Legal services used to be outside the reach of the procurement department. For years, legal services were largely exempt from the intense cost scrutiny other business units and functions have been facing. But in more and more corporations, procurement is gaining influence in sourcing legal services and managing supplier relationships.
If you haven’t started tackling the legal category, get involved in sourcing legal services now. Attend the upcoming legal procurement conference in London (28 September) by the legal procurement trade association Buying Legal Council. It is the first legal procurement conference of its kind in Europe. (Schedule)
The Buying Legal Council’s one-day conference centres on clients’ demand for efficiency. 21 professionals from both the client and the legal service provider side will discuss EFFICIENCY in legal services:
- Three TED-style talks will highlight different approaches to efficiency in the legal profession. Hear Leah Cooper, former GC at Rio Tinto and acknowledged innovator in the legal services industry, legal procurement expert Stacey Coote, and Mike Potter, head of Addleshaw Goddard’s transaction services team. Contrast and compare – which approach works for you and your firms?
- A recent Boston Consulting Group research on trends in the legal market will discuss whether we are experiencing a disruption or an evolution – or whether it’s all just hype. Christian Sellmann, who conducted the study and Harmut Papenthin of CMS Germany will weigh in. What is your opinion? How do you need to prepare in either case?
- Law department management consultant Richard Stock will take the buyer’s point of view on increasing efficiency in law firms. What can be done? What should be done?
- Pricing expert Richard Burcher will look at efficiency & effectiveness: What is their impact on pricing? Do firms pass on efficiency gains?
- A procurement-panel and a law firm panel will debate what efficiency means for them. What do clients expect in terms of efficiency? And how do firms intend to deliver efficiency? Hear what they have to say and decide for yourself: Do clients and law firms see eye-to-eye? What –if anything- do you need to adjust in your approach when sourcing legal services?
- Professor Stephen Mayson will shed light on the future of buying legal services. Who will be in the driver’s seat? Who will make decisions?
- I will look into the future development of legal procurement. Based on experiences from other professional services, what challenges or opportunities may you face next?
- Legal Project Management experts Catherine Alman McDonagh and Tim Corcoran will challenge the panelists –and the audience– to an efficiency challenge. Who is more efficient? Clients or law firms?
The involvement of legal procurement is one of the side effects of a ‘power shift’ to clients. Procurement applies business discipline to legal services. Procurement holds legal services to the same business standards like the rest of the business world. The decision-making process for selecting firms used to be subjective: work would go to firms without a formal sourcing process based on subjective measures. The firms would do the work for the client from beginning to end, often without a budget and without any performance metrics to monitor outcomes and efficiency. After the work was done, the firms would present an invoice “for services rendered” without details of the work.
This has changed. Legal procurement has quickly established itself as a player in the legal world:
- It is common today for clients to demand efficiency, transparency, and predictability from their law firms.
- It is common today for clients to have a say in how their services are delivered, how their matters are staffed.
- It is common today to unbundle the work process and source parts of the work to non-traditional legal service suppliers.
- It is common today that parts of the work are automated with the use of technology.
- It is common today to use typical procurement tools like RFPs for selecting firms and keep a level-playing field among the different competitors.
- It is common today to establish performance measures and hold firms responsible for meeting performance targets.
Join your peers, other legal procurement professionals, as well as in-house counsel, private practice lawyers, and law firm executives for a day of intense discussions and sharing best practices. Learn, network, exchange thoughts and experiences at the Buying Legal Council conference.
With procurement’s push for business discipline in legal services, more and more law firms have invested in the delivery of legal services and hired experienced project managers and other business people. They are prepared to provide you with budgets and discuss how they can add value to your business through Six Sigma, Lean, ISO, and other tools. They are prepared to discuss business aspects with you such as:
- Ways to reduce cost, increase transparency and efficiency
- Suggestions for change your company can implement to make their work for you more cost-efficient
- Approaches that ensure the highest quality outcome for your matters with the most efficient use of your resources
- Recommendations for measuring firm performance against your business requirements