Ari Kaplan speaks with Chris Ende, the chief value officer at Goulston & Storrs, and Michael Byrd, the global process owner at Baker McKenzie. Both professionals are board members for the Legal Value Network, a new organization dedicated to the business of law.
Michael, tell us about your background in your role at Baker McKenzie.
I worked on technology at Thomson Reuters about 10 years ago and I established and ran the pricing function at Mayor Brown in Chicago. I think I was one of the first pricing directors in legal and I have worked on the client side in the legal department at Accenture. At Baker McKenzie, I am the Global process owner for quote-to-cash where I am responsible for all of the processes services technology training.
Chris, tell us about your background and the genesis of the Legal Value Network.
I am currently the chief value officer at Goulston & Storrs, where I work with both our attorneys and our clients in thinking about how to price and deliver our legal services in ways that drive value for our clients and meet their business needs. I’ve had the very good fortune of having several different roles in the business of law. I was with an AmLaw firm, where I helped build up a pricing and legal project management team. Then, I had the good fortune of seeing things from the in-house perspective, as I was at GE for several years on its legal operations team managing outside counsel spend. Finally, I have been on the alternative legal services side working for United Lex, where I provided consulting to corporate legal departments and helped build some of their managed services around managing legal spend. The Legal Value Network comes out of the P3 community, which is comprised of individuals in pricing and legal project management, among other disciplines. We have had incredible support as part of the Legal Marketing Association for the last several years and with the organization’s support, we produced an annual conference that grew to almost 500 attendees in the last couple years. As the group has become more distinct from LMA’s core offerings, it was the right time to create a new organization solely dedicated to this community. That said, the LMA has been an amazing partner and will be close to us moving forward.
Michael, what’s the mission of the Legal value Network and what does the group hope to accomplish?
The mission is to create a community of communities. There are a number of people who work in this field, not just from law firms but also on legal operations teams and at technology providers. The mission is to bring the different stakeholders and interested parties together into a single space where we can collaborate, create camaraderie, share ideas, and generate professional and business opportunities for individuals and even companies. Our work has evolved and doesn’t fit into marketing anymore, though it doesn’t fit into pure pricing, finance, or business development either.
Chris, what types of professionals would benefit from participating in the Legal Value Network?
It is an incredibly diverse group from all different aspects of the legal community, such as those in business operations roles at law firms, lawyers, in-house leaders, technology providers, and services providers. One of the unique aspects of the Legal Value Network is ensuring that we bring in voices from all different parts of the legal industry, including giving technology vendors and other providers a seat at the table, not just opportunities to sponsor or occupy the vendor hall at a conference. We want their voices in the discussion as participants who are thinking about how to make improvements and do things differently. The common thread is people who are on the cutting edge and thinking about how to drive change in the way legal services are delivered, such as pricing, legal project management, and practice management. We are seeing a lot more integration roles at both law firms and in corporate legal departments, and my guess is there will additional roles that we can’t even think of right now.
Michael, given the reliance on bringing people together in person. How will you adapt to a more virtual environment?
We want the Legal Value Network to be more than just an annual conference. We want to offer a series of programs, webinars, and other opportunities to share information. Interestingly, the current environment does not actually impact as much because we were already preparing to work on a virtual basis. We will, of course, have to make a decision about when to do a conference and how we go about that once the world settles down a little bit and gives us that opportunity.
Chris, what are the benefits of the Legal Value Network and can you give us a preview of the types of activities you have planned?
Community, Collaboration, and camaraderie are what we hope our members will get out of this community. Those of us who have been involved in P3 have built lasting professional relationships and friendships from it, and the willingness of people to share openly to help each other in of itself is such a tremendous benefit. It will certainly be a hallmark of the Legal Value Network going forward. Beyond that, when we think about content, we have organized ourselves into six pillars: (1) essentials, which are things like webinars, podcasts, and publication; (2) labs, which offer a space for people to come together and collaborate to tackle some of the most complicated problems that we’re facing in the legal industry; (3) legends, which will generate thought leadership from the industry’s most experienced leaders and includes our Council of Luminaries; (4) horizons, which is designed to expand our geographic reach and ensure that we are serving people across the globe; (5) pulse, which is an annual survey that we will produce with the Blickstein Group; and, (6) legacy, which will promote our mentoring programs. Ultimately, what is really going to make the Legal Value Network valuable to its members are the members themselves.
Michael, how can people learn more and get involved in the Legal Value Network?
Visit LegalValueNetwork.com, which includes our mission statement, more detail about the six pillars, notes from the Council of Luminaries series, and past webinars. that we have running right now also posted our links to the first couple of webinars.
Chris, in light of the current crisis, how has the concept of legal value changed and how do you see it continuing to evolve?
I’m not seeing the concept of legal value change in the current crisis, but I think there will be a much brighter light focused on it. As companies experience challenges and face some really difficult, complicated legal issues, the ability of law firms to work with their clients to solve their key business problems will be critical. Whether it is talking about different approaches to the way work is completed, with both clients and law firms being involved collaboratively and looking at different ways to be more efficient, evaluating models that provide more cost certainty, or considering pricing models that feature more shared risk, these conversations will occur with more frequency. It is so much a change in the way we define legal value, but a far more nuanced and a better approach to thinking about legal value. I hope that we see positive change that not only helps us get through these really difficult times, but on which we can grow going forward. We need to continue to think about how to get even better at delivering value for our clients.
Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change, and introduce new technology at http://www.ReinventingProfessionals.com.
Listen to his conversation with Chris Ende, the chief value officer at Goulston & Storrs, and Michael Byrd, the global process owner at Baker McKenzie here: https://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/spotlighting-legal-value/