It feels like the WorldCC and Factor are doing me a personal favor in collecting critical data for my ongoing series on value storytelling. But I am not a solipsist. To the benefit of us all, they are seeking different perspectives on business value, including taking the vital step of asking the business itself. Please go here to take their high-impact survey and/or share the link with the appropriate audience:

There are multiple stakeholders In the Commercial and Contract Management (CCM) process who must collaborate effectively to drive value and eradicate friction. This survey, aimed at Business and Legal practitioners involved in the CCM process, will provide you with unique insights into how each group perceives the value and benefits received and the value and benefits given. You will see the position today and the desired state to deliver maximum benefit in the future. In this ground-breaking research, World Commerce and Contracting is partnering with Factor, a market leader in Legal Managed Services, to explore how business and legal functions interact while performing CCM.

We invite you to contribute to this survey. Your responses will be confidential and documented in a way that ensures they are not attributable. It will take you less than 10 minutes to complete, and you will receive a copy of the resulting report.

While I have been sidetracked as of late (see here and here), I will continue the value storytelling series soon. My thesis thus far:

Legal expertise is valuable to the enterprise. Demand is on steep upward trajectory. Budgets are failing to keep pace. We must optimize resource allocation and innovate—enhance productivity through process and tech. But, while innovation and optimization are key elements in our value story, we are still likely to need more money for the legal function to meet the needs of the business at scale and pace. Service levels are inextricably tied to resource levels—including the resources required to invest in innovation and optimization.

It is, literally, our job to ensure the legal aspects of business needs are met. Thus, it is also our job to secure sufficient resources for the legal function. Obtaining finite resources inside an enterprise carries substantial opportunity costs (alternative value the business could pursue with the same money) and therefore requires expert value storytelling, a learned skill in which few legal professionals are practiced.

The business defines “value.” Yet the number one complaint among the legal function’s business stakeholders is in-house lawyers “don’t understand my business.” Understanding—mastering our own context—is essential. We should be capable of framing our ask for incremental resources in the language and metrics of the business. Centering the creation, and preservation, of business value in our narrative is the core of value storytelling.

Business value is context-dependent, not unknowable. Conversations around the business value of, say, accelerating speed-to-revenue demand a different framing, and often has a different audience, than conversations around the business of value of complying with new privacy regulations. We should know our audience and develop the attendant abilities to calibrate messaging for maximum resonance with specific sets of business stakeholders.

Being aligned with the business, however, does not spare us from making hard choices and having hard conversations as to what constitutes value. Though it pains our service-loving souls, it incumbent upon us to prioritize activities by business impact and artfully say “no” when asked to handle deprioritized work. We should, however, capitalize on each “no” as an opportunity to build our story that additional legal resources are required to address unmet business needs.

Yet, instead of a more-with-more value proposition, we too often default to savings-centric tropes valorizing more-with-less heroics reliant on extraordinary effort and improvisational ingenuity to bridge resource gaps (excess MacGyverism). Stories about savings are easy because they are counterproductive—reinforcing the attractive fiction that the business can, and should, spend less on legal. Good value storytelling is anything but easy for the same reason it is necessary—the hallmark of successful advocacy is not a penchant for combative argumentation but, rather, our ability to persuade those who need persuading.

Richmond Law School professors Jessica Erickson and Josh Kubicki join us to discuss how they are teaching law students not only the critical skills to “think like a lawyer” but also the understanding that they are entering the world of business. Whether that is in BigLaw, non-profit, in-house, public interest, or solo practice, they need to have a baseline of business acumen to practice and thrive.

Prof. Kubicki runs Richmond’s Legal Business Design Hub that delivers leading-edge competitive skills to the law students and is part of a one-two punch created by Richmond Law Dean Wendy Perdue who also hired Prof. Janice Craft to lead the Professional Identity Formation program which focuses on interpersonal skills needed to be a successful, yet healthy legal professional.

Prof. Erickson runs the Law and Business Forum which connects Richmond Law Students with the local business community and teaches students a better understanding of what it means to be a business lawyer.

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Information Inspiration

Our inspiration this week comes from someone who we met (virtually) at the HBR LINKS conference. This fellow legal information professional mentioned that he’s listened to all 133 (now hopefully 134) episodes. That is amazing! You inspire us!!

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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.

Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 134 – Teaching Law Students Business Design Skills – Jessica Erickson and Josh Kubicki

As we move toward the end of the year, or as in Texas, the end of a lawyer’s birthday month, there becomes a mad scramble for completing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses. Has CLE become more about checking the box than about enhancing/maintaining a lawyer’s skill? Why is it that CLE credits are based on time, rather than knowledge? Is there a better way? Our guests this week certainly think so.

Ian Nelson, co-founder of Hotshot, a company whose business model is based on short instructional videos, originally without CLE… is now offering CLE credit with some of their packaged videos. This is a crack in the foundation of the traditional CLE model, and one that Sarah Glassmeyer, Legal Tech Curator · Reynen Court Inc. and Margaret Naughton, CLE Manager · McDermott Will & Emery hope continues.  Margaret did point out that not all CLE is boring, especially if you can kayak and learn.

Join us for a roundtable discussion on the potential for the next generation of CLE where the focus is more on true education, learning, and skills. Perhaps we can look outside the United States at places like the UK, Canada, Australia, and others where there is more focus on an educational plan than there is on the rigid structure of sitting in a seat and listening to a “sage on the stage” talking for 30 or 60 minutes.

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Information Inspirations

Jessica Gore, 3L at University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law has an attitude of “if nobody else will do it, allow me”… And she proved that by producing a better design for understanding the Federal Rules of Evidence.  She joins us, ironically on the same day as her Evidence mid-term, to talk about how she knew she could design a much better rules book than what was on the market. Her method of using Twitter to gather feedback and improve upon the prototype is exactly what we discussed in last week’s episode, so she is definitely our inspiration this week. Check out Jessica’s IP Illustrated tools website as well.

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If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who 4th solo album just released a vinyl edition this month!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 133 – Ian Nelson, Sarah Glassmeyer, and Margaret Naughton on the Next Generation of CLE

You have to appreciate a book that discusses Legal Design and puts design concepts into action by working with a fellow designer on the layout and functionality of the book itself. The results of The Legal Design Book: Doing Law in the 21st Century is both a great read for the content and the physical interaction with the book. Astrid Kohlmeier and Meera Klemola, Lawyers and Legal Designers, join us from Munich, Germany, and Helsinki, Finland respectively to discuss their motivation in writing a book designed to raise awareness of legal design concepts and tools to the legal industry.
We define Legal Design and discuss the ten philosophies that legal design professionals need to understand as they implement these ideas and processes within their organizations. There is a role for legal designers within the industry, and it is one that we are constantly defining and redefining at the moment. And as we define it, we must be able to measure it and prove the value and return on investment as well. And the focus cannot simply be how lawyers and legal professionals apply Legal Design concepts, the legal user experience (LUX) must also be taken into account.
Join us for this podcast user experience into the evolving area of Legal Design.

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If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who 4th solo album just released a vinyl edition this month!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 132 – The Legal Design Book with Astrid Kohlmeier and Meera Klemola

Business value is business-centric. Law departments frequently ask me about metrics. My response is not nearly as definitive as they desire. I recommend they start with the customer—incorporating the metrics the business is already using and then proceeding accordingly to develop the complementary, internal (to the law department) metrics necessary to manage the department in supporting business objectives.

Talk to most (not all) law departments, you find the inverse. Most law department metrics are law-department centric, full stop. Most track their spend, consistent with a savings-centric narrative, the pitfalls of which I discussed last post. Spend with law firms. Spend v. budget. Internal v. external spend. Necessary. Fine. Limited.

You can also find excellent content online on how a more sophisticated law department can, and should, measure itself. Matter volume. Matter velocity. Cycle times. Better. Rare. Still law-department-centric.

To ground the conversation, we require some metrics on metrics. The most common law department metric is Total Spend By Law Firm, in use at 90% of law departments. No other metric cracks 60%. Cycle Time, by contrast, is near the bottom, tracked by only 16% of law departments. Legal Spend To Revenue is in the middle of the distribution at 29% penetration.

Critically, excepting diversity, these metrics are essentially meaningless from a business perspective. The CEO cares as little about how many matters the law department handles as they do about how many tickets the IT help desk closes, despite the fact both are essential to running the business. These are useful measures for managing workload within a specific function but irrelevant for managing the business—unless and until they are translated into actual business impact (i.e., value storytelling). Continue Reading Defining Business Value – Value Storytelling (#3)

We bring in Brad Blickstein and Beatrice Seravello, Co-Heads, NewLaw Practice Group at Baretz+Brunelle to discuss the recently released B+B survey, “If You Build It, Will They Come?” A Research Report on the Internal Adoption of Innovation by AmLaw 100/200 and Global 100 Law Firms. This free report breaks down the adoption of innovation and the sliding scale (1-5) in where the adoption process resides. Of course, with the reference to possibly the greatest baseball movie of all time, we geeked out and brought in some quotes from the movie. So, prepare yourself for some whispers and words of wisdom from a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield.
We’ve asked Brad and Beatrice to return in a few weeks with an update on part two of the report.

Information Inspirations
We mix up our traditional Information Inspiration segment by focusing on the upcoming HBR Legal Information + Knowledge Services (LINKS) Conference. Both Marlene and Greg are speaking at the October 14th half-day conference. HBR’s Colleen Cable sat down with Greg to go over the details and topics of the conference, including an industry overview of Leadership as we head into 2022, a review of HBR’s 2021 Benchmarking in Law Library and Information Services Survey (BLISS), and a wrap-up session from the Geek in Review Podcast hosts. 3 Geeks and a Law Blog is happy to be supporting this conference. The $45 conference fee ($35 for BLISS contributors), will go to support AALL’s George A. Strait Minority Scholarship & Fellowship fund. There will also be a social event following the conference which leverages the Airmeet conference platforms special features for attendee interaction. We hope to see you there. Registration Information can be found here.
Share with a friend
If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 131 – Innovation Adoption – The Law Firm Field of Dreams

Me: Which “genius” decided savings should be a prime objective and metric of success for law departments?

Jae: [purses lips & tilts head]

Me: But…

Jae: [rolls eyes]

Me: No…like…well, actually…but see…what had happened was…

Jae: [sighs]

Me: Fine. I’ll recant and repent. But, just so we’re clear, I am not happy about it.

Jae: [shrugs]

Saving money is essential. But not as an end in itself. Centering savings in our value storytelling is seductive but, long-term, counterproductive. Our story should be one of delivering business value. Delivering business value is contingent on us having sufficient resources to meet the evolving needs of the business.

To the extent I have played any role in promoting the narrative that law departments should prioritize savings for savings sake—as in, “today over half of these departments are targeting savings of 20% or more” (2021 EY Law Survey)—I seek absolution, and wish to atone, for my sins.

I remain a harsh, vocal critic of waste in the delivery of legal services—without remorse. Yet, in what may be revisionist history, I protest: I have been misunderstood. I hold nuanced views. My focus is reducing the unit cost of legal services as one component of us collectively solving for scale.

My operating assumption remains that demand for legal expertise is on a steep upward trajectory in our law-thick world; to the point where, even if we can reverse the correlated trend in relative costs, many law departments will require more, not less, budget to address the legal dimensions of business problems. Indeed, this series commenced with my observation that “Some law departments simply need more money. Not all of them will get it.” This was the conclusion to a post I wrote about ever-increasing demand for expert legal guidance, the rise in relative costs, the failure of corporate legal budgets to keep pace, the limits of insourcing, the resulting productivity imperative, and our need to improve at value storytelling.

I built on this observation last post contending that superhuman efforts to do too much with too little (excessive MacGyverism) sabotages our legitimate ask for allocation of incremental resources to the legal function. I maintain it is incumbent on us to do the uncomfortable, including saying “no” and “I told you so” the right way. Our natural state is a reflexive “yes” followed by extraordinary, unsustainable effort. Holding the line on strategic prioritization is an unsettling but necessary exercise, as is elevating our effectiveness at the “executive art of the business case.

Herein, I posit that savings, as an end in and of itself, should not be a strategic priority and, like excessive MacGyverism, undermines our business case.

This is supposed to be hard. This is the big leagues. Corporate dollars are fungible but finite. The opportunity costs of apportioning incremental funds to legal are considerable.  I am intimately familiar with how challenging it can be to secure budget. I am also intensely familiar with how it becomes increasingly impossible to satisfy ever-expanding business needs with an ever-shrinking budget—we can only do so much extraordinary gap filling. It is essential we do the hard things well to avoid facing the impossible. When put in a no-win situation, we lose.

Our general value may be self-evident but our marginal value probably isn’t. “We need more resources because we’re busy” is only moderately useful as an argument for the allocation of marginal dollars. It is, however, quite common because it is inherently logical—if we accept the premise that legal support is necessary to the proper functioning of the enterprise.

“what we do is important” + “don’t have enough resources to do it” ≠ more resources

We often face a high evidentiary burden when requesting incremental increases in resource allocation even where the foundational case for our existence is treated as axiomatic. We ratchet up the difficulty setting when we suggest we already have more resources than we need—or worse, have been wasting resources for years.

Corporations underinvest all the time, for many reasons. Organizational underinvestment is endemic. This includes underinvestment in legal, which is often a budgetary rounding error (in percentage terms, even where the raw dollars are massive). Sometimes, corporations underinvest because they must consciously make hard choices. Sometimes, corporations underinvest because they unintentionally make poor choices.

Good value storytelling will increase the likelihood of adequate investment in legal but is no guarantee. In crafting a compelling story, centering savings can be enticing in the near term. But, long term, framing savings as end in itself can prove to be an unforced error as it perpetuates the attractive fiction that corporations can, and should, spend less on the legal function.

Saving money is easy in the short term. Just fire someone. Who? Doesn’t really matter. A reduction in force will eliminate nominal costs from one area of your budget. Too crude and close to home? Fine. Demand ever deeper discounts from your law firms. Or hold a reverse rate auction. Or add another dozen items to the list of what you won’t pay for in your outside counsel guidelines. Keep going back to the well; double down on whatever “worked” before (or has purportedly worked elsewhere).

The levers available to superficially cut costs in the near term are legion. Most of them are fine as far as they go—they just don’t go very far.

We absolutely must make decisions about the size and shape of our law departments. We must regularly revisit and refresh our relationships with external providers. But we should do so with an eye towards long-term sustainability, not only short-term savings. The associated messaging should be about optimal reallocation of finite resources to better support strategic enterprise priorities—not a net, permanent reduction in resource requirements.

With an eye towards quick, tangible wins, too many law departments have seized on building their fiscal bona fides through aggressive, explicit efforts to save money. This is understandable. “Less-expensive alternative to outside counsel” is the origin story of many law departments. But after quick wins are quickly forgotten, a savings-centric value proposition positions us poorly for our next magic trick. One-time lifts do not lend themselves to repetition or, at the very least, are subject to diminishing returns. Worse, foregrounding savings creates, or cements, the expectation that the law department should be judged on our ability to spend less money. This expectation is at odds with our true purpose (meet the needs of the business) and long-term reality.

One hope is that by showing ourselves to be conscientious stewards of corporate resources with an established track record of fiscal prudence, we will garner credibility that serves us well in our quest for more resources. It rarely works this way. In some narrow contexts, savings are a path to glory. Most of the time, however, the sole reward for spending less of your budget is less budget going forward. Short-term cost savings only imprint to short-term memory.

Track record matters. But, most places, goodwill is earned through recognized value delivered to the business, not cutting legal costs (a fractional amount of a fractional amount). We are remembered best when we help make or save real money. The job is to enable the business. The symbiotic responsibility is to secure sufficient resources to do the job.

What about doing more with less? Sure. We must do more with less—on a relative basis. We face a productivity imperative grounded in ever-increasing demands with which our budgets will simply not keep pace. Our resource/demand gap can only grow so large, so fast, until something critical falls into the gulf.

Business activity is increasing. Government activity—legal complexity in the form of statutes, regulations, investigations, etc. compounded by cross-border complications–is increasing in response thereto. The related costs of doing business escalate with the amount of business being done. Specifically, legal is a cost of doing business on an explicable upward trajectory.

Given the uptick in total demand (more economic activity in a more densely regulated environment), there is no self-evident reason to expect total spend on legal will be reduced in the foreseeable future.

Process-driven, tech-enabled legal service delivery can reduce the unit cost of legal services while moving upstream to address business drivers of legal spend (e.g., #dolesslaw, prevention) can reduce the number of units of legal services required per quantum of business activity. But I am still hard pressed to imagine a world where aggregate spend decreases even if we materially increase our yield per dollar expended. Costs in raw dollars will still likely trend up, even if we bring relative costs down dramatically. Pretending otherwise is a recipe for pain. Frankly, our expectation should not be more with less, regardless of how common that refrain has become. Rather, we will need to do more with more. Embedding this expectation with our stakeholders requires us to be expert in arguing for more in an environment where that is the opposite of what anyone wants to hear.

A word of caution even about relative spend. Measurement is a tricky beast. Goodhart’s law, for example, tells us that once a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. The answer is not to abandon data. Rather, we are best served by a balanced bundle of meaningful metrics and the attendant ability to weave them into coherent stories—raw data is not a story.

Legal Spend as % of Revenue, for example, is a solid benchmark and KPI. No argument here. In a stable environment, reducing spend as a percentage of company revenue can help tell the story of our ability to control unit costs relative to company activity while simultaneously reinforcing the proposition that the legal budget should remain on a smooth upward trajectory. Yet spend as a percentage of revenue can be wildly misleading in a volatile environment or during periods of punctuated equilibrium.

The fun version of budgetary chaos is a healthy, well-run, growth-oriented company going on a smart acquisition spree, injecting a large bolus of M&A activity that spikes legal spend. Great. We exist to support the enterprise in creating new business value. Totally understandable if previously unbudgeted expenditures on deal counsel, due diligence, and post-merger integration do some violence to our expected outlays.

Alternatively, our company could find itself in new regulatory environment or on the wrong end of a government investigation. Less awesome from the company perspective. But legal’s role in value preservation is no less vital—and no less expensive. Per Jae, when we look at the prevalence and severity of fines against large corporations, the upward pressure on legal budgets presents as an organic outcome.

We should not erect false idols (“reduction in legal spend is our objective”) to which we can be sacrificed when events outside our control force us to violate self-imposed strictures. Instead, we need to properly manage expectations by meticulously crafting a convincing story of how corporate funds should be spent, and why. Exogenous events will shape our story, so we should be exceedingly careful not to paint ourselves into narrative corners.

So we shouldn’t save money or talk about it if we do? We should continuously strive to maximize the value derived from every dollar spent. This will often involve creatively identifying ways to reduce costs in one area so we can reallocate money to other underfunded mandates. We absolutely should talk, proudly, about how we saved company money but should be careful not to speak as if saving money is itself an objective. Rather, the mission is to better support the company’s strategic priorities. Our emphasis should be on the enhanced business value the savings enabled, not the savings themselves. Our framing therefore should be focused on more optimal allocation of scarce resources, not the reclamation of excess resources.

What about when the enterprise requires us to reduce spend? Then we reduce spend. The foregoing is not some pollyannaish take willfully blind to the realities of operating in a corporate environment. The reality is, even with exceptional value storytelling, most legal functions will remain chronically underfunded relative to the intensification of demand, and will also have to weather episodic cost-cutting mandates. I’m not saying it is easy. I’m saying don’t make it harder than it already is by falling prey to the Siren Song of Savings and centering cost cutting in our narrative as some sort of intrinsic, independent good.

More about more for more in the next post in this series.

Ironclad‘s Chief Community Officer, Mary O’Carroll, has spent the past two decades bringing business acumen to the legal industry. In an industry run by lawyers, most of whom had little to no business training, Mary points out that it is logical that legal ops teams are needed to be the right-hand people in helping lawyers in the business process. Her experience with Orrick, Google, CLOC, and now Ironclad has one common thread, and that is the need to drive change. Mary says that it is just a part of her personality to be laser-focused on efficiency and find ways to clean up the mess she uncovers in the legal industry.
It is that desire to drive change through the use of the legal community that helped her make the decision to join Ironclad and the hot field of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). Mary points out that the industry has worked to improve efficiency in many areas, but when it comes to contracts, we are continuing to do business as usual. Creating a digital contracting system will help scale the industry, as well as enable us to leverage data, which has always been trapped in contracts, and create new methods for the legal department to help drive the overall success of the business, and no longer be seen as a department where ideas and innovation go to die.

Information Inspirations
Our own Casey Flaherty advises us to stop trying to be a hero, and learn to say no when it comes to spreading resources too thin. Check out his latest article, “Maybe, Don’t Be MacGyver – The Value of Value Storytelling.”
Singapore is launching a couple of Dalek-looking robots to monitor “undesirable behavior” among its citizens. Is this a logical use of technology or a slippery slope toward technology overreach?
O’Melveny and Myers is the first law firm to join Peloton’s Corporate Wellness Program.
The next time you go through a drive-thru, you may hear the crisp, clear voice of an AI program taking your order. Will the robots take more and more of the service jobs away, and will there be a shift in the way the government taxes those robot workers who replace humans?
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If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 130 – Mary O’Carroll – The Power of Community in Driving Change

I posit that the most valuable skill that every corporate law department needs in 2021 and beyond is the executive art of the business case….The reasons for this are many, but I’ll give just one: This is a task that cannot be outsourced.  Without the ability to secure the budget and investment required by the demands on the function, corporate clients will remain forever trapped in a never-ending cost-cutting exercise, to the detriment of everyone involved.  Worse yet, sustained strain on the corporate legal function and its outside supply chain introduces net-new risk — legal, financial and compliance risks — not only for the enterprise but for the social system to which we all belong.

Jae Um

I concluded my last post, on ever-increasing demand and our resulting productivity imperative, with the observation, “Some law departments simply need more money. Not all of them will get it.” In what may be a mini-series of follow-up posts, I try expand some on the value of value storytelling with a bias towards the uncomfortable and controversial. As I have been recently helping some GCs with annual budgeting, my primary orientation here is in-house but many lessons are more generally applicable.

It depends (on context). As Jae says, the business case cannot be outsourced. While good questions tend to be universal, good answers are almost always context dependent. We are responsible for achieving mastery of our own context. Mastery entails being able to navigate our context successfully, a higher bar than issue spotting for outsiders as to why “that won’t work here.” Having an information advantage over outsiders is meaningless. Your audience, and your competition, are inside your organization.

This is supposed to be hard. The Australian women smashed the world record in the 4x200m freestyle relay during the 2021 Summer Olympics—and still only won bronze. Falling short is common when competing against the best in the world. In seeking to secure finite resources within a world-class organization, we likely face world-class competition.

Maybe, just maybe, don’t be MacGyver. When we are under-resourced, the temptation is to fill in the gaps through extraordinary effort augmented by ingenuity. Yet any system predicated on extraordinary effort is unsustainable.

In one sense, it is laudable to meet several unfunded mandates with a paperclip, chewed bubble gum, and some duct tape, while working nights/weekends. Then again, if our organization is accreting operational risk by underfunding mission-critical work, it is our responsibility, as a conscientious steward of said organization, to make this manifest and pursue adequate resourcing. Superhuman gap filling can be counterproductive. We undermine our own case. Extraordinary yet unsustainable performance masks deficiencies and gives outsiders the illusion we have all we need—almost no one cares how busy we are perpetuating the illusion.

I recognize not doing things that, ideally, should get done demands uncomfortable choices and uncomfortable conversations. That’s the job. Sometimes, it is incumbent upon us to be correct, consistent, and persistent (Andy Dufrensene) rather than heroic (MacGyver).

Be prepared to say “No” and “I told you so” often (and ever so politely). Not being MacGyver requires saying No more often, and more clearly. I am deeply familiar with the angst this triggers. Many legal professionals have rightly cultivated a service mentality and are committed to doing everything in their power to meet the multifaceted (and multiplying) needs of their organization. Saying No reeks of disappointment, if not outright dereliction of duty. Continue Reading Maybe, Don’t Be MacGyver – The Value of Value Storytelling (#1)

While technology is part of innovation, technology alone is not innovation. We brought in three guests this week to talk about what they are doing to innovate in the area of process improvement and give us some examples of some of the projects they are working on.
There is a methodology when it comes to how law firms handle process improvement. O’Neil’s process starts with communicating with the attorney and staff teams to determine what pain points they have and evaluate the current workflow. Sometimes it is as simple as tweaking the processes that already exist by adding or removing steps in the workflow, or by adding or removing the number of people involved. Sometimes it means reaching out to Alana and Jack to see how a technology tool like HighQ can improve the overall workflow through automation and improvements in communications and clearly defining and assigning steps in the overall process.
The firm’s clients are also involved in the process improvement design as well. Carson and Godsey mentioned that including clients in the overall process enables them to define what they need, and makes the law firm/client relationship stickier so that the clients really feel like a part of the firm’s efforts toward process improvement and creating a better value for the client.
Share with a friend
If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 129 – Zen and the Art of Process Improvement – Tiffany O’Neil, Alana Carson, and Jack Godsey