A full day of education and two receptions later, we have made it through day one of 2016's P3 – The Practice Innovation Conference, hosted by LMA's Client Value SIG, at the Westin Chicago River North. The conference once again offered an exceptional day of Body of Knowledge (BoK) aligned educational sessions and workshops, each with a focus on the business aspects of developing a successful law practice, including the disciplines of project management, pricing and process improvement.
Opening with a keynote from Jeffrey W. Carr, attendees heard Carr's perspectives on how to move the needle with three more Ps. As he set the stage for discussion to come, Carr shared real-life examples of all the reasons he's "not a lawyer" and how that relates back to law business.
"The best legal problem is one you never have. In order to prevent problems in your firm, focus on the why and build better processes," noted Carr.
In addition to the opening keynote, the first day of P3 featured 16 concurrent education sessions, four concurrent education workshops, and plenty of opportunities to network and socialize. Here are highlights from what was covered:
- From an in-house counsel perspective, business is based on relationships and relationships are based on trust. There is a link between trustworthiness and cost. It’s not about looking for the cheapest services, it’s about looking for the best value. Trust is a relationship cornerstone and gaining trust will help you retain business. (Session: Analog to Success)
- The lack of technology, combined with the challenges of getting partners, associates and secretaries to input the relevant data into existing systems, has made it challenging for law firms to structure data to develop appropriate pricing models. (Session: The Science of Data Support in Pricing)
- There are three main challenges for firms with Outside Counsel Guidelines, improving these can yield greater: (1) No good way to centralize and manage client commitments, (2) lack of visibility and (3) ensuracnce that they are even being enforced. (Session: Client Success with a Closer Look at Outside General Counsel Guidelines)
- To be successful, you have to show the client why and how they came up with their starting number — you have to do the research. In doing so, you will show the client that you understand the objective that they are aiming to achieve. (Session: Alternative Fee Arrangements in High Stakes Litigation)
- Collaborative and open communication with clients leads to better budgets and fee estimates. Back and forth negotiations can erode trust. (Session: Achieving Value Harmony)
- The keys to pricing strategy include creativity, flexibility/options, client choice/control, and same/similar financial result. (Session: P3: Now in English)
- The most important deficiency is failing to consider the client. You should think about how you can address client needs first. If you fail to consider those, you have missed the mark. (Session: RFP Process: Best and Worst Practices)
- Stay in compliance with that external "no." Offering alternatives is the way to try and pitch something new. (Session: How to Say "No")
- The intent of legal project management (LPM) is not just to control cost. (Session: Get Ahead of the Curve: Adopting Legal Project Management)
- As soon as we pay attention to something, we start to notice everything that can be improved. When we work out our own "best" ways to do things, we can use those processes for client service, but also for branding and competitive advantage. (Session: Using Lean Sigma to Create Competitive Advantage)
If you are in attendance, be sure to share your most important takeaways in the comments section below or on social media. Follow the #LMAP3 hashtag on Twitterand Instagram or connect with us through other social media channels for updates in real-time.
All of my law firm clients have a large gulf between what partners and management believe the comp plan rewards. Need transparency! #LMAP3— Timothy B. Corcoran (@tcorcoran) May 17, 2016
Missing out on P3 but interested in the education? Watch the Learning Store to purchase the full conference recordings bundle, featuring video recordings of each session.