When Chief Legal Officers speak, I listen. I just might learn something.
Clients (once and future) should probably listen as well.
— Here’s five of the top 10 “sound bites” from the three GCs present:
1. “I hire lawyers not firms…”
2. “Firms who churn their associates are very frustrating to us…”
3. “Word of mouth” is most reliable referral source…
4. “Cold calling” and “sending brochures” doesn’t work
5. “Cross marketing from a trusted partner can work…”
Also interesting to me were the following comments from Hasbro GC Barry Nagler.
— On how he uses outside counsel:
We use outside counsel as a cost minimization strategy… we have a large in-house department. Three criteria to keep work in-house: 1) is it core to strategic success of Hasbro? 2) is it an area of law where we have substantial repeat business?… one-offs go out. 3) what’s fun? We keep the entertainment law and send out the ERISA.
— On managing costs:
Rates aren’t as important as efficiency. You assume the quality piece… so if there are 40 qualified candidates, I can choose the most cost effective. We are billed hourly, but looking at getting discounts and ways to share risk and reward. The most important thing — no surprises! Need to put yourself in your client’s shoes. If you see costs going up, say something.. get proactive. It’s very important. We all know stuff happens, but ‘pick up the phone.’
Glad to see ACC GC Susan Hackett in attendance as well.
When an event like this allows an audience a peek inside the day-to-day life of the GC, much of what passes for legal marketing is relegated to the dustbin in the first 5 minutes. Traditional, comfortable and really expensive methods are probably not as effective today.
What law firms think they are selling (billable hours) are not what the GC is buying (results that support company strategy).