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The Creative Counsel: Rethinking the Attorney-Client Relationship
 

The Creative Counsel: Rethinking the Attorney-Client Relationship

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The slides from my recent presentation to the Association of Corporate Counsel meeting in St. Louis, MO.

The slides from my recent presentation to the Association of Corporate Counsel meeting in St. Louis, MO.

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  • <br />
  • My company is LexThink. I have a unique &#x201C;job&#x201D; I get to work with lawyers and law firms, often as a &#x201C;fly on the wall&#x201D; during their conversations about client service, billing, fees, etc. <br /> <br /> I also get a chance to work with senior executives of big companies as I facilitate their meetings. <br /> <br /> Once they find out I&#x2019;m a lawyer, I get to hear a litany of the things they hate about their counsel. <br />
  • <br />
  • <br />
  • My goal for today is to give you a few more ---- ideas. <br /> <br /> One of the big challenges with lawyers, is that we spend all of our &#x201C;creative thinking time&#x201D; solving our clients&#x2019; problems. <br />
  • Ideas than you had before you got here -- and to challenge you to think a bit differently about the relationship between lawyer and client. &#x201C;client&#x201D; <br />
  • So, I challenge you to ignore &#x201C;precedent&#x201D; for a bit. Don&#x2019;t ask &#x201C;what other firms&#x201D; are doing that? Instead, think about how you (or the firms you work with) can be first/innovative/etc. <br /> <br /> First mover advantage <br /> <br />
  • Firms run by other lawyers just like you. They&#x2019;re scared, too.... <br /> <br /> A bunch of inventors waiting to be the second to have a great idea. Innovators. <br />
  • So, why innovate? Economy&#x2019;s on the rebound. Consumer (and lawyer) confidence is up. Even the Schwag is better. Who wants to go back to the same model as before? Sure would be easier. but the Genie has left the bottle. <br /> <br /> Can we even go back? Some big changes.... Only partially driven by the economy <br /> Truth is, it seems like everything has changed..... <br />
  • Things seem different. I recently witnessed the managing partners for a large firm, in a firm-wide meeting, predict the demise of the billable hour. With a straight face, and to thunderous applause. <br />
  • <br />
  • What does the time spent have to do with the result? Overhead of time? <br /> <br /> <br />
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  • I&#x2019;m no economist or spreadsheet guru, but even I can figure out this one. A spreadsheet chart nobody should have to see again. <br />
  • Still, that doesn&#x2019;t mean we shouln&#x2019;t try.... Retreat for BR <br />
  • Instant collaboration, required. <br /> File metaphor.... <br /> Home experience drives work expectations.... Facebook, Twitter,,, want to know what counsel is thinking as they&#x2019;re thinking it. <br />
  • &#x201C;I&#x2019;ll have to look at the file and get back to you&#x201D; doesn&#x2019;t fly. Let&#x2019;s look at it together. Or, client has seen work first. <br />
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  • If apple&#x2019;s only innovation was selling five year ipods using a different pricing scheme every year, who&#x2019;d keep buying them? Yet lawyers do the same thing. <br />
  • Want to wail about costs/fees/profits/etc.?, prepare to share them. <br />
  • Lawyers worth not measured by a stopwatch. Time to think... Think when you need to, not when you want to make more money Also, when lack of speed is difference between a bigger profit for a lawyer and bigger bill for a client, struggle <br />
  • Uncertain outcome with an uncertain delivery date for an uncertain price. <br /> <br /> The first three phrases they teach in law school? I don&#x2019;t know, it depends and maybe. Although &#x201C;I don&#x2019;t know&#x201D; often goes by the alternative term: &#x201C;Let me research that....&#x201D; <br />
  • <br />
  • Constantly hearing &#x201C;we hire lawyers, not firms&#x201D; from clients, but from lawyers at even mid-sized boutiques, I hear &#x201C;we hire firms, not lawyers.&#x201D; <br /> Which is it? <br />
  • <br />
  • Obvious, but true. The best businesses are built to serve the best customers. And looking around the room at some of the lawyers and sponsors here, I&#x2019;m guessing they&#x2019;ve identified you as the best customers. <br />
  • Apologies to Joe Jackson, but ... <br />
  • <br />
  • If you&#x2019;re law firms aren&#x2019;t asking &#x201C;How can we serve you better?&#x201D; Tell them, here&#x2019;s our wish-list and our non-negotiables. <br />
  • <br />
  • What should be easier than it is? What&#x2019;s your biggest headache? What do you do now, but wish you could get legal advice for before you do? <br /> <br /> What&#x2019;s your biggest fear when you call or meet with our lawyers? <br /> <br /> Our lawyers should ... <br /> <br /> Our lawyers are ... <br />
  • <br />
  • Once you know what matters, share it with the firm and make certain you&#x2019;re measuring the same thing. <br />
  • And share the result. Firms, you should be doing the same thing. <br />
  • <br />
  • <br />
  • <br />
  • Growing lawyers. Brain drain. Cost/ <br /> <br /> Incentivize use of young lawyers by firms, not discourage it. <br />
  • <br />
  • <br />

The Creative Counsel: Rethinking the Attorney-Client Relationship The Creative Counsel: Rethinking the Attorney-Client Relationship Presentation Transcript

  • The CREATIVE COUNSEL Rethinking the Attorney - Client Relationship by Matthew Homann LexThink LLC © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • LexThink .com innovation: for lawyers
  • @matthomann © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • www.nonbillablehour.com © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • The practice of law depends upon precedents. The business of law does not. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Ready to party like it is 1999? © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • The one thing that’s changing in law practice is: everything. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Lawyers rarely sell what their clients are buying. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Time is not a valid metric. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • ... but it sure is an easy one to measure. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Price Time © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Things change faster than we expect. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Proximity to information is now: irrelevant. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Email is not a collaboration tool. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • True innovation requires more than using different tools to do the same thing. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • True innovation requires more than charging a different way for the same thing. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • The money that matters now belongs to everybody. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Faster doesn’t always mean better. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • A business model based upon uncertainty is: unsustainable. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • A business model that keeps customers from calling is: indefensible. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Just because you can buy everything at one place doesn’t mean you have to. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • How? © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Teamwork is necessary. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • You can’t get what you want, ‘til you know what you want. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Convene a client - counsel summit. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Ask how “we” can serve our mutual client best. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Learn to play well together. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Our lawyers need to: - Visit us once in a while. - Know our business. - Stop charging us for phone calls. - Help us learn more about the law. Ask your users - Stop faxing, e-mailing and sending us every document. what they want and need from their lawyers. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Our clients need to: - Stop waiting ‘til the last minute, and Call us at the beginning of a problem. Ask your lawyers - Help us learn more about their biz. - Stop faxing, e-mailing and sending us every document. what they want and need from you. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Make sure you and your firms are measuring the same things. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Grade your firms (and their lawyers) on a regular basis. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Stop negotiating rates. Start negotiating price. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • One size doesn’t have to fit all. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Tinker and experiment until you get it right. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Take seriously your obligation to nurture young lawyers. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved
  • Matthew Homann is the founder of LexThink and the author of the [non]billable hour blog. You can reach him at Matt @ LexThink.com or follow him on Twitter @MattHomann. © Matthew Homann 2010 All Rights Reserved