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Category Archives: Outside Counsel

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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

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

“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

A New Frame of Reference: Reflections on the Legal Industry from the Amazon River

Posted in Law firm practices, New Normal, Outside Counsel

It’s strange to find myself ruminating on the changes in the legal profession as I travel on the Amazon River in Brazil, 20 miles upriver from the city of Manaus.  What could the global legal marketplace possibly have in common with one of the world’s largest and most complex watersheds? A couple of similarities swim… 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

Dialing for Pizza: Practical Perspectives on Scoping Legal Projects

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

Legal Project Management (LPM) assigns extraordinary importance to providing legal services that deliver value as perceived by the client. Yet over and again we observe that while in-house counsel tend to view legal matters in terms of broad business issues and the pressures of “commerciality,” law firm lawyers tend to focus on identifying narrow legal… 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

More Eureka Moments in Legal Project Management

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Midsize firms, Outside Counsel

Welcome to the new site for At the Intersection.  We are settling in to our new address and relationship with Lexblog, and are delighted to commence the kickoff with a GUEST POST. Proving that great minds and great firms think alike, I’m pleased to share a guest post contributed by Sheri Palomaki, Director of Practice… Continue Reading

Communicating With “The Client” – Lessons From Lex

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

By Pam Woldow & Douglas Richardson (Part 3 of 5, LPM in Transactional Practices) Welcome Back, Lex In the last several posts, we’ve been telling you about Lex, the head of a national firm’s transactional practice group, and his staunch support for the application of Legal Project Management (LPM) principles and practices to transactional work…. Continue Reading

A New Approach to Collaboration: Legal Project Management

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

Given the hard-nosed economic realities of the legal profession, it strikes many lawyers as a little touchy-feely, and even a bit naïve, to speak of “partnerships” between law firms and their clients. Although the parties share a need and appreciation for high-quality legal work, law is basically a vendor-purchaser relationship where one side’s desire to… Continue Reading

Bye Bye, Miss American Pie! Susan Hackett Moves to New Role.

Posted in General Counsel, Outside Counsel

What a bombshell!  It’s true: after 22 years, Susan Hackett, gloriously outspoken, brilliant, and forward-thinking general counsel has announced that she is leaving the Association of Corporate Counsel.  What a loss for ACC…but what a boon for whatever organization next benefits from her enormous talents. For many of us in the legal marketplace, our entire careers… 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

Drivin’ the Legal Project Management Road

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

The managing partner of a large firm has just called with my most common FAQ: “So what’s the best way for us to implement Legal Project Management (LPM)?  How do we gear up and get up to speed quickly?” Appropriating his automotive metaphor, I said that while I understood the desire to accelerate quickly, the… 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