25 FebKnowlege Management, Practice Management, Social Media by Peter | 1 Comment
This past week I gathered with a group of colleagues in San Francisco, represented were a number of CKOs from some of the largest law firms on the west coast. The group has been meeting and expanding for years. The fundamental drivers for the group are to discuss a range of issues and challenges that large law firms are facing. Overall, here’s what I say were the main takeaways from our get together:
(a) Automation — although a lot of discourse tends to focus on AFA (alternative fee arrangements), to actually deliver on flat fee or fixed arrangements, firms need “automation,” that is to say they need to take the low hanging fruit and process and find ways to deliver to the client at lower price points. I can’t think of a firm in the group that had not begun some sort of an effort here. Related to this theme — the growing % of AFA arrangements, the group differed from 15 – 35% of work falling in this bucket. Initial reaction was that even 25% seemed high, but the reality is if we write-off good percentages of non-fixed fee arrangement, are we not in effect doing the same thing?
(b) Sharepoint as CRM — I was surprised to hear this, but it makes sense. The frustrations with the incumbents continues to fuel the need to consider other options;
(c) Next Big Thing — the group watched Mary Meeker’s presentation from Web 2.0 Oriely Conference, a must see. It generated a fair amount of conversation as to where the market is trending. As expected, opinions differed as to how these global trends would impact law firms from “not at all” to “wow” moments. My personal “Ah-ha” was related to the growth of mobile — as a business leader, I already feel like I am behind, but fortunately some of my colleagues did not share this perspective and suggested law firms (namely lawyers) are just not that interested in accessing applications via their mobile devices. This said, if I were still CKO at Paul Hastings, I think I’d be scrapping my plans for version 5.5 of the portal and thinking about how I can reach the lawyers with the right services/information via mobile apps, etc.