Improving the Certainty of Legal Budgets – a Collaborative Workshop

by Timothy B. Corcoran on May 13, 2013

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It’s law firm annual retreat season and I’ve been traversing the country presenting to practice groups and entire firms and preaching the importance of predictability in legal budgets.  As one client wrote to me afterwards, “Thank you for making ‘predictability’ our new buzzword!”  My perspective is somewhat unique, as I explain how using budgets can improve the quality of the legal work product, improve client satisfaction and generate greater profits for the law firm.  Who wouldn’t want to achieve these disparate and elusive outcomes simultaneously?  Well, quite a few, as it turns out.  Many lawyers raised on the billable hour continue to feel that any approach other than maximizing hours is a slippery slope, destined to result in increased risk and lower compensation.  They could not be more wrong, and as regular readers of my articles can attest, I can demonstrate this in terms that even math-challenged lawyers can embrace!

There are quite a few tactics and tools to help in the creation and fine-tuning of legal matter budgets.  In fact, I will be participating in a collaborative workshop on Thursday, May 16, in Washington, DC, where groups of in-house counsel and outside counsel, along with colleagues from the law firm marketing and finance departments, will work together on strategies and tactics to develop legal matter budgets.  What information is necessary?  How much information should law departments share to help law firms craft an RFP and a budget?  Who’s responsible when something unexpected occurs and the budget no longer reflects the scope of the matter?  And so on.  If you’ve struggled with these issues or others related to legal matter budgets — and honestly, who hasn’t? — then join us.  The workshop is produced by TyMetrix, and here’s the workshop agenda:

Opening TED-Style Discussion: Emerging Trends in Buying Legal Services—Law firms and corporate law departments will collaboratively examine key elements and challenges that arise when budgeting and forecasting the business of law. The group will discuss what current tools that exist to improve planning and the factors that must be considered, such as average matter durations, total costa, rates, and staffing allocations for matters by timekeeper role, phase, task, and geography.

Workshop Collaboration: Improving the Certainty of Budgeting and Forecasting—Hear and discuss new ways corporate law departments and law firms can improve the certainty of budgeting and forecasting in case study exercise with peers. Groups will examine a real-life legal challenge and develop a proposal that is acceptable to both the firm and the corporation.

Workshop Results & Discussion: Scope, Baseline, Benchmark, Value—Upon conclusion of the group exercise, there will be a collective presentation of the workshop findings mapped to four defined pillars—Scope, Baseline, Benchmark, Value—that provide a blueprint for better budgeting and forecasting for both law firms and corporations.

TyMetrix LegalVIEW® Forums are peer-to-peer content driven sessions designed to exchange ideas and best practices related to an emerging trend in the buying—and selling—of legal services.

Join me in Washington, DC on May 16 by registering here.  Enrollment is free, but come prepared to roll up your sleeves and contribute.  If you can’t make this session, there are two more in the series this year:  July 11 in Chicago (“Sourcing Legal Providers in a Changing Business Environment)and September 26 at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (“Negotiation Strategies for Corporations & Law Firms).

Each session generates best practices in the form of a white paper which is available to all.  Here is the white paper that was produced after the workshop held in February, Establishing Value-Based Pricing and AFAs.  See this synopsis by Dr. Silvia Hodges.

 

Timothy B. Corcoran delivers keynote presentations and conducts workshops to help lawyers, in-house counsel and legal service providers profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, click here or contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at tim@corcoranconsultinggroup.com.

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