After 25 years at Liberty Mutual, Bob Taylor began his new adventure in legal services when he joined Deloitte’s Legal Business Services (LBS) as the Managing Director a few weeks ago. His in-house experience and desire to help create innovative and creative ways of providing legal business services make him a perfect fit to join his new colleagues, Valerie Dickerson, Legal Business Services Partner at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington, DC, and Mark Ross, Principal at Deloitte Legal Business Services in Los Angeles.
We discuss Bob’s move over to Deloitte, along with the holistic approach LBS is taking with understanding its client’s entire business, and providing multiple services where the overall service is greater than the individual sum of its parts. We also ask each of them to look into their crystal balls and project how they see the Big Four Professional Services, like Deloitte, changing the legal environment over the next decade.

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Information Inspirations
Our friend Kristin Hodgins asked a very interesting question on Twitter about how to start a start-up when you’re not wealthy or have a partner to rely upon.
You don’t have to be a young lawyer to enjoy the insights of young lawyers. The ABA Young Lawyer Division launched its new Young Lawyer Rising Podcast this week and the first two episodes cover Civility and being a young lawyer in the era of COVID.
We all know there’s some hype around big tech, AI, and ethics. Well, MIT Tech Review gives us “50-ish words you can use to show you care without incriminating yourself.”
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Marlene Gebauer  0:20

Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:27

And I’m Greg Lambert. So we have a trio of guests this week who join us from Deloitte legal businesses services, including their newbie on the team Bob Taylor, who just recently left Liberty Mutual’s legal division after a just brief 25 year run Marlene. So Bob is joined by Valerie Dickerson in DC and Mark Ross and LA, and they give us an overview of what Deloitte is doing to guide their clients in the legal managed services field. And it’s a you know, it’s a really interesting point of view coming from how the Big Four professional services firms are handling the needs of their clients in these areas. So stick around for that. But right now, let’s jump into this week’s information inspirations.

Marlene Gebauer  1:18

Okay, Greg, before we get started on our official inspirations, I wanted to give a quick mention, check out the Twitter discussion about what it takes to start a startup. Kristen Hodgins who’s one of our former guests started this this tweet by asking, you know, how do you do it if you don’t have a lot of money or financial backup? And you know, lots of people jumped in on this conversation. And there were really several responses that you might not anticipate, in fact, you know, one of the people who had that sort of response is actually going to be a guest in a future episode, so we can talk to her about it.

Greg Lambert  1:56

Excellent. Excellent. So yeah, it’s kind of like the guy that came to town. He said, All I had was, you know, the clothes on my back and the knapsack over my shoulder. And when he asked him what was in the knapsack, he said, Well, about $3 million.

Marlene Gebauer  2:10


Greg Lambert  2:12

Since our interviews a little bit long this week, I narrowed my long list of inspirations that I had down to just this one, and I wanted to highlight a new podcast from the ABA is young lawyer division called young lawyer rising, and it’s produced by our friends over at legal talk network. And there are two episodes that came out in their launch this week, and one is dealing with civility, or the lack thereof, in some cases of lawyers who are entering the profession. And that one features Dr. Heidi Brown. We had Heidi brown on the show. We did. Okay, I thought we did. So we’ve had had her on the show. And the other episode is the lessons learned over the past few years in the COVID era. And so Sonia Russo and Matthew Kerbis, tag team on the young lawyer rising podcast, and even though I’m not a young lawyer, Marlene, I think it’s a good story to be told and heard from those of us. Who are those who are at the beginning of a long career in the law.

Marlene Gebauer  3:15

Yeah, well, I always think it’s good to listen to a variety of people. And so, you know, listen, when you’re listening, think young. Yes, listening to the up and comers is not a bad thing to do, folks. Okay, just putting it out there. Alright. So, you know, here’s my official inspiration, Greg, you know, it’s always good to revisit AI ethics, you know, particularly if it makes you laugh. So I thought that the big tech guide to talking about AI ethics in the MIT Technology Review was pretty timely. Karen, who is the author, and she’s put together some definitions that are both funny, and spot on. So here are a couple accountability, the act of holding someone else responsible for the consequences when your AI system fails.

Greg Lambert  4:03

You didn’t train it right?

Marlene Gebauer  4:09

audit, a review that you pay someone else to do of your company or AI system, so that you appear more transparent without needing to change anything. Yeah, that’s right. truth, truth, compliance, the act of following the law, anything that isn’t illegal goes. And the lat the last one, not to be confused with ethics. And this is the last one I have although there’s there’s a whole bunch of them. So you need to you need to check out the article. So the last one is privacy trade off the noble sacrifice of individual control over personal information for group benefits like AI driven health care advancements, which also happened to be highly profitable. So check it out for a good chuckle and, you know, see if you can come up with any tweet about it. And that wraps up this week’s information inspirations. 20 years ago that then Big Five accounting firms were attempting to position themselves more like large law firms. Over the past two decades the Big Four professional services firms have found their groove when it comes to legal managed services and understanding the holistic approach to knowing our clients businesses. Now big law firms are looking to position themselves more like the big four. We bring on three leaders of Deloitte legal business services team to learn more about what they are doing and how they are attracting legal talent to come and work on their team.

Greg Lambert  5:44

We’d like to welcome our three guests today. Bob Taylor rejoins us to talk about his new role at Deloitte legal business services team as managing director. Bob, good to have you back.

Bob Taylor  5:54

Nice to be here. Thanks for having me back.

Greg Lambert  5:57

Valerie Dickerson is the legal business service partner at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington DC. Valerie glad to have you here.

Valerie Dickerson  6:05

Thanks for having me.

Greg Lambert  6:06

And last but not least, is Mark Ross, principal at Deloitte legal business services in Los Angeles. Mark, nice to have you here as well.

Mark Ross  6:14

Great to be here. Thanks for having us.

Marlene Gebauer  6:17

Well, let’s jump right in. So Bob, since you were here last you left Liberty Mutual after a mere 25-year run to join Deloitte legal business services. What motivated you to move from your in-house position to join Valerie and mark and the executive team driving Detroit’s transformation offerings and legal managed services?

Bob Taylor  6:37

Yeah, so I think last time we talked, Marlene, we were kind of doing a debrief, the Boston Legal design challenge, I think is what we were talking about. And, you know, my thinking was kind of as follows. But first of all, I absolutely loved my time at Liberty Mutual. And while I was there, I bled Liberty blue. And I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience there and my colleagues. And, you know, that’s a really great, you know, state-of-the-art world-class legal department there. For me, personally, I always like to build things and be part of something that is in growth mode. And I really got a great unique opportunity in my role at Liberty Mutual to see the marketplace as a whole is very involved in a number of organizations, as you guys know, like with clock and ACC and the ABA, and I could see what was coming around the corner, which is this amazing market opportunity or inflection point in the marketplace. legal business services is a multi-billion dollar marketplace today, and I believe poised to experience ongoing significant year over year growth, the boutique alternative legal service providers, I think they’ve helped to create this market. However, given just Detroit’s sheer size, and scale, and diversity, their experience their obvious business reputation, I mean, they’re considered, I think, the most respected professional services organization in the world. All of that combined. Really, I think, is Deloitte a distinct advantage to respond to what I’m seeing as an evolving circumstance in the corporate, you know, for the corporate legal department have taken advantage of these types of services going forward. And, you know, I saw the team that they were assembling at Deloitte, and I really wanted to be a part of that. And I think that Deloitte is just so well positioned to draw a really straight line from the managed services that they offer to an ROI. And I wanted to be a part of that.

Greg Lambert  8:32

Valerie, you had moved into the legal business services after being a tax partner there with Deloitte for many years as the client and market leader for legal business services. How do you find in House Counsel viewing your services? And what additional services do you see your team offering that they may not be using at the moment?

Valerie Dickerson  8:55

Your first question, one of the things that surprised me about moving sort of in this area, being a historical tax partner, is how much is going on in the legal space that we’ve seen going on in the tech space. And what I’m specifically referring to is that pressure around needing to do more, the issues increasing, but the budgets in the staff not necessarily increasing or perhaps even decreasing. And so I find that in House counsel is needing our services, probably more now. And maybe some of that was driven by COVID oldest changes sort of converging, one of the service offerings that I can see becoming more of a need in the US as there was a convergence around global reporting is in the legal entity management space which actually has a nice tie in with tax as well. And in just the concept there of people and processes needing to be to make sense from a global perspective with an organization and that having a domestic element.

Marlene Gebauer  10:07

So Mark, Bob already told us he bled Liberty blue. So clearly he really enjoyed his work at Liberty Mutual.

Marlene Gebauer  10:17

What did you do that convinced him to come and join your team? What are some of the initial projects and goals that someone with Bob’s in-house and innovation experience helps you achieve?

Mark Ross  10:29

Thanks, Marlene. First, first of all, I’ve known Bob for a number of years now. I follow followed his career with great interest, as I’ve seen him play an absolutely integral role in the transformation of liberty, Mutual’s legal department and legal operations function and he’s somebody that I have admired in the legal innovation space for a long time. On what is crystal clear to me is that we are genuinely competing for talent. Right now. We’re strategically investing in both external and internal talent in legal business services, with the opportunity in the market that is presented to Deloitte, delivering on cross functional engagements that require a multidisciplinary talent, an approach, an approach that embraces process standardization, automation and AI, global delivery, alternative resourcing continuous improvement, the talent that we need to deliver on that approach goes far beyond traditional legally trained talent. It includes knowledge engineers, it includes technologists, that includes procurement and sourcing specialists, process analysts, management consultants, data scientists, and yes, of course, legally trained professionals. But those legally trained professionals, who bring both the in house expertise that Bob brings to the table, after 25 years at Liberty Mutual, coupled with all of the additional skill sets that I just regale to you made Bob, an outstanding candidate to be a member of the Deloitte legal business services executive team. Despite him being a Tottenham Hotspur fan,

Greg Lambert  12:48

you put that last part in because his head was starting to swell and I wasn’t sure his headphones were gonna, gonna still fit.

Marlene Gebauer  12:56

So when you say internal and external competition, what do you mean by that?

Mark Ross  13:01

So internally within Deloitte, the access to the multi-disciplinary talent across the globe is quite remarkable. You know, we invest huge sums in data science, analytics, artificial intelligence, our consulting capabilities, the brand permission that Deloitte internally brings to the table with tried and tested C suite relationships, a track record of credential supporting transformation at our clients across the entire enterprise. We need to leverage both external talent from the world of legal innovation individuals like Bob, coupled with leveraging the tremendous internal talent, geographically cross functionally, that Deloitte as the world’s largest, most respected professional services organization can bring to the table.

Bob Taylor  14:09

Yeah, so Mark made me blush. I know you we can’t see that on the podcast, you know, but he certainly has made me blush a little bit, but I would say that you know, I think one thing that’s unique that I can bring to the table, based on the makeup of the team is having kind of some extreme empathy for our in house counsel clients. I think that kind of lens or viewpoint that I bring to the table is really helpful. And then, you know, speaking of empathy, I think the only one that can understand my pain is a hot Tottenham Hotspur fan, is somebody who that might be a Newcastle fan, that there might be more suffering in the Newcastle fans, and they’re on the Tottenham Hotspur fans. But empathy is really one of the things I think I bring to the table that that can really help the in house clients really, you know, assure that we understand their perspective and the pain points that they feel

Mark Ross  15:00

Empathy and sarcasm. Bob? Yes.

Bob Taylor  15:03

in equal measure?

Greg Lambert  15:05

Yeah, I was gonna say, Bob, Bob is full of both.

Marlene Gebauer  15:09

There’s a balance to be struck there.

Greg Lambert  15:10

Yes, there is? Well, you know, a lot of my peers in the legal ops profession, you know, we’ve been reading about the entry, have the big four are being painted. And essentially over the past few years, we’re seeing the big fours legal services being painted as alternative legal service providers or ALSP. Is that how you see yourself in this group? Or do you see more with more of direct competition with law firms?

Bob Taylor  15:42

So, you know, we don’t see ourselves in direct competition with law firms in the sense that we are not providing legal advice. But as the legal ecosystem, it kind of continues to evolve, our clients are always going to need legal advisory services. And you know, here in the US, we will not be providing those services. That’s not something that legal business services does here in the United States. But only by being coordinated and complementary with law firms, I think in this ecosystem will I think our clients find and benefit from end to end service where the whole really is probably greater than the sum of its parts, I think a combination of law firms and you know, we anticipate being able to help expand and scale the volume of opportunities for both Deloitte and our clients. And I’d love to see law firms lean in to that coordination with us because I think together, the some of legal business services from Deloitte and our law and law firms can really create some superior value for our clients. The clients are really becoming much more sophisticated, Greg. And they really understand that there’s a need to disaggregate the work, and position the work to those who are best suited to deliver the highest degree of value. And I think if they combine superior legal services from law firm, with superior managed services, from lbs, they might be very pleased with the outcome,

Mark Ross  17:09

if I can just jump in as well. But I thought the question was an interesting one. Because trying to bucket a given services provider. Under the lexicon alternative legal services provider, there’s a tremendous amount of energy and frankly, wasted energy, in my opinion, on what one calls oneself. Alternative Legal Services is much more about an approach. And Bob touched on this in terms of the disaggregation of workflow, leverage of alternative resourcing models, leveraging technology, data science, data analytics, the multidisciplinary approach they talked about earlier, Bob touched on this as well, that that class of service provider that the market defines as alternative legal services providers that yes, they do deserve credit for driving change in what was historically an artisan or profession. But to the point that I made, if you look at the analog 100, I think there was a survey that came out several months ago, whereby 35 of the AmLaw, 100 have developed their own alternative legal services capability. Does that mean that they are now alternative legal services providers? Or are they embracing an alternative legal services delivery approach? And I would argue that it is that is the least interesting question. Yeah.

Greg Lambert  19:01

Yeah. And I think a lot of them are doing it because they want to have a clear delineation between the two. And I have some thoughts on that as well, that could could be its own multi series of podcasts on, on why, why we’re doing that. But, you know, I think a lot of us, you know, and it’s, it’s America, we love our titles, we love to be able to put everything into a you know, a box and say that it’s it’s this. And so I think, you know, in quite frankly, I think a lot of law firms are a little bit nervous of, you know, because the the big four is always the boogeyman in the room, everyone for the past 12 years, has been talking about how the big four are going to be back and in direct competition. So I think it’s something that they’re constantly they’re constantly looking at. So But yeah, I think, you know, I I think your point is fair that while we’re complaining about this, we’re also doing this other thing at the same time. So it’s a, it’s kind of an interesting dynamic that we have going on in the industry.

Marlene Gebauer  20:12

Now, Bob, I know you’ve only been at Deloitte for a few weeks. So, Mark, you know, please feel free to help him out on this one if he needs it. How do you Deloitte and the other big four firms view the business of law? Now you’ve seen it as a client? Where do you think they’re going? Or even better? Where would you like to take them now that you’re at Deloitte?

Bob Taylor  20:37

Yeah, that’s interesting. You know, I talked a little bit about that client sophistication, and how it’s growing. And, you know, you’re seeing more and more professionals getting the title of Chief Operating Officer for the legal department or, you know, head of legal operations, and you’re seeing more resources being poured into that space. So there’s clearly an understanding that there needs to be more resource put in terms of the business of law. And the challenges facing legal departments today require some type of a multi disciplinary capability around technology, leadership and deep experience and change management, and Deloitte, legal business services bring all these skill sets along with a trusted brand, I think to enhance the business of law. I kind of say that, when I was in my role, previous, most of the issues that an in house, legal department face are business problems and illegal wrapper. And Deloitte is really well positioned to understand those business problems, and then help solve for that legal wrapper around it. Now, of course, you know, the in house legal department will seek outside counsel where they need to if there’s legal advice required, but the majority of issues the day to day kind of operate issues that an in house legal department faces tend to be those business problems in a legal wrapper. And Deloitte has such depth in dealing and solving for these business problems, that I think we’re really well positioned to solve that. So over time, I can see you know, Deloitte, being able to show that expertise and and really be able to deliver that value to the clients over time. So that’s where I’d like to take it.

Marlene Gebauer  22:25

I’m going to jump over to Valerie to talk about so. How does Deloitte environment provide this this structure for innovation and creativity, technology and an ingenuity to grow and more importantly, become a part of your overall services and consultancy operation to clients? Do you see this as something that’s unique to your overall operations? And does it set you apart from traditional services that in house clients received from law firms?

Valerie Dickerson  22:57

So in answering your question, Marlene, I’m going to just tie out a little bit of what Bob was saying, because I think at our core, so loi, is we’ve we help our clients succeed and thrive. And you can’t do that unless we’re focused on the future. And the future is not something that you can react to, or just kind of wait and see what happens. Our clients have to make decisions all the time with multiple uncertainties all the time. And that resonates with legal, it resonates with processes we, and that’s just what we do is we help our clients thrive, we help our clients pave the future, we have a point of view on the future helps shape it. So it’s, I guess it’s just part of our DNA, I kind of laugh a little bit when I think of innovation and structure, because part of it is the freedom for creativity. And part of it is just knowing our clients boozes in and out. And so I do think we’re uniquely positioned because of our multi disciplinary capabilities. I mean, we are, we help the C suite, we help the chro around human capital, we help tax around tax planning, and how to reorganize tax departments, we are wildly involved in strategy, all these different areas already across the C suite. And we can shop internally for that capability to uniquely serve our clients and legal the way they need to be served. So if they need help around how AI can really help them, we can do that, if they need help with out around how RPA can really help them we can do that if they need help with the overall business model strategy, which can include how you deploy deploy people and how you match processes to the needs of the business and enable that with technology and have the right sort of people model. We can do all that. And so some of it is what these brilliant people have brought to the team not to make their heads too big. And so that’s what toit brings to our clients sort of every day and so I do think we’re uniquely suited. I think we’re also just very focused on this. We’re excited about the space. I don’t know if that answers all your questions. I feel like politician that I answered the question I wanted to answer on that one. But maybe I’m in there somewhere?

Marlene Gebauer  25:15

Well, no, you’re definitely in there somewhere. I mean, and I just wanted to take two pieces out of that, that I thought were very interesting. You know, one was the sort of understanding every aspect of the client and you know, that’s something that we talk about in firms in terms of gaining more intelligence about a client, like just knowing everything, not just sort of responding to to legal issues, but being able to sort of know in depth, what their business is about, and what their concerns are, and what the challenges and risks are, so that you can can better serve in a legal capacity and be proactive about serving in a legal capacity. So that’s something we talk about on the firm side, too. And the other part you mentioned, was the flexibility. So not only do you know everything, but then you have the flexibility to act upon that. And so I think that, you know, those two things, you know, definitely answer what I was asking.

Greg Lambert  26:12

This is a part of the show where we’re really like to, for the guests to kind of pull out their crystal ball in, predict where they see their operations in in a few years. So maybe, Mark, I’ll toss this to you first for Deloitte, legal business services. What changes do you hope to make in the market over the next decade?

Mark Ross  26:35

Great, great question, Greg. And I think my answers play off some of Valerie and Bob’s comments from earlier. If you think through the overlapping and interrelated challenges impacting clients, at the enterprise level, and functionally within the legal department, the volume of work continues to increase exponentially. Teams lacked the bandwidth to keep pace. Within the legal function. Many are trained in the practice of law, not the business of delivering highly efficient technology enabled legal services. On top of that, what I’m seeing what we’re seeing on an increasingly frequent basis, is that the legal function itself is being asked to change, it’s being asked to morph from what was historically viewed as a cost center to what we would define as a value creator. It is no longer being viewed as siloed as separated from the rest of the organization. And as I think through the strategic growth plans and opportunities for Deloitte legal business services, that is truly predicated on our ability to help the legal department better collaborate with business stakeholders from across the enterprise, procurement, finance it sales. So where do I think we will get to I think we will be playing a journey partner role in helping the legal department become a more strategic results and value creator for the entire enterprise?

Greg Lambert  28:41

To say they can’t just be the Department of no anymore, right? Because that’s what I’m, what I’m seeing a lot of departments have it depends. Yes. I’m much more familiar with that department. Bob or Valerie? Yeah,

Valerie Dickerson  28:59

I’ll jump in. I agree with Mark, I think we have to make sure that our legal department clients, our strategy players in a net, and enabling the corporate mission, seizing market opportunity, as well while mitigating risk. And I think that expectation is going to be there in the eyes of the CEOs, and then the C suite. I think for the better of illegal apartment, clo should hope that that expectation is there, which means the Stratus ceiling has been a strategy for executing on that. And I think that’s where we we can be helpful. I think we’re gonna see this throughout the C suite that there needs to that strategy needs to be very integrated for all the stakeholders to enable each other in order to accomplish the whole and it’s only going to get more complicated but it’s going to get more exciting to see We don’t want anyone left behind. And, and to be honest, I think, you know, us being this much more presently in the space probably going to change our business to, we’re probably going to pivot to things to there are things that I’d like to see a tax adopt coming coming out of this. So that, so I think it’s going to be pretty exciting to see where all this goes.

Bob Taylor  30:21

Yeah. So Greg, I absolutely love your crystal ball question that you ask all the time and making people look into the future, because you need to do a retrospective in 10 years time to see how many of these have come true.

Greg Lambert  30:34

we’ve, we’ve predicted like 12 of the last two futures. So we’re doing well.

Bob Taylor  30:41

That’s fantastic. I love that. So imagine what the future will look like when CPAs and lawyers work together. I mean, can you imagine the fun that people will have? I mean, so that’s kind of what we’ve got here today. Now, we, we brought a

Greg Lambert  30:58

picture I can’t get out of my head. Now.

Marlene Gebauer  31:00

Let’s all pause for a second and

Bob Taylor  31:02

think about that. Can you imagine the cocktail party of some of the smartest CPAs and lawyers in the world getting together what that would be like amazing right? Now, all joking aside, even though that would be awesome. It is awesome. My prediction for the future is around the following. And I think that we’ve I’ve heard people on your your podcast talk about this. And I wholeheartedly believe this, that it’s a data driven world. And I think we’re going to just see exponential leaps in our ability to not only capture, exploit, utilize and put to work, the massive amounts of what I call legal exhaust, all the data or information that comes off of the legal function, we’re going to be able to better capture it. And we’re going to find ways to make better decisions faster, that lead to better results. And that’s going to be a combination Yes, of AI, it’s going to be a combination of all those interesting machine learning predictions that people are putting together, you know, neural nets and all of that. But it’s also going to be a matter of people bringing to bear really smart professionals that understand how to leverage data, and how to then translate that into action. So for me over the next 510 years, we’re gonna see exponential leaps in that. And it’s going to benefit businesses dramatically. And I think it’s going to make people’s jobs more satisfactory and enjoyable, so that people can, you know, kind of really focus on kind of the more naughty, interesting problems and kind of shed some of that lower level, less interesting, mundane work. Yeah, well,

Marlene Gebauer  32:40

definitely, we’re going to revisit that one. Because I really do I really do hope that prediction comes true. Speaking of cocktail parties with CPAs, and lawyers, you kind of set me up for the next question. Now, I have heard and I’ve heard this was at a conference that I heard this and it was pre COVID. So you know that some of the big four have actually partnered with law firms in certain circumstances to handle large matters together since the client work with both of them. So is this something that you’re planning on doing? And, you know, what advice would you give firms to better recognize this opportunity?

Mark Ross  33:16

I’ll jump in, Hey, emmalin. So, you know, again, I think Bob touched on this earlier, we collaborate with law firms on a daily basis, and ensuring that our clients and their clients receive a comprehensive end to end suite of solutions. You know, as Bob mentioned, we do not provide legal advice here in the US. And it’s only really through collaboration coordination with our law firm partners that we can provide that service that is greater than the sum of its constituent parts, and that we’re able to both scale and expand the volume of opportunities for both Deloitte and our clients. So it truly is proactive collaborative constituents in an ever changing and evolving legal ecosystem.

Bob Taylor  34:19

Yeah, and I would add, that there was recently a publication from the center on the legal profession and their publication called the practice. They examined kind of law firms viewpoint on kind of the big four coming into the marketplace. And it was really an interesting read around that some law firms have just completely ignored, you know, the situation and it said it doesn’t affect their business model. others see it on the other extreme, that they feel that this is really going to be a significant issue and that they’re starting to adjust and they’re developing as Mark mentioned earlier, their own internal kind of alternative legal service providers. And others are kind of playing this wait and see, my personal view on this is that I would rather see more collaboration and coordination between legal business services like Deloitte and law firms, I think ultimately the winner becomes the client. And that respect. And so that’s what I expect over time, I think, to kind of just resist and ignore is probably not the best strategy. But, you know, look, everybody has to do what they think is right for their own business model. But I ultimately think if the client is being put first, that coordination makes the most sense.

Valerie Dickerson  35:33

So as they am aware, I collaborate with myself all the time.

Marlene Gebauer  35:39

All right, best answer right there.

Valerie Dickerson  35:42

That being said, I do think there’s a long history of collaboration between law firms and in Big Four, certainly the tax base around controversy. Absolutely. around me and advisors on tax issues, have absolutely seen it on the advisory side of the house, or what we call advisory, certainly, our discovery abilities, teaming with with law firms. So the President is there. And I think we would welcome ways to do that. And services, and

Greg Lambert  36:11

probably should have asked this question before I asked you to pull out your crystal ball. But and, Mark, I think you touched on this right at the beginning of the interview, and that was, you know, we’re looking at what types of new roles and are going to be developed in the legal operations area? And where do you see the growth? I know you talked a lot about data analytics and things like that. But you know, what kind of backgrounds and skills are people that are coming in into your department? Are you going to be wanting them to have is and are you going to be looking at law students in law schools to develop this or other schools? Are you going to be looking for other seasoned professionals like Bob to come in and do do the work? What’s what what do you see as far as the talent?

Mark Ross  37:06

Well, I’ll reinforce my opening salvo so to speak. It is all about the talent. Right now, we are competing for talent, both with access to internal and external resources, with alternative legal services providers. And that talent crosses a multitude of skill sets, disciplines profession. So the short and sweet answer to your question is yes, yes, yes. And yes. We’re looking for individuals who have the been there done that capabilities from the world of in house legal operations, process improvement, data science, knowledge engineers, solution architects, of course, legally trained professionals, as well. But if I think across the wealth of skill sets that we leverage in the delivery, not only today of the legal business services that we provide to our clients, but looking into the crystal ball, where we will be in the next five to 10 years, legal qualifications and legal training is but one of a multitude of skill sets that we need to have in our arsenal of skill sets… Bob, do you see what I did there… to bring to our clients?

Bob Taylor  38:42

He’s always tweaking me on the Spurs thing with the reference to the Gunners. I don’t know why he did that. But what can you do? You know, just to build on what Mark’s saying about talent, I adopted agree with everything Mark said, of course, but I would also say, you know, on a base level, right? We need people that are comfortable being uncomfortable, we need folks that can operate with less than perfect information. And that can be able to move forward and understand how to be lifelong learners. You know, there’s a lot of folks that want to establish themselves and experts in their field and just kind of stay within their lane. That’s good. And those people are very useful and will certainly be needed into the future. But those folks that are willing to kind of have and I think you guys have heard this before, kind of T shaped skills, right? That you’re very deep in one particular aspect in terms of experience very broad, and your understanding about many disciplines around in the business of law is going to be very important. And I would just also just end with saying, you know, truthfully, and what I’ve seen thus far at Deloitte, quite honestly, is a lot of people that have a significant skill around GSD, meaning that they just Get Stuff Done. I think that’s the attitude that people bring to this role at Deloitte, you get really smart people that understand how to move things forward and close gaps between a client strategy and execution. That’s what I’ve seen. And that’s what that’s the kind of talent that we need.

Greg Lambert  40:18

And Bob did that without us having to put the explicit label on the podcast this week.

Bob Taylor  40:24

That’s right. I want to keep that I want to keep this show PG.

Marlene Gebauer  40:31

I think, you know, we just did the the GPD, which is Get the Podcast Done. So Bob, congratulations on the move over to Deloitte. And thanks to both Mark Ross and Valerie Dickerson, for joining us today to talk more about Deloitte legal business services. Thank you all.

Mark Ross  40:48

Thank you.

Bob Taylor  40:48

Thank you.

Valerie Dickerson  40:48

Thank you.

Greg Lambert  40:53

Well, it’s good to have Bob back on having 25 years under your belt at one place, and then going on, he looks like he’s got some high energy ready to ready to take on his new role there at Deloitte.

Marlene Gebauer  41:08

Yeah, I mean, he mentioned that, you know, he’s been a client. So it’s, you know, it’s kind of I think they’re going to gain a lot, you know, from from him in terms of that type of internal knowledge. So that’s great. Yeah,

Greg Lambert  41:21

it’s a great, great perspective to bring that in. I’m seeing some of that happening in law firms now where they’re bringing clients GCS from clients in and that’s, that’s a nice reversal. Right?

Marlene Gebauer  41:34

It used to be the other way.

Greg Lambert  41:36

Well, and that’s, you know, and that’s one of the things in reading, leading up into this interview, is, what was really interesting was in the late 90s, early 2000s, when the Big Five were around and in legal, they were trying to mimic law firms. And now you’re seeing law firms trying to mimic the Big Four, as far as a holistic service to the to the client. So it’s a it’s really interesting, and I think Bob gives Mark and Valerie some good insights on on what works and you know, what, what are what are the things that keep the GCs up at night?

Marlene Gebauer  42:14

That’s right. That’s right. And you know, I just love the focus, again, on sort of holistic client knowledge and client service. So you’re looking at the client, not in just one capacity, but as a whole. And, you know, I think he understands that that’s what clients, that’s what client wants, and, you know, they have the scale to do it.

Greg Lambert  42:37

Yeah. And Valerie said something, which was, we know, our clients business, we know their business. And that’s something that it’s been kind of funny, because you and I and our competitive intelligence and our know your client, exactly, business have been preaching this to our peers for two decades, that you got to know your client, you got to know them inside and out, know what their pain points are, and be able to deliver services, not just on the immediate need, but on on the overall need. So yeah, and I mean, it’s great that we’re finally pulling that together,

Marlene Gebauer  43:13

you couple that with sort of the analytics and kind of understanding, you know, what the legal risks are, whether it’s, you know, changes in regulations, whether it’s, you know, potential litigation risks, and so you couple that complete understanding with the legal understanding. And I mean, you know, you’re just, you’re just on fire.

Greg Lambert  43:33

Well, thanks to Bob Taylor, for coming back on. I think this was his third time, at least. And Mark Ross and Valerie Dickerson for joining us from Deloitte.

Marlene Gebauer  43:44

Yeah, thank you. Thank you all. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show, or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm or at @glambert. Or you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thanks, Jerry.

Greg Lambert  44:18

Yeah, thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene, I will talk with you later.

Marlene Gebauer  44:22

Okay, bye bye.