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 ways, requiring both groups, perhaps especially law firms, to evolve.
Like in ecology, in the zone where law departments and law firms come together there is an opportunity to incubate new species of service delivery models for the legal ecosystem. From our perspective as a trusted advisor and provider to both law departments and law firms, the key to thriving in the evolving market is to focus on alignment – (1) strategically, (2) with a client-facing focus and (3) operationally. The whitepaper suggests a few ideas for alignment in these areas.
HBR is also evolving to better align and respond to market changes and our clients’ related needs. Effective this month, HBR is more formally organizing itself as two primary business units: Advisory, of which Matt Sunderman is now president, and Managed Services, of which Matt Gillis is president. With this new structure, we are expanding our capabilities to include an even greater focus on innovation and strengthening our bench of subject matter experts.
We have also established two new positions to better serve our clients, focused on bringing additional insights forward and gathering feedback from clients to best align with their needs and expectations. Kevin Clem assumes the role of chief commercial officer, and Kevin Colangelo is vice president of client engagement.
The following are practice group leaders in the Advisory business:
- Lauren Chung (Strategy + Operations)
- David Craig (Information Governance)
- Wafik Guirgis (Legal Technology)
- Kevin McClean (Strategic Sourcing + Business Optimization)
- Chris Ryan (Legal Transformation + Innovation).
We are excited about these changes, as they position us to be able to respond even more nimbly to our clients’ strategic needs. We would be happy to discuss with you how we can help your law department or law firm succeed and thrive in today’s changing market through strategic, client-focused or operational alignment.