all outside counsel support (excluding litigation) for a subgroup of the client’s legal department in exchange the client is paying Perkins a monthly fixed fee with a discretionary bonus to be paid at the end of the year. This 12-month retainer is a percentage of the clients typical yearly legal spend. Perkins is managing this portion of the budget on behalf of the client assuming control and responsibility to ensure the work completed meets the client’s overall spend strategy. New matters and projects are discussed weekly with the client and less strategic matters may be allocated to a lower cost provider or put on hold. An added plus – by structuring an engagement that doesn’t require the firm to pitch on every matter, the firm can focus on being part of the solution; offering creative and strategic ways to assist the client This success story is a great example of how law firms and in-house legal departments are changing and why partnering and delivering services in different ways is critical in today’s competitive environment.
35 minutes | May 1, 2018
107: Doing Legal Differently with Adobe’s Lisa Konie
I’m a peer, not a ‘snowflake’ In this week’s episode, we talk with Lisa Konie, Senior Director of Legal Operations at Adobe Systems, and a CLOC board member. Legal Operations and Efficiency When defining legal operations it’s helpful to look at all the things that naturally fall on the shoulders of lawyers but don’t have anything to do with the delivery of advice. Legal Operations is focused on making in-house legal and their relationships with outside counsel and other legal services organizations more efficient. Outside Counsel relationships and partnerships are built on a foundation of trust and satisfaction, legal operations make them better, faster, stronger, and ensures high quality. Similarly by effectively implementing AI and other efficiency technology lawyers can focus on more strategic activities. Legal departments today don’t want lawyers doing operational work; they want them doing what their uniquely capable of doing; work that requires legal advice. Legal Operations Drives Value When looking to create a relationship with a prospective client like Adobe, Lisa suggests thinking differently. Learn the business model of the client, learn about their culture, and their industry. Where legal operations exist understand their role within the business; if you’re bringing forward ideas and efficiency legal operations is a terrific entry point. Think of in-house legal as a small law firm of peers that could use help with tools to be successful. Lend your expertise and help them be more efficient, resolving pain points as a peer; not a super snowflake client. Change the Conversation It’s time to change the conversation to value, and how firms and vendors can help in-house legal can get more value for their spend. In-house legal wants to talk about matters and effective outcomes for their organization; not billing and the allocation of resources assigned to our account. Talk impact; present data they can use, share, collaborate and help proliferate the ideas needed to do legal differently. Lisa Konie is the Senior Director of Legal Operations at Adobe Systems and a CLOC board member. She’s responsible for her organizations Legal and Government relations departmental operations including strategic planning, outside counsel relationships, tool implementation, and communications. Ensuring departmental effectiveness and efficiency while effectively fulfilling the needs of the business. Lisa Konie on LinkedIn
31 minutes | Apr 24, 2018
106: Leading with Vision we talk with James Libson of Mishcon de Reya
The Essence of Vision In this week’s episode, we talk with James Libson, Executive Partner at Mishcon de Reya, about his practice and setting up the Mishcon Academy to help lawyers develop the skills needed in today’s modern legal environment. Reflecting on his career; his success as a firm leader; and cultivating business, James talks about continuously servicing clients, guarding their interests while constantly being on the hunt for new clients; many of which will come through good service in the form of referrals. He encourages his legal team to take advantage of both the institutional business development efforts available through the firm while also seeing business development as building their own business. This encouragement along with the addition of business and commercial training available through the Mishcon Academy has shown accelerated results; and is now part of the formal training program for Mishcon team members. When asked about growth strategy, it’s evident this is an area were the Mishcon de Reya has spent time and effort; and it’s paying off. The process began by developing 3-year strategic plans for each of their 16 businesses. Attention to these strategies has resulted in significant growth. Taking this further Mishcon is rolling their 3-year plans under a 10-year vision for the company. The business decisions being made by Mishcon today represent the desired essence of the firm 10 years into the future. By thinking, working and planning for a future vision, they’re able to make brave decisions enhancing the business in areas they wouldn’t otherwise invest. When analyzing the market, James finds the most innovative lawyers are looking at the application of the law in new areas like drone or blockchain law. Dovetailing this with his advice to lawyers, seek an area of law that’s of interest to you; that’s intellectually stimulating. Today lawyers need different skills; it’s these skills that will accurate the advancement of this new generation of lawyers within the firm. James Libson is the Executive Partner at Mishcon de Reya. He acts for a variety of clients in the areas of privacy, employment, commercial disputes and litigation. He’s worked on several high profile cases and believes a lawyer in practice is nothing without clients. James Libson Bio
34 minutes | Apr 17, 2018
105: The Power of Alternative Law Firms
Delivering Solutions to Clients with Javier Fernandez-Samaniego The following highlights points from our discussion with Javier Fernandez-Samaniego, the Managing Director of Samaniego Law; an alternative Iberoamerican law firm. Firms as Aggregators Alternative firms offer a different structure for the delivery of legal solutions focusing on delivery as an aggregator of solutions. This includes specialties not typically part of a traditional firm; non-legal services, technology, and outsourced solutions. Offering overall consultancy and technology solutions within a firm often appeals to the General Counsel who doesn’t trust the disparate pieces but trusts the judgment of the alternative firm to provide a combination of services to assist in the resolution of business problems or facilitating business improvements. Offering clients the coordination of and collaborative solutions is the way of the future. Lawyers who think broadly and provide business solutions to clients, build trust and foster long-term client relationships. It’s about the client and their business need with the use of technology benefiting the way a lawyer practices not as a replacement or a deterrent to practicing. Firm Business Models and Innovation While many US business models are innovative, the US legal industry isn’t seen as innovative, it’s seen as reluctant to change. The legal industry needs to commit to staying current. An example to replicate is the healthcare industry; an industry that’s saving lives by embraced innovation and continual advancement. Looking at the medical industry and the need to stay current lawyers and firms may see the value of innovation, technology and embracing change. Optimism exists with a new generation of lawyers hungry for change and a buyers market of General Counsel demanding it. In the EU it’s a moment of transformation; lawyers are struggling which is driving innovation. Referencing a report on the future of the legal industry by the UK law society of England and Wales from 2016. We connect the change in the UK legal industry to the financial crisis and the liberation of the legal services industry through the law society’s approval of alternative legal business models – paving the way for UK firms as innovation leaders in their jurisdiction. This change, along with allowing external capital in structuring the ownership of firms has greatly influenced how clients buy legal services in the UK today. While large corporate organizations include fewer law firms and add several alternative law companies to their panels; organizations trying and having solid experiences with alternative firms we’re seeing change enabled. Opportunity and Slogans Today there are more opportunities than ever within the legal industry. Being a lawyer is an incredible profession as lawyers are drivers of change. Thinking about the needs of clients shouldn’t be a marketing slogan but a way of doing business. It’s our obligation to understand the needs of clients and to find the most efficient and appropriate solutions to solve their business problems. Javier Fernandez-Samaniego is the Managing Director of Samaniego Law; an alternative Iberoamerican law firm specializing in technology law and dispute resolution. His firm has experience working with EU clients, Latin American Clients – and US clients undergoing EU expansion. Javier Fernandez Samaniego Bio
24 minutes | Apr 10, 2018
104: Listening and Efficiency with Travers Smith’s, David Patient
Innovation By Press Release On episode 104 we talk with Travers Smith, Managing Partner, David Patient. David is clear on the approach he’s personally employed while growing Travers Smith in Europe. Noting the importance of being front-of-mind with clients, the tireless pursuit of targets, and thinking about clients even when they may not be thinking about you. Personal service and developing relationships – knowing as many people as possible – is important, and when given the opportunity to work with clients deliver the best service possible. The practice of law is about people, and the people you’ll meet during your legal career. By listening to what clients want, and what’s happening in the market, you and your practice will grow. Be brave, be tactical; persevere. When rebuffed don’t take it personally there may be a real reason you’ve been turned away, try again another day. It’s a long career. It builds. Maintain your network of peers and look for people who need your advice on a regular basis. When asked what’s truly innovative today? The conversation turned to innovation by press release. The core of innovation in the delivery of legal advice and services today is listening to clients and being efficient. While the innovation applied to attracting and maintaining a millennial workforce will be key to the future of firms. Travers Smith, Managing Partner, David Patient leads the London and Paris presence for his firm. An international M&A specialist he also heads his firm’s International committee coordinating relationships with leading independent law firms throughout the world. David Patient Bio
26 minutes | Apr 3, 2018
103: Outside Counsel That Cares with Lisa Howlett of Hunter Roberts
Let’s Not ‘Do’ Lunch In episode 103 we featured Lisa Howlett, General Counsel, SVP and Secretary of Hunter Roberts Construction Group. Lisa ensures her organization has effective advice and representation working on legal issues related to construction, contracts, corporate transactions, real estate, labor/employment law as well as strategic business consulting and intellectual property matters. Lisa Howlett on LinkedIn Lisa learned early that the two key skills of in-house and outside counsel are listening and being responsive to the businessperson you’re assisting; learning what they’re trying to accomplish. Today, she hires outside counsel that cares and understands the personal and professional risk in-house attorneys are taking by bringing in outside counsel in with the hope they’ll provide valuable assistance that fulfills a business need. Establishing trust with outside counsel is important, and as matters change and organizations grow you can’t rely only on people you know. Continuously evaluate other outside counsel and be open to working with new people. Look for attorney’s that are prepared and knowledgeable but also willing to share ideas in their area of expertise. Save the meal invitations and trying to establish a business relationship by creating a social one first; no thank you. Invite Lisa or someone on her team to a CLE, have coffee before; or introduce her and her team to someone who can help them. Assist the team by providing something beneficial to the business. Social relationships don’t create business relationships; helping solve business problems creates business relationships. For Lisa and the businesses, she represents cost certainty is important. RFPs are done for larger opportunities and smaller opportunities are often sent to new firms on a trial basis. She looks for lawyers and firms that will work with her; that is willing to discuss alternative fees; looking for predictability where it exists breaking down the components of a deal and getting creative with overall costs. As willing as she is to recommend paying for the advice of a specialist partner; Lisa and her team want to manage and be fiscally responsible about components leading up to advice. Balancing alternatives to be efficient, including working with outside counsel for advice and in-house counsel and technology for document review her in-house department is stretching out in the new legal model. In today’s world, the management of information is key and in-house counsel sees value in the culling of information done by outside parties presenting information to clients in a usable format. Lisa is also a fan of co-utilizing technology recommended by the firms she’s working with. Jointly using technology shows a commitment to efficiency and the long-term relationship. Lisa’s advice to new lawyers just starting out? When looking to establish a professional network that could ultimately provide business for your practice Lisa suggests looking at your peers and building for tomorrow. When given the opportunity to bid on business make sure you convey the values of your firm. In-house legal is aligning hired legal staff with members of a business team they need to know that the firm and lawyers are in alignment with the mission of the client and the firm. Today’s legal industry lacks middle-level lawyers many left 2008-2010 exactly when law school attendance dropped. The opportunity exists and there are many different avenues for junior associates today.
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