Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Total Practice Management Conference Update

This Thursday and Friday I attended the inaugural Total Practice: Get a Life conference in Chicago as blogged about previously. I was very impressed with the conference speakers and content of the presenters.

In addition to wide range of pertinent topics across the legal industry, the conference included a panel segment on legal outsourcing domestically and abroad. While the outsourcing discussion remained at a fairly high level, the attendees were very attentive and interested in the opportunities available.

Put this one down for your calendar next year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Zeughauser Perspective

The following article was published in Bloomberg on the state of US law firms:

There is some interesting insight by Kent Zimmermann of the Zeughauser Group as it relates to various avenues of cost saving avenues that still allow firms to retain top talent.

The Zeughauser Group typically takes a pretty hard-nosed approach to protecting the bottom line. As part of this tough medicine, Kent urges that, “cost-conscious firms to cut salaries, outsource more associate work to India, skip a year of attorney hiring and identify underperforming attorneys, practice groups and offices.”

One reoccurring theme throughout the second quarter is that firms are increasingly open to a multi- faceted approach to cut costs and retain profitability.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicago Conference

For our Chicago readers, here is an interesting legal conference geared towards sole practitioners and mid-sized law firms. The conference is hosted at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker on May 27-28. I anticipate that spaces may still be available.

In regard to conference topics, outsourcing is definitely on the table. It is encouraging to see interest in alternative legal services solutions from a spectrum of law firm size and practice areas.

Total Practice Management Association (Total PMA) did an excellent job lining up some interesting and diverse speakers. I am looking forward to it. Here is the link to the conference presenters: to see you there!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Haste Makes Waste & Risk Management

I just arrived back to the United States after another quick, but busy trip to India.

Looking back on the provider assessments from the trip brings to mind the fact that organizations should not rush head-over-heels into a new outsourcing engagement.

While it is certainly possible to sign an NDA with a provider and begin sending work over immediately, it is not recommended for numerous reasons. Furthermore, it may also be the provider’s responsibility to put the brakes on a new engagement to ensure that all of the necessary bases are covered. This is a great opportunity for the provider to demonstrate their willingness to invest in a long-term relationship with the client and not merely a string one-off assignments.

This is not to say that entering into an relationship with a provider should take eons. However, by taking the time to agree on engagement specifications before entering an agreement will allow quicker response times in the future.

Risk management is essentially planning ahead. Some of the areas that I have seen organizations skip on the outset that resulted in unnecessary challenges down the road are as follows:

  • Understanding the providers true capabilities and core competencies
  • Defining engagement contingencies and escalation processes
  • Designing specialized queues for varying service requirements
  • Designating and enabling process owners and service champions
  • Implementing and integrating technology solutions
  • Defining data use, sharing and retention policies
As Benjamin Franklin once noted, “A stitch in time, saves nine.”

Challenges resulting from these areas is assuredly repairable, but any benefits of rushing into the relationship will be lost or greatly reduced when dealing with these issues on the back-end.