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Category Archives: Legal Spend

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GCs: Are You Looking in the Right Direction for an Efficient Legal Department? (Part 2 of 3)

Posted in E-billing, General Counsel, Legal Department Management, Legal Spend, New Normal, Outside Counsel

Supposedly, General Counsel everywhere have gotten the memo: tough economic times demand better, more business-like management of legal departments and outside vendors. So, are you moving assertively toward becoming a sharper, better-informed manager, or do you run what respected consultant Rees Morrison calls a “passive pusillanimous law department?” In our last post we talked about… Continue Reading

Brave New World: The Drive Toward Efficient Legal Department Management (Part 1 of 3)

Posted in E-billing, General Counsel, Legal Department Management, Legal Spend

  Slip ‘em some truth serum (or a few scotches), and most General Counsel will tell you their jobs are getting tougher in today’s global economy. For decades it was enough to be a knowledgeable lawyer with superb legal judgment.  Today, however, top management requires them to be both great lawyers and savvy members of… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: Going for Broke and Turning Up the Heat

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Heretofore, the burgeoning worldwide Legal Project Management (LPM) trend has shown what you see when the buyer turns up the heat.  It’s safe to say that if more and more clients were not demanding legal services that are on time, on budget, efficiently managed and predictably rendered, we’d still be back in the “good old… Continue Reading

Well, Isn’t That Predictable? Using Legal Project Management To Improve Client Satisfaction

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend

Whether you are planning to climb Mt. McKinley or to provide well-managed legal services to a key client, assaying the possible and probable changes to your plan is key to success. Recent headlines in Alaska told a tragic story about four climbers on Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America.  Because the weather had… Continue Reading

“Grubby Money” – Lawyers’ Reluctance to Talk About Fees

Posted in Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

It’s no secret – and no surprise – that in today’s competitive and cost-constrained legal landscape the Almighty Dollar has taken center stage: clients are increasingly fixated on tightened budgets and efficient service delivery. It’s also clear that discussing the dollars is something a lot of lawyers prefer to avoid. We recently led a Legal… Continue Reading

Corporate Counsel: How to Stop Bluster, Boilerplate & BS in RFP Responses

Posted in General Counsel, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel, Request for Proposal

We’re seeing huge increases in the number of RFPs corporate legal departments are issuing to try to get the best law firms, lawyers and service. But we’re not seeing huge increases in the quality or effectiveness of those RFPs. To flip the old phrase on its head, a lot of RFPs are garbage out, garbage… Continue Reading

A Case Study at the Cutting Edge: Legal Project Management in Australia

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend, New Normal, Outside Counsel

The legal profession, sad to say, rewards its denizens with relatively few breakout moments, a dearth of challenges that allow its movers and shakers to break new ground. All the talk about law’s “New Normal” notwithstanding, the legal landscape is a pretty conventional place, populated by more “first followers” than “first movers.” That’s why it… Continue Reading

THE LOW DELTA FIRM: Demise of the Low Ball?

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

If you are racing to stay competitive in today’s rapidly-changing legal marketplace, you probably have learned some new words and acronyms. Convergence programs. Alternative fee arrangements – or AFAs. RFPs, those increasingly draconian client requests for proposals. LPM, that is, legal project management. LPOs, those legal process outsourcing enterprises. The Key Selection Criterion All of… Continue Reading

A General Counsel’s Take On Legal Project Management & Foreseeability

Posted in Alternative Fee Arrangements, General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Guest Post by Russ Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer United Retirement Plan Consultants   Pam Woldow’s recent blog post, Putting Some Pepper Into Legal Project Management, called to mind my own recent successful use of Legal Project Management (LPM) to manage the risks and foreseeability issues in an engagement with one of our… Continue Reading

Are You Prepared to Kick Butt?

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Spend, New Normal, Outside Counsel

This song goes out to all you General Counsel and senior in-house lawyers, and its title is “Sometimes You Folks Get Hosed and Don’t Do Nothin’ About It.” I could just as easily have directed the song to those law firm lawyers who sometimes are a little, ah, “casual” about the finer points of scoping… Continue Reading

Putting Some Pepper Into Legal Project Management?

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

It is not uncommon for law firms being pressed by clients for more accurate budgeting and better budget management to raise the “unpredictability defense.” Whether in litigation or transactional matters, the unpredictability defense asserts that it is nearly impossible to precisely plan and completely control legal spend because legal matters are subject to such a… Continue Reading

Mallesons is Making Efficiency a Law Firm Issue.

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about the weather, but few are doing anything about it. A notable exception is premier Australian firm Mallesons. The firm not only has responded to the client-driven need for enhanced value and efficiency in legal service delivery, but has recognized that lawyers’ time is much better spent doing things that… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management Momentum: The Dechert Experience

Posted in Alternative Fee Arrangements, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend

In 2009, Dechert established itself as a committed first-adopter in the burgeoning Legal Project Management (LPM) trend by offering LPM training to every partner in its U.S.and European offices, certainly a major undertaking. I was retained to design and facilitate LPM training that included scores of workshops for hundreds of partners over a 9-month period…. Continue Reading

Is Legal Project Management Really Different than Project Management?

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

In recent weeks, several bloggers have waged a spirited debate about whether Legal Project Management (LPM) is really just plain, old Project Management in a law firm setting.  As you might expect, there are advocates on every side plus plenty of folks asking, who cares?  Here’s my take, as posted at 3 Geeks and a… Continue Reading

Room at the Waterhole: Midsize Firms Making the Most of the Middle

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Spend, Midsize firms, Outside Counsel

Many pundits would have us believe that sweeping changes in the legal profession will crunch medium size firms between the “we-can-do-everything-for-everybody” Goliaths and the new generation of super-lean virtual firms and narrow-niche boutiques.  However, a number of midsize firms I’ve spoken with claim, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that reports of their imminent demise are greatly… Continue Reading

5 Key Takeaways from General Counsel Outside the US

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

More than 60 in-house General Counsel and Chief Legal Officers met in Sao Paulo last month to participate in the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA) annual meeting. They haled from companies based throughout Latin America, as well as international companies with major offices in Latin America. A sampling of the companies included Dow Corning,… Continue Reading

Double Vision: Evolving Perspectives on Law Firms

Posted in Alternative Fee Arrangements, General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

If the legal profession is indeed driving toward a “new normal,” it has not yet resolved which road it will take. On one hand, the Goliaths continue to bulk up, and there clearly is a lot of life left in the Big-Bigger-BiggestLaw model. 2010 was a dormant year for mergers, but in 2011 the big… Continue Reading

General Counsel Colloquium

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel, Request for Proposal

Thanks to one savvy GC for the great suggestion that At the Intersection provide a periodic summary of the posts for corporate counsel.  Here then is the roll call (in reverse chronological order): The Client’s New Voice No Place to Hide Warning Bells Legal Project Management Moves In-House An Open Letter to General Counsel in… Continue Reading

Bodycount

Posted in Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

The glowing reports of law firm profits that have occupied recent headlines may make it seem like the legal industry is returning to the “Way We Were” in the pre-2007 Golden Era, and everyone can breathe easy. Here’s a sampling of those headlines: In 2010, Fried Frank’s profits per partner surged 28% to $1.6 million.  Gibson Dunn’s… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: The Communications Component

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

In this post I collaborate with my Edge colleague, Doug Richardson, who has decades of experience as a communications guru. Doug and I often teach Legal Project Management Workshops together for law firms and legal departments. © 2011, Edge International US, LLC True Tales Let’s start with a few true-life wake-up calls.  First, the bad news:… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: An Expanding Perspective

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

The most significant news on the legal project management (LPM) front is that the thinking is evolving about the roles and responsibilities of the players. Until fairly recently, LPM was seen as a re-engineering of legal service delivery that took place primarily within the law firm. In other words, the firms promised their clients that… Continue Reading

The Client’s New Voice

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel, Request for Proposal

Most commentators agree that the economically-driven sea change in the legal profession has changed the way legal services are procured and has shifted the balance of negotiating and pricing power from law firms to their clients. Corporate counsel now have mandates from the C-Suite to do more with less, contain costs, think outside the box… Continue Reading

2011: Contemplating the Great What Next

Posted in Alternative Fee Arrangements, General Counsel, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

It’s been an eventful year for the legal profession, although scores of law firm lawyers and in-house counsel wish it hadn’t been.  For many lawyers, Legal Project Management (LPM) — the drive to make the cost of legal services more predictable and their delivery more efficient – remains at center stage as an economic imperative,… Continue Reading

Holiday Bells: The 17 Days of Legal Project Management

Posted in General Counsel, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

In a unique variation on the 12 days of Christmas, we at Edge presently are criss-crossing the country to conduct Legal Project Management (LPM) training programs for major national firms and in-house legal departments every single day – including weekends – from December 1 through December 17th. Richmond, then San Francisco, Palo Alto, Houston, Dallas,… Continue Reading