First, there were engagement letters – those strict letters from clients detailing that they don’t pay separate charges for secretarial overtime, social lunches, or other activities that they consider either wasteful or part of overhead.
Then, there were legal bill auditors and e-billing programs, checking up to see that the engagement letters were followed, and looking for places where bills might have been padded or just plain excessive compared to usual charges for an activity.
Now, according to a Corporate Counsel piece on Law.com, there are Litigation Efficiency Advisers, who focus on litigation and take the corporate obsession with unnecessary spending a step further, checking to see if the entire litigation strategy, process and execution is providing value, as well as results.
All of this, plus loads of client survey material, provide clear evidence that clients are looking for much more than quality and results now. They want all of that PLUS efficiency, especially in litigation, which forms an increasingly disproportionate part of their legal budgets.
Thus, it is self-evident that lawyers and law firms have something new to think about in their messaging strategy – their litigation efficiency.
Lawyers and their firms will reap benefits from thinking like a client when communicating with a prospective client. That will require an ability to convey what is special about their trial services, such as:
- Touting any “process improvement” courses the lawyers have taken to improve the efficiency of the litigation process, such as those offered by Legal Lean Sigma;
- Explaining any “project management” training or skills the lawyers have under their belts that might apply to large project litigation;
- Communicating how the lawyers concoct litigation strategies with both results and costs in mind;
- Elaborating on how the lawyers staff cases and coordinate case communications for maximum efficiency;
- Noting any special experience the lawyers have in dealing with increasingly voluminous e-discovery issues, as well as e-discovery technologies and tools (such as predictive digital coding for sorting documents electronically by privilege or relevance) in order to automate the e-discovery process as much as possible; and
- Identifying specifically relevant experience in dealing with specific types of cases, types of clients, and types of industries (don’t just say “we have represented biotech companies in patent litigation” if you can say “we have represented 20 biotech companies in more than 100 adversarial actions involving alleged patent infringements”).
Lawyers and law firms who can not only act efficiently, but can communicate how they do so, will reap a harvest of volumes of clients beating a path to their doors.