The limits of metrics in law department management – but save the baby
Rees Morrison, Law Department Management
Even if a single law department collects some numbers, no comparable data would be available from a sufficient number of other law departments.
Metrics can only go so far, at this time. That bleak forecast, I hasten to add, doesn’t vitiate benchmarks. (read the post)
The 6 Profit Points of Every Law Firm
Tom Busch, Legal IT Professional
Revenues are not the best measure of your firm’s financial health. Instead, look at your profitability to gauge your firm’s financial position. It is not surprising that revenues get all the attention. In most areas, law firms are ranked by revenues, therefore, attorneys concentrate on increasing revenues. However, when you rely just on revenues to define how your firm is performing, it is easy to overlook important data — what I call Profit Points — that significantly impact the bottom line. (read the post)
Facing the Alternative: How Does a Flat Fee System Really Work?
Rachel M. Zahorsky, ABA Journal
Although litigation boutique Shook Hardy & Bacon was familiar with nontraditional fee arrangements—the Kansas City, Mo.-based firm had created an alternative fee program for Ford Motor Co. in the mid-’90s—partner Paul Williams had never represented the security-systems giant nor handled an entire national docket.
Today Shook Hardy is Tyco’s sole legal services provider for product liability, automobile and general liability matters. When local counsel is needed, the law firm determines who to bring on board and manages the entire legal team for each case rather than the company’s legal department. (read the article)
The Cost of Compliance
Corporate legal officers must now interpret a swarm of regulations and be prepared to spy on their bosses and tattle to the board of directors. George Melloan reviews “Indispensable Counsel.”
GEORGE MELLOAN, Wall Street Journal
Brought to my attention via right-tasking.com
With “Indispensable Counsel: The Chief Legal Officer in the New Reality,” E. Norman Veasey and Christine T. Di Guglielmo have written a field manual to aid CLOs with their new tasks. More important, the authors have illuminated how Congress, primarily through Sarbanes-Oxley, has inserted the long arm of federal law into executive suites and boardrooms to influence private-sector decision making, using the CLO as cat’s paw. (read the article)
In-House Lawyers Increasingly in Dual Legal/Business Roles
Shannon Green, CorporateCounsel
The pervading theme of the 2012 Chief Legal Officer Leadership Forum event, part of the Argyle Executive Forum at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, was that in-house lawyers are increasingly expected to be business-savvy, too. (read the article)
What Makes Corporate America’s Indispensable Counsel Tick?
Catherine Dunn, CorporateCounsel
t’s a tough job. No other C-suite officer is charged with being both a business partner and the “guardian of corporate integrity,” says Veasey; no other lawyer in the legal profession has but one client—the corporation as a whole—and therefore one paycheck upon which to depend. There may come a time when she has to quit if senior management just doesn’t listen: “If it’s necessary, you have to be willing to put your job on the line to stand up for what is right for the corporate client,” notes Di Guglielmo, the chief justice’s former law clerk and now an associate in Weil Gotshal’s litigation department. (read the article)
It is wrong for a law department to negotiate a fixed fee, but pay actuals as if they are less
Rees Morrison, Law Department Management
Writing in the ACC Docket, Jan./Feb. 2012 at 18, Ron Pol discusses some of the financial and ethical pitfalls of fixed fees. He cites the frustrated managing partner of a major law firm: “In-house counsel often seek alternatives to hourly rates, then demand hours and rate information as well, forcing the firm to accept the lowest figure – whether that be the agreed retainer (‘as we agreed to pay’) or time cost (‘it would be unfair to pay more than your time cost’). The firm has now all but given up trying to be innovative.” (read the post)
Hourly Billing Rates Continue Upward Climb; Partner and Senior Counsel Average Is $661
Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal
Hourly billing rates increased last year, reaching an average of $661 for partners and senior counsel.
The average for that group was $639 in 2010, according to an analysis by the Daily Report Online. The average for associates was $445 in 2011, compared to $439 in 2010. (read the article)
Women GCs climbing the ladder
Leadership opportunities for women with legal backgrounds extend beyond general counsel
Julie Beck, InsideCounsel
Seeing women take up the mantle of general counsel is definitely a step in the right direction, but for several women, their career path doesn’t end there. Some women who have served as general counsel of Fortune 500 companies have gone on to become heads of major divisions, presidents or even CEOs. “Women can be great general counsel, and they can also be great business people,” said Lloyd Johnson, cofounder of The Project 5/165, which promotes awareness of women GCs. “They’re just great leaders and managers.” (read the article)
4 tips for working with regional law firms: Experts discuss how to form and maintain strong relationships
Ashley Post, InsideCounsel
Ninety-four percent of companies that participated in HBR Consulting’s 2011 HBR Law Department Survey said their law departments have taken measures to reduce their outside counsel spending. Nearly half of them have attempted to do so by increasing their use of regional or boutique law firms. (read the article)