Does she not “lean in” enough?

Clients care about diversity. In particular women’s initiatives are a high priority to many corporate clients today. When clients make diversity a priority when picking law firms, female team members or even women-led teams should soon be commonplace in our industry. In many countries around the world, more than half of law students now are female. Many associates are women. Nevertheless, as an industry, we still have a lot of work to do.

A number of studies discovered that female lawyers make significantly less than her male colleagues. What’s curious, many law firm leaders told me that they make no difference in pay based on gender. Male and female lawyers on lockstep are said to make the same amount of money, and the eat-what-you-kill approach is said to be gender-blind.

So – what causes her to earn less money?
Is it her -bad- career choices?
The matters she works on?
Is she not striving hard enough?
Or not “leaning in” enough?
Do female lawyers work less than male lawyers?
Are they perhaps less successful than male lawyers?
Are they less productive than male lawyers?

Watch the video from the International Bar Association 2015 conference: Removing the Glass Ceiling from Above

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It All Starts With Efficiency

Cost, price, value, and relationship: these four factors shape and influence the sourcing of legal services. But different types of legal services are better bought in different ways. At the Buying Legal Council conference in London on September 28, Professor Stephen Mayson discussed The Future of Buying Legal Services:

Legal services range from highly bespoke and ‘bet-the-company’ issues to routine, standardized and commoditized offerings, just as procurement ranges from personal engagement, through professional procurement and tender processes, to buying online with no human interaction at all. According to Mayson,

“What is clear is that not all types of procurement are appropriate to all types of services. The real issue, as I see it, lies in the potential disconnects among cost, price, value and relationship. There is an inevitable tension between short-term procurement wins and longer-term legal or relationship consequences. There are times or circumstances when cost-cutting just isn’t worth it.”

However, without a sustained attempt to reconnect cost, price, value and relationship, Mayson warns, “any wish for effective procurement of legal services will be unfulfilled.”

Law firms must constantly work and innovate to keep their costs as low as possible, consistent with their intended client-base and position in the market, Mayson warns. All starts with efficiency: without it, a firm will not have kept its cost-base within reasonable bounds, or its pricing within market expectations; and without cost-efficiency, there is little scope for client perceptions of value for money, or a sound basis for a continuing relationship.

“Cost-efficiency is vital and law firms must now constantly work to innovate and improve it. But value creation and value-add can only be achieved in the context of a meaningful relationship, and procurement must not avoidably disrupt this where relationship is necessary to the legal outcomes desired.”

To read Mayson’s article, click here.

Join us in Chicago on October 19 for the next legal procurement conference.

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Ready for Efficiency? London, 28 September

Legal services are now held to business standards like the rest of the business world. Relationships continue to be important in buying decisions, but metrics are replacing subjective decision-making. Clients now expect efficiency, transparency, and predictability. They demand a say in how services are delivered. They give parts of the work to non-traditional legal service suppliers. They keep some of the work in-house and some is automated with the use of technology. They use RFPs to select firms and keep a level-playing field among the different competitors.

Legal service providers must now conform to objective scrutiny, demands, and heightened, value-drive expectations, Mark Cohen recently wrote in his law firm column for Bloomberg BNA. “Those selling legal services must become conversant not only in legal-speak, but the client’s language of business and technology.” This is particularly true when clients bring in their procurement teams to help source legal services.

The upcoming legal procurement conference in London (28 September) by the legal procurement trade association Buying Legal Council is a sign of the times: Although still in its early days, procurement is starting to gain influence in buying legal services. More and more FTSE 350, Fortune 500, and multinational corporations now involve business people in the sourcing of legal services and the management of legal service providers.

The Bone-day conference centres on clients’ demand for efficiency. 21 professionals from both client and legal service provider side will discuss EFFICIENCY in legal services. Do you know what your clients expect? Do your clients and prospects involve procurement? How do they measure you? How can you maximize your firm’s chances to continue to win work? To answer these questions, join legal procurement professionals, in-house counsel, private practice lawyers, and law firm executives for a day of intense discussions on legal procurement. Learn, network, exchange thoughts and experiences, and open up channels of communication between buyers and sellers of legal services. The event is hosted by Addleshaw Goddard at Milton Gate in London.


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