BUYING LEGAL COUNCIL

Category: Newsletters

The legal category is a buyer’s market, clients today have more power than many of them realize. However, client must be strategic about getting law firm to be more efficient, more cost-effective, more transparent or whatever else is the client’s goal. In the Buying Legal Council‘s most recent Legal Procurement in Brief conference call Ken Grady of Seyfarth Shaw recommended enticing firms to change through a benefits-for-change strategy (“what’s in it for them?”) rather than threatening with negative consequences.

When negotiating with firms, be aware of what motivates the firm, Grady said. Does your work fit the firm’s strategic plan? Are you a “dream client” for them? What drives a firm to take on low margin commodity work is not the same as what attracts another firm to high margin bespoke work. Clients today have the most opportunity to drive change for middle-range work as many firms are still trying to figure out how to succeed in this highly competitive market.

Members of the Buying Legal Council can access the Cheat Sheet “How to Get Law Firms to Changeshere.

Sourcing legal services is quite the challenge for any procurement professional. Suggestions to use “normal” procurement tools (such as RFPs) are often dismissed by your colleagues in the legal department as “potentially rocking the boat” or actions “that could upset our law firms.”

So how can you earn the trust of your colleagues in the legal department?

Read our first newsletter/”cheat sheet”/desk reference and learn what seasoned legal procurement professional Susan O’Brien of Sourcing Logics recommends:

★ Do your research and understand the market offering; provide new insight into what other clients are paying.

★ Work on ancillary services such as court reporting first, win points with good market comparison and negotiations.

★ Offer to check the law firms’ compliance with your company’s Outside Counsel Billing Guidelines. Now is a good time to do that so there are no (disallowed) upward rate adjustments on January 1.

★ Offer to write the engagement letters for new matters or update and distribute refreshed Billing Guidelines.

Download your own copy now: Legal Procurement 101: Earning the legal department’s trust.

The 2012 March/April issue of the Legal Marketing Association’s (LMA) Strategies Magazine is dedicated to The Influence of Procurement on the Purchasing of Legal Services. Contact me to request a PDF of the March/April issue on Legal Services Procurement or read You Better Know Their Names and Understand Their Metrics: Corporate Procurement Influences the Law Firm Selection

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