Notes from 16th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum

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Chase Cost Management once again was a sponsor of this annual Thomson Reuters Legal Institute conference for law firm executives in operations and finance. Following are a few quick notes from the panel discussion on The Evolving Law Firm Business Model and how firms are working toward profitability.

From Dr. James G. Perkins, COO, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

  • The growth in technology investments
  • A move to industry sectors for client services
  • Focus on driving business development through marketing intelligence and other data
  • Move to large national, global suppliers and away from just cost considerations to more strategic, integrated partnerships

Michael R. Caplan, COO, Goodwin LLP

  • Greater involvement of non-lawyer staff in pitches and how the firm’s professional staff can contribute to revenue growth
  • Helping clients implement e-billing
  • Law firm COOs helping client COOs

Karen L. Braun, Executive Director, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

  • The importance of understanding, embracing and leveraging culture
  • Connecting the dots between the right professionals at the firm with particular clients
  • Building models to better serve the needs of large clients
  • Having the right attorneys that can speak the language of the clients, and articulating it well

Karen talked about identifying and leveraging all three of the following archetypes in law and other professional services firms:

  • Finders—usually equity partners, the rainmakers and senior leaders who find business
  • Minders—managers who work with clients and manage projects to keep everyone on track
  • Grinders—junior resources and others putting in the long hours and doing much of the heavy lifting of the actual client work

TR always does an excellent job of securing presenters and panelists to communicate what firms are thinking and doing, and this year was no exception.

Copyright registration debate deepens and divides

Fourth Estate v. has deepened the split in how the federal circuits view copyright enforceability and the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to provide resolution. The issue is whether enforceability kicks in when IP owners apply for protection or when the federal government acts on their applications. At stake are timelines: The Copyright Office takes 6- 10 months to process applications and register copyrights and the statute of limitations for copyright infringement is three years.

Law360 subscribers can learn more here.

Summary on Reuters news website (open to public) here.

New analytic tools and legal competition from accounting world

Enhanced litigation analysis from Bloomberg Law

A new enhancement to Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics solution—available to all current Bloomberg Law subscribers at no additional cost—enables litigators to compare active federal district judges and jurisdictions regarding motion and appeals outcomes. This new tool was developed to help inform litigation strategy by providing insight into a judge’s actions.

Knowledge Graph for financial services market from Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters Knowledge Graph is a linked data feed of TR financial content sets with pre-identified relationship sets developed to uncover previously undetected connections across a variety of data sets. Used in conjunction with Thomson Reuters Intelligent Tagging, the Knowledge Graph contains a comprehensive range of financial taxonomies and metadata along with the following content sets:

  • Equity instruments and quotes
  • Organizations
  • Industry classifications
  • Joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Supply/value chain
  • Related companies and competitors

Click here to learn more.

New Big Law competitor: Big 4 accounting

Big 4 global accounting firm PwC has announced the launch of its new contract lawyering service called Flexible Legal Resources, initially focused on the financial services sector but expected to eventually expand to other sectors. Supporting this decision is a report issued by PwC that finds big law firms in the UK are failing to invest in cutting-edge technologies or keep pace with client expectations.

As reported by UK-based Legal Business, Ann-Marie Botha, PwC’s COO for start-up and technology businesses, said this about the new offering:

“We are actively building a bench of lawyers at the moment. We have been overwhelmed by demand since we launched.”

According to Legal Week, PwC now employs more than 3,200 lawyers across 90 countries.

Read the full story here.

LexisNexis’ advice to independent lawyers and midsize firms

LexisNexis UK released its 2017 ‘Bellwether Report: The Race to Evolve’ and here’s the gist of it: firms have identified changes necessary to improve efficiency, but are not making the leap from thinking to acting. 92% of lawyers assert that continued investment in technology is no longer optional, yet they do not value the efficiency highly enough to invest.

The report of course recommends active use of legal processes, tools and technologies, yet reveals the following data:

  • 81% of these firms spend less than 10% of sales on legal tools
  • 58% of firms are spending less than 5%
  • 30% of non-users agree that investing in legal tools would significantly increase efficiency
  • 49% consider their firm’s efficiency to be average and 36% rating it above average, suggesting that they don’t see the need to make immediate changes in this area.

Download the entire report here.

Robyn Rebollo

Robyn Rebollo

Vice President
LAC Group Vice President, Robyn Rebollo, is an expert in library administration and information technologies. Her reputation has been established through many years of experience and numerous contributions to the design, development and implementation of information and knowledge solutions for corporations, law firms and universities.
Robyn Rebollo