Although the predicted time frame varies, most business economists suggest that a recession is on the horizon within the next two years, according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics released in late February. At the end of the year, many CFOs were predicting recession in the U.S. by the end of this year, and The World Bank lowered its projections for global growth in its ominously titled January report, “Darkening Skies.” We cannot predict when or whether a downturn will occur, but we know from experience that those who maximize their operational efficiency are better prepared to succeed, regardless of the economic situation.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor delayed travel could keep the recent 13th annual 2019 Ark Group's Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference sponsored by HBR Consulting from being a well-attended and content-rich event!
We recently published a whitepaper, “The Edge Effect of the Legal Ecosystem,” comparing corporate law departments’ and law firms’ roles in the legal ecosystem to adjoining ecological habitats. In ecology, the term “edge effect” refers to the boundary of two or more different habitats, where scientists find greater diversity of life, including unique species that are specially adapted to the conditions of the zone where the two habitats come together. Similarly, in their respective legal habitats today’s corporate law departments and law firms face different market pressures and have different resulting needs. Law departments are seeing an increased demand for legal services without associated budget growth, a heightened focus on risk management and cybersecurity, and an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Law firms face increasing competition for legal work, changing client relationships, and a tight market for strong talent. These respective pressures conflict in many...
The emerging law firm strategy of moving to a managed IT services model — in which an expert services provider assumes responsibility for the firm’s IT systems and operations — is gaining traction as we head into 2019. This model enables law firms to turn over their day-to-day IT infrastructure support requirements to an outside company that is able to deliver these services at a lower cost and with greater efficiency. As a result, the firms can reassign their full-time IT staff members toward higher value functions that propel the business, rather than worrying about who is making sure the systems are running and the data is secure.
The Summit on Legal Innovation and Disruption (SOLID) held in London on November 7 provided a view into the rate of transformation, primarily from the lens of the UK and Europe. The action-packed, daylong event included 15 TED-style talks and “fireside chats” (sans the fire), along with brainstorming sessions among the participants. SOLID London 2018 was produced by The Cowen Group in association with Baker McKenzie. HBR Consulting was one of several partnership sponsors. The aim of each Summit is to gather legal professionals for an exchange of ideas about the intersection of innovation, advanced technology and the business of law. Most of the attendees and speakers at the London forum were EMEA-based corporate counsel, providing a unique view into innovation in law departments outside the United States.
HBR recently held its annual Procurement Roundtable, an invitation-only gathering of 25+ law firm procurement leaders. In connection with the Roundtable, HBR surveyed the participants on a variety of procurement-related topics ranging from organizational information for benchmarking through current front-of-mind topics / priorities, including investment in procurement technology solutions. These technology solutions are a key tool that can help a procurement function on multiple fronts. They improve operational efficiency and, through controls, mitigate risk, as well as help with tracking, monitoring and reporting key performance metrics that can aid in promoting the procurement function’s value proposition.
Back in the day, law firms and clients usually set forth the terms governing their relationships in standard engagement letters. But more recently, as bargaining power has shifted away from law firms and toward clients, organizations have begun to document their expectations for outside counsel in increasingly long and detailed guidelines.
At this year’s annual ARMA Live! Conference in Anaheim, we conducted an informal survey of the 300+ visitors to our booth, asking a single question: “What is your greatest information governance challenge today?” We received a variety of responses including:
I had a clear message to deliver to those in attendance when I took the stage at this year’s International Legal Technology Conference (ILTACON): law departments are gathering, centralizing and sharing more data than ever, and many law firms are lagging behind. During the presentation, “Data Gathering and Sharing by GCs,” I was joined by Ron Katcher, director and senior corporate counsel at Qlik Technologies, and Paul Nicandri, chief service delivery officer at DLA Piper. We took a deep dive into how law departments and law firms are (or are not) using analytics, highlighted the disparities between law departments and law firms, and offered some suggestions to law firms about making better use of data analytics to bolster their relationships with clients. Here are some key takeaways from our session.