Posted by: johnocunningham | April 17, 2018

In-house Counsel Rankings of Law Firms by Industry

“Above The Law” recently published rankings of law firms according to survey metrics supplied by in-house counsel as client-respondents.

Since these rankings are done according to client opinions, they should be of some value and/or concern to law firms, which were scored and ranked according to their service in various industries, including the following:

  • consumer products
  • energy
  • media/entertainment
  • life sciences/health care
  • finance
  • technology

Overall, there were just 25 top tier firms and a little more than 20 in the second tier of scoring.

Ultimately, in the battle for survival, there is no more important metric than client satisfaction, and this is but one example of a survey intended to gauge it. Firms that are not doing their own surveys are not doing what their own top clients do – measuring customer satisfaction every year, if not every quarter.

 

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his is my 64th post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of March 2018, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  • A post by Lindsay Griffiths at “Zen and the Art of Legal Networking” entitled: “Success Requires Client Satisfaction.” This is a nice post that cites the work of the Disney organization as an example of constant improvement in customer satisfaction and service scoring;
  • A post by Toby Brown at “3 Geeks and a Law Blog,” which is entitled “The Law Firm COO of the Future.” This post examines the trend in law firm empowerment of COOs as business Sherpas, tacticians and educators essential to progress in an increasingly competitive world.
  • A post by Bruce MacEwen at the Adam Smith blog, entitled “The Use and Abuse of Words.” This post provides a thought-provoking distinction between the way that businesses and law firms look at and speak about profitability, productivity and other concepts.

All of these posts take a good, hard look at critical concepts – client satisfaction, sophisticated business management and descriptive measuring sticks – that affect the direction and competitive strategy and execution of law firms.

Posted by: johnocunningham | March 22, 2018

No “Safe Spaces” Left for Law Firms

Recent published reports on the state of the law firm industry have issued a clarion call about the future.

A 2018 Report on the State of the Legal Market by Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown University Law Center concludes that the transformation of the legal services market is accelerating.

This report, coupled with another recently published report on Law.com, reveals that so-called “alternative” legal service providers will have a greater share of the legal services market than law firms within the next 25 years at the current rate of change.

Services provided by AXIOM, LegalZoom, tech-as-a-service providers, and the Big Four and other accounting firms are all growing much faster than law firm revenues as a whole.

Clearly, the clients are voting with their dollars, and law firms will need to innovate, take risks and compete in new ways if they want to remain the dominant providers of legal services.  Competitors are aiming at every sector of services provided by traditional firms, aiming to provide faster, cheaper and better services in niche areas such as electronic discovery, corporate document filing and processing, basic wills and powers of attorney, litigation support, contracts and other basic needs.

For law firms, there are two challenges:

  • How to design and build better products and services that are more competitively priced; and
  • How to market those products and services to clients, and communicate the cost-benefit value proposition better

There will always be a space left for law firms, but it just might be very small and very unsafe in 25 years or less.

Posted by: johnocunningham | March 19, 2018

Best Blog Posts in February: Legal Pricing, Technology & Leadership

This is my 63rd post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of February 2018, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A neat post by Sue-Ella Prodonovich on her Prodonovich Advisory blog, entitled, “How To Get Your Pricing Right in 2018
  2. A thought-provoking post by Gerry Riskin on his Amazing Firms Amazing Practices blog, entitled, “Legal Tech As a Service
  3. A post by Michael Short on the LawVision blog, entitled, “Law Firm Leadership is Like Walking the Dogs

All of these posts will challenge law firm leaders to think critically about their topics – pricing, the use of legal technology, and leadership.

A recent research study developed by “Globality” in collaboration with The Lawyer found that General Counsel often prefer working with smaller law firms, but often lack the means to find those that are the right fit. The survey went out to more than 300 GCs from organizations with over $1 billion in revenue to uncover the latest industry viewpoint about hiring outside counsel.

Some of the findings in the report were:

  • Almost 70% of General Counsel rely on pre-existing relationships or referrals to source new legal providers.
  • Levels of dissatisfaction are three times higher with larger law firms than with smaller competitors.
  • When presented with a series of new legal technologies, 86% of survey respondents were most excited by tools for sourcing and/or communicating with legal providers outside of their immediate network.
You can read the full report at the Globality website to learn why GCs are increasingly relying on smaller firms and how technology can improve the efficiency and accuracy of sourcing the right firm for any given matter.
Posted by: johnocunningham | February 17, 2018

Law Firm Cyber-Security: Ethical Issue and Marketing Opportunity

Last year, the ABA Journal called cybersecurity “the biggest risk that law firms face.”

Last year was also the first time that multiple GCs on the RainDance Conference in-house panel of lawyers told audience members that cybersecurity issues were a factor in law firm hiring or firing. So now law firm clients can give you a thumbs up or down based on your technology.

Furthermore, the ABA Model Rules now require lawyers to become aware of “the benefits and risks of relevant technology.”

All of this presents both a burden and an opportunity for law firms. Those who adapt state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures and practices will not only be better protected, they can tout this battle-readiness to interested clients as an edge in sales pitches.

There are steps that law firms can take, and when they take them, they can inform their clients that proper protocols have been followed to protect their valuable data and communications.

 

Posted by: johnocunningham | February 6, 2018

Best Blog Posts of January: Communication, Trust and New Ideas for 2018

This is my 62nd post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of January 2018, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A nice summary of steps to take in getting old clients to follow you to a new firm, which can be found at the Prodonovich Advisory blog.
  2. A neat post on “developing trust” by Deb Scaringi, which can be found on the Scaringi Marketing site.
  3. A list of nine ideas for 2018 marketing success that you might not have considered, which can be found on Mandy Edwards’ ME Marketing blog.
Posted by: johnocunningham | January 23, 2018

Communications: Be Quick, but Don’t Hurry

The most successful college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden of UCLA’s glory years, had a mantra he repeated to his teams: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than three in a row in Division 1 college basketball.

Wooden understood the importance of being quicker than your opponent in getting to the goal, but he also knew the danger inherent in hurrying to get there. The idea is to play as a coordinated team at the highest speed possible while maintaining control of the ball.

The same rule could well be applied to communications – be quick, but don’t hurry to communicate vital information to your teammates, clients, customers, strategic partners and the public.

If you are not quick enough to communicate key information to teammates or employees, the gap in time without communication will be filled in by speculation, rumor, and spontaneous rumblings from those who are quicker, but careless. If you are not quick enough to communicate to clients, customers, the public or to outside stakeholders, then the same applies – you will be stuck with the perception of truth that gets created in the vacuum of information.

But if you hurry to get information out, then you are in danger of getting it wrong, either because it has not been sufficiently checked factually, or coordinated internally so as to make sure everyone is on the same page. In too many situations, organizations have communicated misinformation because one person spoke for the organization based on unilateral assumptions or lack of understanding with regard to the entire organization.

The key to high-scoring communication is in “coordinated quickness,” which requires every player to execute promptly on his or her responsible role for contributing or checking facts, coordinating with others, and then working within the established playbook to accomplish the messaging objectives.

A nice article on the relevance of John Wooden’s mantra to high performance can be found in the 11-30-2014 edition of Psychology Today online.

This is my 61st post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of December 2017, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A post on Adam Smith, Esq. entitled “Reflections of a GC,” which contains 10 things a GC wishes that outside counsel knew. At least half of the 10 items are refrains that I have heard from other GCs that I have interviewed, and thus, I think law firm attorneys and marketers would be well-served to read them.
  2. A post on the Ackert Advisory entitled, “How to Get Superior Results,” which offers some practical tips on taking some chances on new ways of doing business development.
  3. A post on the Cordell Parvin blog (which Cordell says could be his last post) entitled, “Success and Fulfillment,” which covers a subject that is critically important to lawyers – finding BOTH success and fulfillment in a career.  I love how Cordell pays homage to his parents in teaching him how to find his path, saying: “My dad taught me to live, my mom taught me to love. My dad taught me to be successful, my mom taught me to be fulfilled. My dad taught me to be confident and to make my own way, my mom taught me to be humble and faithful.” Thanks for sharing, Cordell. We all need this kind of balance to thrive !
Posted by: johnocunningham | January 10, 2018

Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

For readers of my blog, I am listing some of my most popular blog posts in the past year:

  1. my blog post about the hot buttons and preferences of Chief Legal Officers
  2. my post about crisis and failure as opportunities for positive growth
  3. my post about what’s new in legal service innovation
  4. my post about letting the voice of the client guide your marketing and service 
  5. my post about GCs sharing data on law firm performance

Last year, many people clicked on blog posts I wrote in prior years as well. Two of the more popular posts from prior years were:

  1. my post about how many impressions make a sale
  2. my post about 10 hilariously misused legal terms 

Hope you enjoy the posts in the year to come !

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