After more than 25 years in the professional services marketing business, a person forms an opinion or two. This is extremely true for us at EM Consulting. In our Extremely Opinionated blog, our goal is to share ideas and opinions with you that might stimulate your thinking about marketing and business development.
The practice of law is changing – of this there is no doubt. But if the energy and forward movement keeps up at the current pace, it seems that 2018 may be the tipping point for law firms to start to become more than just aware of legal operations.
Five years ago a group of visionary in-house counsels from large corporations starting meeting and sharing information informally with the goal of creating more effective and productive relationships with their outside law firms.
In 2016, these founding members, Mary O’Carroll from Google, Connie Brenton from Net App, Jeff Franke from Yahoo, Christine Coats from Oracle, Lisa Konie from Adobe, Steve Harmon from Cisco, and Brian Hupp from Facebook formed the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, CLOC, and planned their first CLOC Institute that very year. Over 500 legal ops professionals and legal services providers attended this first conference. The movement took off. At the 2017 conference there were over 1,000 attendees. The 2018 conference organizers predict over 2,500 attendees will flock to this year’s conference from April 22 – 25 in Las Vegas. www.cloc.org
“The CLOC Institute is the largest gathering of corporate legal professionals in the world focused on optimizing the delivery of legal services to businesses. The energized, inclusive and open community we’ve created welcomes industry veterans and newcomers, allowing attendees to create a breadth and depth of connections not available anywhere else. With more than 75 curated educational sessions, provided by industry leaders, the CLOC Institute offers unrivaled opportunities to learn, share, and connect”, according to the institute’s conference proceedings.
And according to an article by Jennifer Brown published in Canadian Lawyer, it is, “Not Yet the Tipping Point.” Full article here
In the article, Ms. Brown reported that Mary O’Carroll, while speaking on a panel during LegalWeek in New York in January, discussed the fact that her role is an emerging one.
“Legal operations used to be one that existed only in large departments focused on efficiencies and effectiveness. It’s now often the first hire after the general counsel in a new legal department. ‘The value and impact of this role is being recognized and the voice of the client has really started to come together and demanding we change the legal industry,’ Ms. O’Carroll said.
“Now, when the legal department at Google has a piece of work that needs to go external, a series of questions are asked: Does it need to go to a law firm? Can it go to an alternative services provider? Can it be done in-house? Can it be automated? Can technology satisfy the problem?”
The upcoming CLOC Institute is not only for legal department members, both in-house counsels and legal operations professionals, but also law firm attorneys, other legal service providers and consultants that assist law firms and/or legal departments to create and implement successful legal ops programs. Legal ops is about creating better efficiencies, predictability in fees, and increased transparency between outside law firms and legal departments. With an open and sharing mentality enveloping the conference, the networking opportunities will be front and center.
The educational offerings are deep and wide for law firms. They include an inside look for those starting up a legal ops function – for either a legal department or a law firm wishing to grow their practice through client focused legal operation preferences. A few additional topics in the myriad of offerings include knowledge management, connecting legal ops technologies for better ROI, strategies to more effectively partner with outside counsel, and additional concepts for pricing, profitability and legal project management.
Conference organizers are hoping more law firms will attend sending their client relationship partners, those attorneys responsible for firm management, and IT and marketing professionals who can coordinate the process, the training and implementation. There is no better conference on this topic anywhere.
Directors of Legal Operations are the folks who hire and fire outside law firms. And more and more corporate legal departments are making a deeper commitment to expand their company’s legal operations’ programs.
This is the right time and this conference is the right place for law firms wishing to stay relevant and grow their firms. Learn how to transform your firm’s culture in order to adapt to this major shift in how law firms will deliver services in the future – and that future is now.
The sky may be the limit now for small and mid-size firms to successfully target, court and convert larger company clients. In fact during a recent interview with the Director of Legal Operations at a Fortune 500 insurance corporation, I was told, “We like working with mid and smaller size firms because they tend to give better service and are more open to forming ‘sticky’ relationships with us. They seem more interested in understanding our pain points. Frankly, we find it easier to form strong relationships with them. Mid-size and small firms are starting to capture a big slice of the work these days.”
According to this article published by General Counsel News, “Companies want Smaller Firms But are Having Trouble Finding Them.”
More and more corporate legal departments are requiring their outside law firms to adopt legal operations. In fact, every week 10-20 new legal departments join CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium). This blog highlights two law firms, Baker & McKenzie and Davis Wright Tremaine, that are well entrenched in legal operations and are effectively leading the way for other law firms. Find out how and why here.
What can you do to thank clients this holiday season in a value added and meaningful way which will also enhance your firm’s brand?
According to James Bliwas, Senior Marketing and Communications Strategist, “This news ought to be deeply disturbing to managing partners and lawyers regardless of the size of their firm: Attorneys are losing their once-reverent position as businesses most-trusted advisor.” (more…)
These well thought out and simple tips for incorporating Twitter into your social media and content marketing are worth reading about. It’s not as hard as you think. These tips are focused on the Real Estate Industry but easily apply to any profession.
It’s too late for your law firm to be an “early adopter” of legal operations…but your firm doesn’t have to be a “late adopter” or a “laggard” either.
Microsoft’s new Strategic Partner Program gives legal operations another slant, “…retainer payments, diversity, and developing relationships with outside counsel that go beyond the billable hour.”
Staying top of mind with in-house counsel, clients, prospective clients and referral sources is a major reason to post content on LinkedIn. Posting gives you the opportunity to show you have the latest information in your area of expertise, whether it is original content or posting someone else’s great article, such as this one, demonstrates your depth of knowledge. Be a thought leader and post away.
Published in JD Supra Perspectives 2017
According to the 2016 American Bar Association Technology Report, “Taking control of your online presence is a necessity, and there are few better ways to do so than social media. Used carefully, social media can give your firm a voice, amplify your professional reputation, and help drive new business.”
Yet many attorneys and other professional service providers continue to avoid this reality. Social media and content marketing are this new reality but excuses and resistance to change still abound. With so many different social media platforms let’s narrow the focus of this conversation to the #1 platform for business – LinkedIn.