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  • October 09, 2017 12:31 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Cairncross & Hempelmann, a 40-attorney law firm located in downtown Seattle, is seeking an experienced Director of Client Service to strengthen the firm’s business development culture and oversee strategy and execution of the firm’s marketing efforts.

    Read the full job description and apply here.

  • October 09, 2017 12:26 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Ballard Spahr has a terrific opportunity for a talented marketing professional to support their national, market-leading Consumer Financial Services (CFS) Group.  The CFS attorneys advise on regulatory matters, assist in the design and documentation of credit products, and represent clients in class actions, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and other lawsuits nationwide.

    See the full job description and apply.

  • September 22, 2017 5:32 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    According to the Lexis Nexis 2017 Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Survey, the responding firms are currently spending 15% of their 2-5% total marketing budget on technology. And, answering the question, “How will your firm’s investment in [all] categories change in 2017 compared to prior years,” more than 80% (!!!) of the respondents said they would make a greater investment in technology. Digital marketing was the next highest, which is arguably also technology-related.


    There are top-tier, top-priority tech tools that can help firms drive more business, such as a terrific website, proposal automation, experience management and CRM. This is the quadrifecta. And there are many other tools that fall into more supportive roles.  Focus first on the systems – because you are building them with best practices in mind – that improve your people’s abilities and capabilities, and your processes.

    There is one of the four tools that rises to the top, and it plays intimately well with all three others – the experience management database. Managing experience continues to be one of the most paralyzing undertakings in law firms of any size, yet it gets more mission-critical year after year. It is where the future cash lives in your firm.

    Getting started and continuing to grow the relevancy of your database are not easy, but they aren’t nearly as paralyzing as you think. Reframe your thinking about how to go about data gathering/management - don't start with the lawyers and their many and assorted lists of deals and cases; start with the clients - the buyers of legal services. What do they want and need to make buying decisions in your various practice and industry areas?  When your planning starts with the end in mind, it ensures that your focus, and consequently, your action is always relevant.

    About the Author

    Deborah McMurray is the founder, CEO and Strategy Architect of Content Pilot LLC. She may be reached at mcmurray@contentpilot.net.

  • September 22, 2017 5:03 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    By Jennifer Roberts & Mark Medice, Intapp

    In his August 20, 2011 Wall Street Journal article entitled, Software is Eating the World, Marc Andreesen famously pronounced that software and the corresponding data it processed was rapidly spreading across all industries disrupting businesses, creating quick winners of the innovators, and losers of the incumbents. He cited many industries and businesses as examples, including telecommunications (Skype), movies and entertainment (Netflix), recruiting (LinkedIn), retail (Amazon) and financial services among others. 

    With all the discussion about innovation and change within the legal industry, does Mr. Andreesen’s premise have application to law firms?  Perhaps the answer lies in how law firms use data to serve their clients today and what might be available?

    The use of data for client service is not a brand new idea, and today data is requisite towards a client service design strategy.  There are many labels for this client-centric thinking, for example “outside in” design.[1]  Outside in design implies redesigning services with the client at the center of the universe, anticipating their feelings and steps through their journey of identifying problems and finding their solutions.  In other words, design by walking in the client’s shoes. This design method better shines light on client needs that enable a stronger more intimate, trusted client relationship. Common examples include the use of net promoter scores,[2] understanding buying trends to develop product bundles and offer recommendations as well as factoring customer reviews to develop product quality scores..  

    As pervasive as leveraging data in client service has become across many industries, we are only at the beginning in legal. The space is wide open and with learnings from other industries, it is clear that there are many opportunities. The inquiry must take into account priority and impact. Where can we make the biggest impact for our clients? Questions that may arise in this analysis may include the following:

    ·       Are we trusted preferred provider with this client?

    ·       Are we getting the work that matches our strengths and strategy?

    ·       Do clients like our work?

    ·       How do we know if things are going off track during a matter?

    ·       Are we providing value to the client and how would we know?

    ·       Are the interests of the client and firm aligned?

    ·       Are their signals we should be on the lookout for problems?

    ·       What resources should we bring to bear to develop strong client relationships?

     

    A common approach towards assessing firm standing with clients is through client interviews, undertaken by a number of approaches, such as through third-party consultants, business development professionals, and executive management. Feedback comes in the form of unstructured qualitative data and is typically only done every few years for only a subset of key clients. This is a fantastic means to get in-depth client data that can add a lot of color to varying situations. However, this approach is labor intensive, requires significant follow-up, while invaluable, it doesn’t scale to critical cross-sections of the client portfolio (e.g., key growth clients). 

    Can Data Help and what is Already Available?

    There is a plethora of data already at the firm that can easily be repurposed to help inform the client’s sentiment about the firm. It can be processed to support many critical initiatives that if done well could provide client distinction through the understanding of client sentiment in the data and creating a collaborative intelligence experience management process for business development.

    Client Relationship Health Scores and Early Warnings

    Think about it, a client doesn’t fire a law firm (or lawyer for that matter) but more commonly, billings decline overtime until they drift away. As the work slowly dwindles, there is a chance that the client may no longer have that work, although it may be something more malignant. Too frequently, the client has lost faith, and may be bringing that work elsewhere. But waiting until work has dwindled is too late. Firms need to review performance measures that may provide a warning about diminishing relationships as to learn and act timely and effectively. Examples of commonly available data that might signal declining health:

    • The Number of Services/Practices Engaged. If a client has three or more practices engaged aka “the rule of 3”, there is a higher likelihood the client is happy and even better, is willing to bring in more work. The rule of 3 also brings a stickiness factor with it as it is harder to move work, the more work you have… there is an inherent loyalty.
    • Number of Partners Materially Involved. Understanding the partners, practices and offices working with a client can help identify complex connections on the matter and client level where the stickiness factor only increases and highlight those where connections with the firm are weak.
    • Declining Realization especially post invoice. A client who is willing to pay less per dollar billed doesn’t see the value of the work being done.

    These are just a few examples of spinning existing firm data on its head to benefit the understanding of client relationships and aid in business developments pursuit of client success. Extra flavor is added through voice of the client programs that allow for depth (whereas data analysis gives you breadth). This looks like client interviews, team 360s, after-action reviews and snap shot surveys. While some of these are time intensive, the snapshot survey is one that isn’t so exhaustive, as it can be automated while simultaneously providing structured information that gives depth by only asking one question: would you recommend us to a colleague? One caution however. The simplicity and brevity of the question should not imply a casual or indelicate context for its use. Also it should not be treated with lessor significance compared to other gathered data, since you are asking the client for one of the most significant gifts, that of a referral.

    Automated Client Feedback Methods

    According to the 2017 Intapp Experience Management survey, 52% of firms reap the benefits of feedback. Voice of the client programs pair nicely with strategic account programs so the outreach happens to a targeted group. For firms without key account programs, a firm can easily slice their portfolio by looking at all the clients in the past year and applying the 80/20 rule (group the 20% of clients that make up 80% of revenue) and the data is easily parsed into top contributors and not. It is equally as important to reach out to those on top as those that are not to gain an understanding of what a top client looks like and one that is not as satisfied as well. These type of measures help a firm understand the levers in place to leverage when solidifying strong relationships and building on weak ones.   

    A data-driven client success program is not just about the ability to solidify loyalty but also expand the work the firm does with said client as well as delight them with that work. To this end, the same data discussed above can be used to unearth buying patterns, anticipate client needs and aid in pricing and monitoring matters. Although, according to the survey this is only being utilized by a very small and innovative proportion of firms.

    Data Integration

    Now that the value of this data is beginning to shine through the next piece of the puzzle is how to interface with it. Currently, if this data is being used for a client success program, it is collected manually from the various data silos around the firm. Often business development professionals are running around with clip boards or sending (often ignored) emails to gather input. Once collected the data is typically kept in a spreadsheet or on a SharePoint site for easier access by many. Technology is quickly entering the market in this space to help make the gathering and use of this data more palpable. Specifically, systems that automate data capture by integrating disparate systems but also support capture through automated workflows at pertinent points in the matter life cycle are ideal for these efforts so that business development has both qualitative and quantitative data. Top that with search capabilities to answer obscure experience questions which not only provides the power to business development to understand the client through data-driven success factors as well as illuminate potential opportunities but also enable them to quickly respond to RFPs, pitches, directory submissions and proposals. This is just the beginning for technology in this space, the doors are then open to the application of machine learning from predictive analytics to aid in cross-selling to natural language processing to auto classify qualitative information.

    Intelligence Experience Management Systems

    Experience Management for law firms seems to be the place to start in terms of interfacing with this data. It makes sense given how data-intensive the process is for collecting this information across the firm and how difficult it can be to put it to use. As Katherine Miletich, Director of Marketing at Vedder Price commented:

    “[b]eing able to quickly assess the accumulated experience of a firm is critical in today’s business environment.  You can try to pre-package all your credentials, and clients will always find a way of looking for a set of parameters that you did not consider before.  Being able to drive into your source data – the actual hours worked on actual matters for specific clients – provides the detail that client want and gives confidence to a proposal team.”

    In the same experience management survey referenced above, one of the most dramatic changes in how law firms are perceiving the need for experience management relates to the use of data in their processes. So-called first generation experience systems are very focused on one-dimensional work streams towards pitching, whereas modern thinking adds much richer functionality tapping more diverse data into the mix to illuminate client needs, develop sophisticated scoring to do predictive cross-selling analysis, build and intersect with alternative pricing models, support and promote collaboration, and provide a platform for metrics that indicate the overall client relationship health. Specifically, these tools are beginning to get the legal industry to a client-centric, outside-in model being leveraged by many innovative companies driving towards success outside of legal.

    The benefits of such a system can be framed on a number of dimensions including improving efficiency, while simultaneously building a platform for strategic effectiveness driving client success. Ultimately this system leads to substantial, deep client relationships that drive business.

    Dirty Data

    At this point the conversation frequently turns to the issues of data quality as well as firm culture that would stand in the way. For firms who are paving the way in this area, there are key learnings to get started. To begin, don’t let the idea of dirty data tie you down. The exception is not the rule in these scenarios. Data can be cleaned (it is 80% of the battle) and with proper momentum as the project picks up, the incentives to input correct data increase which strengthen the cause. That aside, start small. Choose a practice or industry to begin. Ideally the selection will not just be based on need and data but also a group of lawyers who want to play ball and are data driven. This leads to another important key in gaining momentum…get buy-in. Lawyers who are willing to collaborate and work with business development efforts to this end will aid in quick application and help gain momentum as the value is seen and articulated across the firm.

    Putting the Data in Motion – Getting Started

    Delivering superb client service is vital in this market in order to differentiate your firm from the rest. No matter whether one buys into the “software eating legal” idea, the fact remains data is here, along with the computing power to put it to productive use. Understanding the barriers business development faces at the firm, starting small and gaining buy-in can be the keys to a successful beginning.

    Furthermore, there is a lot to be gained from data that already resides at the firm in order to give these types of efforts motion. In an increasingly client sophisticated world, clients are demanding this kind of proactive service from their providers. The ultimate question rests on how each firm puts it to work for their clients’ gain. 

    About the Authors

    Jennifer Roberts is responsible for the data science and research component that supports thought leadership and new initiatives at Intapp. With a passion to deliver actionable analytics she leverages her skills to advocate, evangelize and build data-fueled products and insight that informs strategic decisions and solves organizational needs. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer.roberts@intapp.com.

    Mark Medice leads new initiatives and consulting services related driving law firm performance in their service with their clients.  His work is focused on analytics, benchmarking, financial performance, strategic intake, service design, using technology to develop client relationships. Mark can be reached at mark.medice@intapp.com.   


    [1] See Outside In, Manning Bodine, 2012

    [2] NPS ask a basic question about whether the client would refer us to another.

  • June 29, 2017 4:30 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Become a Master Coach with our Certification Program 

    Coaching is becoming a profession within the legal profession.  Learning to become a business development coach or to refine your coaching skills to help lawyers reach their full potential for developing business is a great career opportunity. Through Legal Sales and Service Organization's (LSSO) partnership with LawVision, we bring our attendees and members unparalleled opportunity for advancing their careers as business development coaches. Further, our coaching certification will provide you with the training, tools, and credentials to coach lawyers at all skill levels. 

    LSSO's Coaching Certification program is delivered through classroom instruction by sales and coaching experts, accompanied by in house coaches who will provide case studies and examples of the day-to-day challenges and opportunities they face and discuss the methods for meeting those challenges and leveraging opportunities. Onsite programming, a live coaching session and one class follow-on webinar will complete your certification.

    Register Here - Early Bird Discount Now Available

    Facilitators:

    Silvia L. Coulter, LSSO Co-Founder and Principal, LawVision Group

    Jim Cranston, Principal, LawVision Group

    Location: Goulston Storrs Conference Center, 400 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 

    Dates: October 10 & 11, 2017

    Registration: Early Rates Available - click here

  • May 26, 2017 1:20 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Available Now for Pre-Order or Pick up a Copy at RainDance

    They realize they cannot go it alone. They use teams and coaches to amplify their results. Many performers who have already surmounted exceptional tests and challenges and have succeeded in business, sports, the military, or the arts well beyond their peers think performance is only up to the individual. Many become frustrated when hours of hard work, years of experience, and expensive educations don’t lead them to the top of their domain. They are already among the best, but they want to be the best. 

    The elite realize there is only so much they can do on their own to achieve that status. They understand they need coaches, colleagues, and competitors to provide the collaboration and competition that serves as a constant push to keep forward momentum going towards attaining that next level.

    In Cultivating Excellence, Darryl Cross uses thirty years of experience to show top performers that the key to continued enhancement of performance and success is an exceptional coach and team that guides the elite performer to see situations and challenges in new ways (art), to perfect their craft to the nth degree (science), and to commit to deliberate practice that eliminates performance gaps (grit) and puts the summit within reach.

    You may pre-order your book here or get your copy hot off the press at RainDance.
  • May 18, 2017 7:51 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Coaching is becoming a profession within the legal profession.  Learning to become a business development coach or to refine your coaching skills to help lawyers reach their full potential for developing business is a great career opportunity. Through LSSO’s partnership with LawVision, we bring our attendees and members unparalleled opportunity for advancing their careers as business development coaches. Further, our coaching certification will provide you with the training, tools, and credentials to coach lawyers at all skill levels. 

    Learn More

  • May 02, 2017 8:10 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)
    Understand how firms are allocating their marketing and business development budgets to support growth.

    As a legal marketing professional, you understand the increased pressure to initiate, cultivate and secure relationships that make an impact on your firm's bottom line. That's why Bloomberg Law and the Legal Marketing Association have partnered to bring you research to provide critical benchmarking on priorities, staffing and objectives.

    Download the newly-released 2017 report, “Aligning Legal Marketing and Business Development Resources for Law Firm Growth,” now to discover how and where law firms are investing in order to retain clients and find new business.

    Key findings of the survey report include:

    • More respondents (66 percent) predicted that firms would increase spending on marketing technology over the next two years than any other area, including content marketing (54 percent) and paid advertising (50 percent).
    • Firms of all sizes employ on average one marketing or business development professional for every 25 attorneys.
    • Respondents at mid-sized firms of 100-299 lawyers were the least confident that their firm’s marketing budget would increase over the next 12 months (23 percent thought it would), while respondents at small firms were most confident (44 percent).
    • Action vs. Beliefs – Marketing & BD professionals report that developing greater knowledge & expertise in the client’s business and investing in client experience are the two greatest areas of perceived differentiation yet, investing in these areas does not receive the same budgetary focus.
    • 28% of respondents indicated a desire for greater involvement in strategic planning.

    Download the complete survey findings now.

  • May 02, 2017 7:05 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)
    1. Aon Corporation
    2. TIER REIT, Inc.
    3. Heritage Health Solutions
    4. BBA Aviation
    Come discuss the future of legal services with clients in the market like Aon, TIER REIT, BBA Aviation, and Heritage Health Solutions. Then, put your sales skills to work and visit with some of the 10,000+ corporate headquarters in Dallas/Fort Worth on Thursday and Friday.

    Register Now

    Conference Agenda at a Glance

    Complimentary Pre-Conference Workshop

    Skating to where the puck will be: Finding growth in a flat market
    Do you want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to firm growth? One of the most difficult challenges facing firms today is finding the insights and tools to help them find growth in a competitive and challenging market. This session will highlight the fundamental elements of finding growth in a flat market. Discussions will revolve around determining the future of the market, leveraging tools and processes for cross-selling and measuring successes, and finding, in the end, your puck to score the big goal.

    There are a limited number of spots for this in house professionals-only workshop. Registration is required.

    GC Panelists

    • Audrey Rubin, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the law department of Aon Corporation, a global provider of human resources and risk management services
    • Telisa Webb Schelin, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and and Secretary of TIER REIT, Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust listed on the NYSE
    • Allen Walker, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Heritage Health Solutions, a health care delivery and management provider that serves federal, state, county, and municipal agencies
    • David Wheeler, the General Counsel of BBA Aviation’s aftermarket services group, which provides aviation ground services, including repair and overhaul of jet engines and aircraft cleaning and maintenance work.
     
    Sessions May 9 & 10
    • Are We Distinctive? Creating Compelling Experiences to Win More Business
    • The Present and the Future of Legal Technology and its Impact on Client Acquisition and Retention
    • Using the Voice of the Client to Feed Predictions of Client Growth or Jeopardy in Firms
    • The Science of Creating Great Sales Presentations - A Hands-On Workshop
    • An Insider's View: Compensation Survey of Law Firm Marketing and Sales Professionals
    • Pricing for Client Value - A Hands-On Workshop
    • Rapid Fire Client Panel: A RainDance Original
    • Anatomy of a Legal WorkOut™ - Using PI and PM for the Win-Win
    • Moving from Reactive to Proactive: Managing The Cultural Tension of Legal Sales
    • Using Technology and Data to Close Deals and Improve Client Service
    • LSSO Coaching Certification Program

    Plus...
    • LSSO's 3rd Annual Sales & Service Awards 
    • Case Studies
    • Networking Opportunities
    REGISTER NOW
    • May 02, 2017 7:01 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

      From the Editors Desk: Staying Up to Date on Trends and Competition

      By John O. Cunningham, Chair, Editorial Board

      Staying up to date on trends and competition can be overwhelming. LSSO's monthly updates and the annual RainDance conference are here to help. This month's Spotlight Article provides key findings and benchmarking data from Bloomberg Law's recent marketing survey. 

      There is still time to register for this year’s RainDance Conference in Dallas on May 9-10. You'll hear from your peers and industry leaders on finding growth in a flat market, creating compelling service experiences, using the voice of the client, delivering great sales presentations, right-pricing, the present and future of legal technology, and what GC-clients love and abhor about legal service and marketing.

      Please join and support our partners and sponsors this year, including Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Practice Pipeline, gwabbit, Experience Management by Intapp, LawVision, LMA, Prosperoware, Rothschild Marketing and ContactEase.

      As always, feel free to send us any other suggestions, comments or contributions to our newsletter by contacting Kirsten Lovett at KLovett@LegalSales.org or to John Cunningham at C3Cunningham@gmail.com.

      Read the full edition of LSSO Updates - April 2017

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