My management consulting practice is dedicated to helping law firm, law department and legal service provider leaders navigate through the many changes occurring in the legal profession. By adapting business practices to the unique practice of law, I help organizations operate more profitably, more efficiently, and with a greater focus on client satisfaction. My approach is more practical than academic; my advice is informed by decades of working with law firms and corporate counsel. I specialize in the following areas:
I regularly deliver keynote addresses at law firm partner retreats, practice group retreats, law department retreats, preferred outside counsel summits, corporate annual sales meetings, and industry conferences and events. My focus is on explaining the simple economics behind the changing legal marketplace and how savvy law firms, law departments, and legal service providers can gain a competitive edge by embracing tried and true business practices that link financial performance, client satisfaction, and work product quality. My keynote addresses are interactive and tend to be provocative but uplifting, as I demonstrate a clear path to thriving, not just surviving, in the new normal.
Legal Project Management & Process Improvement – Client demands for improved predictability and efficiency in managing legal matters poses a challenge for law firms. In collaboration with the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, I offer workshops for law firm partners and professional staff to better understand and embrace the principles of PM and PI to simultaneously improve financial performance, client satisfaction, and work product quality. I also advise firms as they tackle these projects, variously leading projects or advising others who are leading these projects. I also help law firm leaders create a sustainable P3 culture (project management, process improvement, pricing) by tackling, one by one, each business function or critical business process, that accelerates or impairs continuous improvement.
Pricing & Alternative Fee Arrangements – Traditionally, law firm profitability was achieved by observing the R.U.L.E.S. (utilization, realization, leverage, expense management, and speed of collections). However, the modern law firm generates profits through efficient delivery of legal services coupled with a strategic pricing mindset. Through increased efficiencies gained by embracing the learning curve, a concept critical to success in every other business segment, law firms can flourish under non-hourly billing arrangements. I advise law firm leaders and finance professionals to establish systems, protocols, and processes for creating a strategic pricing culture, as well as train partners in negotiating for value.
Business Development Training – Winning work in a competitive marketplace is challenging, but embracing a few core concepts can provide a competitive edge. I work with law firm leaders, practice group leaders, relationship partners, and business development professionals to improve targeting, to manage opportunities, to consult rather than to sell, to customize pitches and proposals, and to assess and incorporate client satisfaction metrics into firm and practice strategy.
Compensation Review & Redesign – Law firms embracing a culture of profiting from efficiency eventually realize that partner incentives are not aligned with firm strategy. I work with firm leaders and compensation committees to assess the viability of current compensation plans, offering insights into transparency, formulas, subjective models, open and closed reporting, administration, and performance management. When an assessment indicates a significant overhaul of partner incentives is required, I advise firm leaders in rewriting and implementing a new compensation plan that ensures what’s good for the partner is also what’s good for the partnership.
Marketing & Business Development Department Assessments – I advise law firm leaders in better understanding the firm’s marketing and business development needs, then assessing whether and how well the current marketing departmental structure, processes, tools, and personnel, deliver on these objectives. In many cases, exceptional marketing professionals are at a disadvantage due to a lack of firm or practice strategy, or a lack of discipline by firm and practice management in avoiding unproductive tactics that divert resources from more critical opportunities. On occasion, and for a limited time period, I will serve as Interim Chief Marketing Officer to begin a rebuilding process while a search for a permanent CMO is underway.
Outside Counsel Spend Management – Law departments tend to incur significant outside legal fees, often without central administration, centralized procurement, consistent quality standards, and standard performance metrics. I advise law department and business leaders in building, or rebuilding, an effective, efficient outside counsel program with a focus on identifying the right law firm or lawyer at the right price for specific tasks, rather than selecting primarily on brand strength or price.
Preferred Provider Programs – Many law departments empanel a small set of outside counsel to perform the majority of necessary legal work. I advise law department leaders in establishing such programs, including how to lead a competitive bidding process and how to manage a thriving program. I also conduct collaborative workshops with in-house counsel and each preferred outside counsel to create alignment around project management, process improvement, and pricing methodologies.
Law Department Reengineering – Reducing outside counsel spend is but one way to improve the business velocity of a legal function. I advise law department and business leaders on first identifying the appropriate division of duties among business management, the law department, and outside counsel, and then establishing streamlined workflows to ensure all legal work is delivered in a timely, effective, and efficient manner. These projects improve the profile and strategic importance of the legal function, often leading to improved business outcomes.
Legal Vendors and Suppliers
Market Strategy – In a fiercely competitive market, it’s critical to understand the changing landscape. Which products and services are growing in appeal to law firm leaders and why, and which are declining and why? How are law firms changing the way they buy goods and services? Does your product have the right positioning and messaging to help it stand out? Have you market-tested new features and functions to ensure they will catalyze growth? I work with legal vendor business executives to better understand the legal market and to improve their chances of success with product strategy, product development, product launch, and implementation and adoption strategies.
Sales Force Readiness – The greatest products can fail if there are ineffective marketing or sales processes. I work with legal vendor business executives on go-to-market tactics, including sales force training. Whether through a refresher on consultative selling skills, better understanding of law firm operations and the buying process, or improving sales and marketing collaterals, I help improve closing rates.
To inquire about Corcoran Consulting Group advisory services, call +1.609.557.7311 or email email@example.com