Posted by: johnocunningham | September 17, 2018

Legal Service Summits: A Building Trend ?

In recent years, I have talked to a growing number of GCs at large companies who have instituted some kind of annual summit meeting among all of their key legal service providers. Now, the GC at MasterCard is making an empirical case that such summits deliver measurable improvements in work quality, responsiveness and solutions. But the big payoff for law firms is that favorably impressed GCs are much more likely to recommend the providers to others.

So just what is a summit? The article from the above-provided link defines a summit as a “one- or two-day meeting for key outside counsel from several firms to bond with inside lawyers, learn from business clients, discuss strategy and be recognized for strong performance.” That is pretty consistent with the way that other GCs have described it to me.

As a GC, I always made use of face-to-face meetings with key providers at least once a year, if not more often, in order to achieve the same objectives. By holding such meetings with all of the key providers in the room, I think GCs and the law firms gain some “extras” such as:

  • A commitment to preparedness for important messaging and communication about realistic expectations, deliverables, efficiencies and more.
  • A chance to compare notes and brainstorm about ways to better serve the corporate client by working together as a team.
  • A sense of healthy competition combined with healthy team-work between and among the service providers (including the in-house providers).

The legal services world will continue to change over time, and the pace of change will accelerate, just as it has in all other industries. Those who are prepared to meet the challenges and brave the unknown will win more clients. Those who are not will go extinct.

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