This week we talk with Factor’s Ed Sohn and Michael Callier on the consulting for in-house legal teams through what they describe as New Law companies. New Law is who corporate legal counsel reach out to in order to streamline their operations and find ways of integrating themselves into the overall mission of the corporation, rather than just the department which mitigates legal and business risks. Sohn and Callier stress that New Law companies are not a threat to established law firms, but rather a partner who can help firms differentiate themselves from their peers by allowing for the consultation to clients for alternative legal strategies.
Ed Sohn on Barriers to Adoption in Law
Process adoption, or its failure oftentimes rests with people. It actually rests with social learning. it actually rests with how do you celebrate and story tell and create a culture that’s conducive to the adoption of technology and innovation. 
Michael Callier on Change Management in the Legal Industry
To be honest, it’s not that people fear change, it’s that people fear the loss associated with change. We change every day. We change clothes. We eat different things. We go to different places that we’ve never been before. So it’s not it’s not fear of change, it’s fear of the loss associated with change. And so in particular, with the legal industry.

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Information Inspirations
Jean O’Grady helps bring Thomson Reuters’ abandonment of 24/7 Research Attorney Help Desk from her Dewey B. Strategic Blog, as well as her discussion on Bob Ambrogi’s Legal Journalists Roundtable.
Mergers are hot!
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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
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Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Marlene Gebauer  0:13

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

Greg Lambert  0:20

And I’m Greg Lambert. Marlene, on this week’s show, we talked with factors Ed Sohn and Michael Callier. And their take on the needs of in house legal teams to call on outside counsel as well as the expertise of what they define as new law consultants like factor to help them not just respond to business risk, but to better position themselves to avoid these risks way before they become legal issues. You know, there there were a couple of things on this that I didn’t realize until we actually started talking with with Ed and Michael. And and first of all, was that I didn’t realize that Factor had spun out of Axiom yet. And we just had axioms David Pierce on last week. So kind of a nice coincidence there. And secondly, I completely forgot that Ed Sohn and I worked at King and Spalding at the same time. So

Marlene Gebauer  1:10

it was a long time ago, right? Yeah.

Greg Lambert  1:15

It just shows you know that the legal industry, especially the legal tech, and legal upside, man, it’s a small world.

Marlene Gebauer  1:21

So stick around for our interview with Ed and Michael. But now let’s get to this week’s information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  1:33

Marlene, mine is just a little dated, but I thought it was interesting enough to talk about as my inspiration this week, of course, that was the Thomson Reuters a really bad idea to cut their Westlaw attorney Help Desk, down to essentially business hours every day, Monday through Friday, and do away with the with the value 24/7 services, that’s it’s been a hallmark of their customer relationships as at least as long as I can remember. So Jean O’Grady posted a blog post  on her on her Dewey B. Strategic blog. And, boy, the word got out. And it costs a little bit of a backlash in the law library. And

Marlene Gebauer  2:14

yeah, I was when when it first came out. I was like, Oh, my gosh, I mean, do I need to like how am I going to position this to to the attorney population?

Greg Lambert  2:22

Yeah, yeah, me, you, you, me and about 4000 other law librarians. So, you know, after a few days of grumbling from the legal information professionals on Twitter and other social media platforms, TR reversed its decision and is now reinstating the 24/7. Services beginning I believe next week. So, you know, I do want to say that I am actually hearing, there’s some other issues coming out to both inside and outside of TR. And that is, you know, more changes in the way that you can see probably a reduction in trainers, and a reduction in sales staff. And in fact, one source told me that the plan seems to be to create an online portal for clients to use instead of salespeople. And, and the person I was talking to was, was saying that, that they’re going to find it very interesting to see the reaction when law firms and others are negotiating seven figure contracts, and are just told, hey, just just go to this website and sign back up for it and not have a person to talk to.

Marlene Gebauer  3:32

Yeah, I mean, you know, I have these experiences with websites outside of law, where, you know, there’s, you just can’t get a person and, you know, there’s, there’s, it’s always a question where, you know, it’s not sort of a common thing that is just sort of answered, you know, by the chat bot or whatever. And you just can’t get anybody on the phone or anything, and it’s just so so frustrating. And, you know, again, I mean, I would I would hate to see this, this happen, particularly since West’s customer service is, in terms of their their attorneys staff is has been really good. I will take a devil’s advocate position on this. Because, you know, I don’t really know what the data says, you know, in terms of a reduction of service. I don’t know if people are calling all hours of the night and or if they really are calling mostly within business hours. Because you know, if that were the case, that would make sense. Now, knowing what I know about attorney work habits, my guess is probably not I’m sure that that that span of time would need to be extended. But I don’t know if they have a significant number of people calling it like four in the morning. But that would be something like share that be transparent about that. So that we understand the decision that being made.

Greg Lambert  4:58

Well, and I think probably in this is anecdotal, but I would say when they do need it, it’s super important. So

Marlene Gebauer  5:07

they’re calling you at four in the morning? Yes. Yeah, it’s generally really important.

Greg Lambert  5:10

Well, and the other thing and keep an eye on this is I know that some of the new head people at Thomson Reuters are coming out of Silicon Valley out of tech companies. And so I think they’re, they’re going to have an idea of how to have tech be the replacement for people. So I think, you know, people need to stay vigilant and watch if that’s if that’s important to you to call them on it just like we did for the 24/7 service. And one of the things you know, Jean O’Grady was she was on Bob Ambrogi’s Friday afternoon legal tech roundtable. And she talks a little bit more about that. So you can check that out as well.

Marlene Gebauer  5:55

Absolutely. So I’m going to talk about hot acquisition news. So Aderant has acquired American Legal Net, and yeah, this is interesting, because ALN is a litigation workflow solution, focusing on docketing. And forms and Aderant is, of course, a billing solution. So this seems to be a very good marriage, I could see how the workflow technology can work hand in hand with billing, hopefully, without a whole lot of work for employees and attorneys. And the other acquisition I was going to highlight is that BarBri has acquired West Academic. This also seems like a good marriage, as both entities are long standing players in the legal education market. West Academic will remain in St. Paul and BarBri is in Dallas. And, you know, I wonder what that saying about, you know, the Thomson Reuters strategy regarding legal education. You know, while they’re divesting West Academic, you know, which focuses on books and treatises and study guides, you know, which let’s face it are not the moneymakers for for TR. You know, it seems that there still may be close ties.

Greg Lambert  7:07

Yeah, it looks like we both kind of picked on TR a little bit.

Marlene Gebauer  7:11

I’m just commenting.

Greg Lambert  7:14

Alright, well, that is this week’s information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  7:22

Today’s guests walk us through the Legal Services of what they call New Law. These are consultants who advise companies on the processes the technology and the innovations that can help reduce legal risk for the company and improve overall workflows and find better ways to streamline in house legal departments operations so that they align with the overall business goals of the company.

Marlene Gebauer  7:46

We’d like to welcome Ed Sohn, Senior Vice President and head of solutions and Michael Callier, Head of Legal Solutions and Consulting at FACTOR. Welcome to The Geek in Review. Thanks, Marlene.

Ed Sohn  7:55

Great to be here.

Michael Callier  7:56

Thank you, Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer  7:58

And Michael reached out because they had a topic that they wanted to talk to us about. And that’s why consultants at New Law providers instead of law firms should be leaned on as trusted advisors for today’s general counsel to do better at their jobs. And in Michael think issues at the intersection of business and law are presenting more than ever, and that new law consultants are best equipped to offer sage advice. We’ll delve into that in a minute. But first, Ed and Michael, tell us a bit about factor and how you got there?

Ed Sohn  8:25

Sure, I’m happy to start out a factor is a leader in legal managed services, providing contracting and really primarily transactional services to many of the world’s leading organizations and companies. The business is over 10 years old, but the company is just about two years old. We existed inside of a larger company known as Axiom for many years, and after a series of transactions had completed, Factor came into existence at the beginning of 2020. They’re really focused on a legal managed services strategy, you know, full time, almost entirely permanent and entirely, almost entirely lawyers. The vast majority of people are lawyers, serving our clients from around the world in transforming and creating this great blend of business expertise, market know how, acumen, together with some of the virtues of new long companies like process and technology and innovation. You know, were over 600 people around the world sitting in offices in Chicago, Belfast and Poland. I came into factor about a year and a half ago or so, after a career as a lawyer as a managed services leader as a product manager as technologist and a variety of organizations, you know, King and Spalding, Thomson, Reuters, EY, and joined Factor as the head of product and solutions, really overseeing the design of what we put into the market. The ways that we solve problems for our clients, and then also influencing the way that we deliver those solutions, and really configuring them so that they are a win win for the client. And for factor. It’s a really exciting time to be in this company. And it’s we’re just seeing tremendous growth, tremendous reinforcement from demand signals in the market. And really, most importantly, sort of a real focus on relationships with our clients, putting our clients and their needs and our people that we know, at clients, really at the center of everything that we do, but also really starting to take shape is a strategy to really focus on our people, and to invest into them in ways that we think many others are not. So it’s just an exciting time to be here. This is why I joined Factor. And we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Greg Lambert  10:44

Michael D leaving thing out?

Michael Callier  10:46

Well, I suppose I’ll introduce myself, Hello, Michael Callier, I lead Factor’s consulting and solutions, architecture teams. And at a very high level, the consulting function is designed to bring, you know, the best of factor managed services, primarily around contract and in compliance to our clients, legal departments, and ultimately optimizing their legal operations. And, you know, you all know, as well, if not better than I do, that legal operations is still fairly nascent. You know, it’s kind of niche, although absolutely necessary, and I hope we get into, get into that a little bit. I’d love to share, you know, some of the pain points that we hear from clients on a regular basis and how that fits so intimately again, with the concept of legal operations.

Greg Lambert  11:41

You say that, Well, typically the general counsel’s turn to law firms for advice, you know, circumstances now call for them to turn to what you’re referring to as the new law consultants. So can you help kind of define what you mean by new law consultants, and why GCs are making that switch now?

Michael Callier  12:03

So I had the consulting group, but I love how Ed explains this a bit. So Ed, why don’t you throw throw a few lines out there, and I’ll dive in and supplement?

Ed Sohn  12:12

Yeah, so you know, at the end of the day, we help clients perceive their own needs, that’s really what it comes down to. And so that’s a very different thing, then, when outside counsel are, you know, have historically been turned to for advice, and that advice is sort of in a legal advisory bucket, you know, the kind of sacred relationship between attorney and client, the provision of legal advice in a, you know, in a way that’s regulated by the Rules of Professional Conduct and responsibility, and, you know, so like, there’s all of that, that is really turning to a legal expert around, you know, a very sticky situation, and kind of the Council of legal advice. The advisory consulting type of, you know, world that we live in bridges between, not really so much in a legal advisory capacity, because we’re not in the practice law. We’re not sort of representing people as attorneys and clients, but really, from a position of legal domain and legal knowledge, implementing consulting and advisory techniques. And so those are the types of things that help our clients perceive their own needs, right? Because there’s a, there’s a lot of business judgment in running a legal function, a legal function as a business function inside of an organization, that there’s a lot of data and information that’s required to make decisions operationally, and from a strategic perspective, and a lot of times that subject matter knowledge is is really required, but also what’s required is, you know, organizational knowledge and operational savvy and demands and a picture of an operating model and, you know, a root cause analysis that says, the things that you’re responding to, from your position as lawyers are more symptomatic than they are, you know, causal. And so the kind of deployment of consulting techniques with a strong familiarity of, you know, legal domain, and know how, as well as a huge backdrop of the body of work that new law companies are engaged in, which is very, very focused on changing the means of production in some of those legal sort of services and, you know, aimed at efficiencies and standardization and, and that entire sort of environment that we’re immersed in, that pulls together really powerful vectors that I think are a different proposition than what outside counsel provide

Greg Lambert  14:40

Let me let me follow up on that one a little bit. What do you think are some of the obstacles that a traditional law firm has that you’re seeing the the new law operations overcome?

Ed Sohn  14:56

Most law firms, especially kind of in the history of practice of law and the relationship between outside counsel in house counsel, what we’re seeing from outside counsel, you know, it can be sort of observed from the business of law. You see outside counsel, law firm rates going up, you see, practices becoming increasingly specialized, you see, law firms strategizing to really double and triple down on their strength. And all of that is good. All of that’s great, actually, a lot of the data that we’ve seen, show that a lot of clients are actually interested in the higher billing rate timekeepers at law firms, because that usually is indicative of experience and advice. And it’s sort of there’s this notion that law firms really are being consulted for their highest and best value. And so I think that makes a ton of sense. But some of that value, doesn’t translate into making really good business strategic decisions, or implementing, you know, a roadmap over process and technology improvements, or, you know, just understanding that intersection of business and legal, really working side by side and going deep in with empathy into internal clients, and data on performance, which is a really, you know, outside counsel don’t have a ton of problems around getting data around their performance, because they’re all timekeepers. And so they build time, and they track their activities and all that. But when you go in house, it’s a complete different ballgame. And so the types of things that that new law, consultants can weigh in on, because we really bridge that gap between sort of traditional law and the kind of in house function and, and kind of new law, ALSP type services, we can provide a lot more insight, you know, and the easiest way to kind of put this without using fancy words is, sometimes I’ll go into a client, and you know, an AGC or legal Ops Head will kind of look at me and be like, you know, here’s the problem I’ve got, and we’ll talk about it. And we’ll bat around all the different angles, and we’ll think about the processes and the workflows, and how can we map this bit better? And where can we do some streamlining and efficiency? And like, do you really need to get an approval from such and such person with such and such seniority for, you know, a contract that’s less than $5 million? It’s like, we love to geek out about it. And then sometimes that that client persona will turn to me and say, Well, how do you guys do this? How do you handle this at your company and your shop? I was like, Well, you know, we do it for all these reasons. And we have these SLAs. And so and he’s like, I just assume that the way you’re doing it is probably better than the way we’re doing it. Because you’re doing this type of workload for all of our, you know, all of our peers across the industry for a whole critical mass of clients. And so you’ve got insight into how this works at scale that I don’t have, I’ve got the workloads and the clients and personas that I deal with. And so that’s the best way to describe that, like you wouldn’t turn outside counsel with that question, right. And so I think we’re really uniquely positioned to kind of differentiate in that way.

Michael Callier  17:49

And here’s, if I can, how I would supplement, getting at that, that question. So I’ve been in legal for 20 years or so, and started out as a traditional lawyer. And as a matter of fact, I started working in the legal industry as an undergrad student. Because I’ve known I wanted to be I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was 13. And so as I evolved as a professional, and went through the various stages of professional training as a lawyer from, you know, formal education to the informal education that we receive in a traditional law firm setting, it became very, very clear to me and even more so now, you know, the primary focus of legal education is subject matter expertise, less in the delivery of that expertise, although, obviously, the delivery has to occur. But in terms of optimizing that delivery, and capturing and efficiencies. And then, you know, the only way that we can capture efficiency is ultimately to measure the delivery mechanism, through, you know, service level agreements, or key performance indicators, whatever it is, there’s a data component, there’s an information component, there’s a system component, that is not a part of our education. It’s not a part of the service delivery model traditionally, for legal, and it hasn’t been, it hasn’t had to be it wasn’t required clients didn’t require that of us. And even now, when you look at, you know, when I talked to a CEO, so when I was I had General Counsel responsibilities for a billion dollar or $3 billion company, for the better part of a year, in the last couple of years. And I talked to the CEO about the, you know, what he expects from the legal function. It is primarily risk mitigation from a market standpoint, from a PR standpoint, from a litigation and product liability standpoint. And that’s what he pays for when he thinks about funding his legal department. Now at the same time, As a part of our consulting function, we constantly assess problem statements from our clients, where’s the pain point, and what’s the root cause of those, those the pain that you’re feeling? I have not once heard from that group of practitioners, that the problem that they’re dealing with is an inability to, you know, reach the right contracting positions, or, you know, an ineffective negotiation from a subject matter standpoint, they didn’t get the deal points that they were looking for. And you probably wouldn’t hear those complaints from those folks, because they’ve had years and years of training to get there to reach that optimum result. But the pain points that I hear all related to operations, I can’t find stuff. When someone asks me to do something, they don’t provide all the information that I need to do it. I spend as much time searching for the information that I need to do my job as I spend doing my job, which is primarily associated with, you know, in our context, contract negotiation and compliance work. And so when we marry those two, you know, the idea of the vital importance of subject matter expertise, but with information, levels of information and data increasing every day, the importance of being able to slice through and sift through the noise, to get to the information that we need, in order to deliver that subject matter expertise in a way that in particular, in a commercial context, keeps up with the pace of business, that’s a different skill set and a different muscle entirely. And so what I found is, with ALSPs, for example, fat the Factors, you know, of the world, the business model itself is designed to deliver legal services, but we are bound and you know, and have expectation similar to a business unit, or, you know, much different than a law firm where, you know, there is a margin component, for example, there’s a profitability component, there are KPIs and SLAs, and so on, that have to be sort of measured, managed, so that we can continuously improve.

Marlene Gebauer  22:21

So it sounds like, you know, both you’re saying, you know, it doesn’t have to be either or, I mean, you know, GCs can rely on both new law consultants and outside councils to solve problems. Do you have any examples that you can share of, of Factor actually sort of working in conjunction like that?

Michael Callier  22:42

Absolutely. So, you know, Ed, I know you have one as well, we have a legal transactions management function, or product that factor but, you know, if I can describe multiple instances where managing the legal ecosystem is absolutely necessary. And that’s what really what we promote for a client. There are, you know, the legal ecosystem is made up of law firms, you know, ALSPs, internal resources, so the internal staff in any particular legal department, and then the tools that we have to deliver services, technology, process, data, information, and so on. And so our take is ultimately, one of the best things that we can do for clients is help them to assess and understand and properly leverage their entire legal ecosystem. For example, we’re, we’re helping a client ultimately optimize their clinical trial agreement, operating environment, this is for a pharmaceutical company, and they work in oncology. And so their ability to get from clinical trial to market with these particular drugs, literally has life changing impact. So the faster we can get to market faster we can get through clinical trials, the faster we can help folks stay alive, very important. The way that we’re deploying because this is a global organization requires localized expertise and multiple jurisdictions around the world. Now, that expertise is so niche, in some instances, you have to partner with local counsel in those in those environments. And so we’ll set up an machine ultimately, to develop playbooks and templates and other artifacts necessary to optimize clinical trials, clinical trial contracting, but that also requires that we partner with local counsel, capture that expertise and ultimately inject it into those artifacts and into our clients operating environment so that we can get to the right answer for them faster and globally. So that partnership is necessary. We invite it actually, I don’t feel at all competition, in the sense that, you know, it’s ALSPs, or law firms, I think for, you know, sort of the betterment of our clients really putting them first and has to be a ALSPs and law firms.

Greg Lambert  25:13

To me, Michael, it almost sounded like it was kind of a consulting on operations and almost knowledge management when it comes to like, you know, having targeted subject matter expertise in in the operation of the process. Is that a fair comment on that?

Michael Callier  25:36

For that particular use case? Yes. But our overall framework for consultant includes the entire operating models with targeted operating model from intake to appropriate triage and delegation to doing the work and doing it in a sort of a sustainable, structured way, escalations, execution, you know, outputs, storage, all that.

Greg Lambert  26:02

Ed, we’ve talked a lot here on this show about kind of the approaches that we need to, for lawyers to have to handle the work that they do. We’ve talked about the T shaped lawyers where they know a lot about a number, or they know a little about a lot of things. And then they’re real subject matter experts in one or two things. And then we also talked about delta shape lawyer, which is, which is that plus the the personality that you know, the, on how they handle the human side of interacting with with other people. And then we’ve also talked about the explosion of innovation programs at law schools, and some some of the other things that are out there that are helping attorneys kind of know more about the business side of the law. From what you’ve seen, how well equipped are lawyers, in dealing with the or at least the ones you’ve dealt with in dealing with innovation programs? And whether they are, you know, these these new law consultants or outside counsel? How do you see them dealing with these challenges?

Ed Sohn  27:16

So a couple things first, you know, I think that those programs, I think that the t shirt law or the Delta lawyer, I’m familiar with both of those kind of frameworks and models, and I think they’re good, I think it’s great to get that into legal education. I think that, you know, legal education from, you know, 10-15 years ago, when I was coming out of law school, was pretty different, didn’t necessarily include a lot of those concepts or theories, didn’t put a lot of emphasis in terms of how lawyers might be able to really serve their businesses as kind of well rounded business professionals. And I think that that’s crucial. For since I’ve ever started practicing, I’ve heard every GC go on stage and talk about how they need to understand the business better, how in house counsel have to enable business, not just flag risk, and everyone nods their head up and down and agrees to that mandate, however, you need to have kind of the schema or the knowledge, or the baseline or the foundations to be able to do that, you know, Jason Barnwell is a good friend. And he talks oftentimes about the value of a corporate finance course, you know, and how much that absolutely changes the way a lawyer can operate. What we’ve seen is that the practice of law that usually starts with a large law firm, or some kind of outside counsel job as a testing or improving ground prioritizes lawyers that can specialize in legal judgment and legal reasoning. And I think that that’s tremendous if your life is going to be spent in a law firm, when people like that when that talent sort of transitions into serving the business in a more rounded manner. There are definitely some transition pains. And what actually ends up happening is that the talent starts to dictate the shape of the function. And so what you’ve seen, you know, post 2008, with a massive increase in the headcount in the ranks of in house counsel, in house legal departments, is that you start to see the formation of a captive law firm, basically. And so it’s sort of like, Well, who do you have? Well, I have a woman that does Labor Employment, that she’s over there. What’s her workload? How she attack it, how she best? Well, she’s really good. Yeah. You know, she’s a really good Labor Employment. Oh, yeah, of course she is. But like, how is that you know, how they fit into the operating model of the business? Has that align with your needs the clients well, and what about your other needs? Well, I’m an antitrust lawyer over there and say, Okay, that’s like, that’s your antitrust guy. Like, okay, so how do these things how do those people and their competencies start to inform how a legal function might be able to be shaped in a way that better serves the business, right? It’s not just about deciding to do it. It’s not just an act of volition. It’s actually a matter of skills that needs to be present, frameworks and a foundation of knowledge that enables lawyers to do that. I think that we’re starting to see the tide turn. I think we’re also seeing People who are not lawyers bridging that gap. I think that, you know, teaching innovation and having a broader base of cross disciplinary competences being taught in law, law school and legal education will help bridge that gap. I think the advent of legal operations will help bridge that gap. And I think that new law has a has a role to play, and it has a seat at the table, and consulting inside of a new law environment has a really important role to play to accelerate how we bridge that gap.

Marlene Gebauer  30:29

So switching gears for a second, you know, what are some of the issues that your clients present to you when they’re looking for advice? And how do you address them? I know, you mentioned operations before, but you know, within operations, you know, are there common themes like, you know, technology, technology solutions? Or security issues? You know, or or is it more about people?

Ed Sohn  30:55

To answer your question, we believe that the number one problem is usually related to people and experience and adoption, right? These are the types of things that really take center stage, it’s not a technology, it’s not just a process, there’s always better that we can do there. But I think that, you know, the industry almost over rotated towards technology and process where it’s like, oh, you know, today, every, every lawyer is an artiston that does their own thing. It’s all very bespoke. And what we need to do is just process map it more, you know, like, what we need to do is like, enable them with better technology. And like that is for sure, it’s true, like, don’t get me wrong, like that my entire career has been in advocacy around, you know, more standardization, better workflow, documenting process, but it’s to a purpose. It’s so that you can diagnose you know, what’s happening across the organization, understand the dynamics of the systems that are in place. And usually behind that, technology success or failure rests oftentimes with people, not with technology, right? Process adoption, or failure oftentimes rests with people, it actually rests with social learning, it actually rests with how do you celebrate and story tell and create a culture that’s conducive to the adoption of technology and innovation? We believe and, you know, I know Michael agrees with this, we believe that this is absolutely the opportunity for most organizations. Many legal firms have actually invested into technology with significant budget, many organizations have invested into illegal operations, but you know, person, or staff or team, and those are all steps in the right direction. But the connective tissue that makes that work, that really lowers and dismantles the barriers to adoption, is by taking a hard look at the social dynamics and at the people and having empathy and understanding how they’re incentivized and how they’re aligned in which way they’re facing. And this is why I’m so excited that Michaels without organization is because he’s just a totally, you know, a she feel like a master at these things. And so that’s, that’s really what we think is a value that we have to offer. And we turn those lenses in to ourselves as well, like new law providers also have this weird reputation of being able to discharge workloads of low complexity that are highly scale that can be standardized, and, you know, industrialized and stamped out in a certain way. And we’ve kind of taught the industry how to think that way. But the truth is, our value gets really unlocked when our people bring those processes and bring those workloads to life, and exercise judgment and can handle variants. And, you know, when we unlock human potential, that’s really where we when we get to where we want to get to with our clients, and that that rule also applies to our clients. That’s that’s sort of our hypotheses.

Greg Lambert  33:40

So Michael, are, are the clients that you’re dealing with, are you hearing from them individually? About their about situations that are just unique to their to their own individual problems? Or are you seeing since we talked about this earlier, how you you kind of can look at these things on scale, and you’re dealing with their peer institutions? Are you seeing themes that that are emerging on on the issues that they’re addressing? And then on the flip side of that, when you’re coming up with solutions, are you having to come up with individual solutions for each client? Or are you finding that there’s some generalities that that everyone kind of needs right now?

Michael Callier  34:25

It’s a great question. And I have to say that there’s some both. So clients, you know, invite us to resolve problems that they assume we have previously resolved. And so I think their expectation is that we’ve seen it before. We’ve done it before. We’ve done well, and we can do it well for them. And so there’s always going to be some measure of, you know, previously deployed, vetted techniques, capabilities that we bring to bear for our client. Whether they’re in legal operations specifically or in subject matter, expertise, the unique component of every client, you know, sort of following on Ed’s point, it’s it’s the people. Now, there are obviously elements of people interaction, that can be generalized. For example, people fear change. And to be honest, it’s not that people fear change, it’s that people fear the loss associated with change, we change every day, we change clothes, we eat different things, we go to different places sometimes that we’ve never been before. So it’s not it’s not fear of change, it’s fear of the loss associated with change. And so in particular, with the legal industry, because, you know, there is sort of a way of doing things. And in large part, and I’m preaching to the choir here, I think with you, too, at law firms, in particular, it is someone’s experience, seniority, tenure, doing those things, oftentimes, and in this in the same way that really determines your bill rate, your level of social capital within the firm, and the expectation in terms of the value that you can deliver to both internal and external clients. And so change, I don’t think that’s really a thing in legal that we are specifically trained to focus on resolving. It’s more of precedent, what worked before, we need to do more of that in our current environment. And you may have heard this acronym VUCA. It’s something that the US military uses to define our current environment, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, you know, that requires a different mindset, not looking back to the past as much as looking forward to the future. And so when clients call us and they ask, can you help us transform? Can you help us digitize? Can you help us optimize the change that both clients have to sort of address, deploy and overcome, and some of the fear of loss associated with it becomes something real and tangible and the way that it shows up. It’s ultimately unique for each client, although they’re similar elements. And you can find categories, post merger integration, that is a different animal than, you know, a company on a hockey stick growth curve that wants to keep up with once their legal department to keep up with that growth.

Michael Callier  34:55

Ed you’re the co author of the AltLegal column with Joe Borstein, where you cover emerging trends and alternative legal services. Since we’re at the beginning of the year, what are your predictions for alternative legal services and the legal landscape in general?

Ed Sohn  38:06

So my predictions for alternate legal services is, you know, these predictions always come out as like, we’re gonna continue to see this, we’ll continue to see that. Yeah. And that’s true. And that we will continue to see like, we’re not seeing structural barriers or pivots or the next S curve, that will kind of displace a lot of the motion that’s in place, which is, you know, moving to broader adoption across alternative legal services, moving to a variety of use cases across alternative legal services, providing more empowerment and consulting with, you know, new law providers that have, you know, very specific vantage points into the way things happen across an industry and across, you know, peers of certain types of legal workloads. And so that will all continue, I think that the thing that we’re going to start to really see is collaboration with law firms, I think you all have, you know, kind of guided the discussion around kind of contrasting outside counsel and new law. And, and that’s very much where the discussion takes place. But we’re also orienting ourselves to collaborate really well with law firms. And we see all of our corporate clients, our mutual corporate clients, together with law firms asking for this, you know, we see general counsel going on the record saying, we did an RFP for outside counsel, and there were seven respondents, and not one of them mentioned their alternate legal strategy, you know, and if any one of them had, they would have been differentiated among the offerings, they would have really sought a lot of alignment and gained a lot of empathy together with the client. And we want to help law firms do that we are not on a mission to sort of bring down law firms not at all the law firms are heading towards the direction that is a great compliment in terms of high level complex legal advice that goes to client that goes to the corporate world in so many ways that it’s needed. But where we think we can collaborate together is to provide that scale and that flexibility and that process expertise and an environment that’s conducive to the adoption of innovation and process and technology and empathy with our corporate clients that can really work together in conjunction with law firms. And we’ve done this in the history of Factor. And I think we’re going to start to see a lot more of this in the year to come.

Marlene Gebauer  40:09

Well, we’ll end on that note, we’d like to say thanks to Ed Sohn and Michael Callier from factor.

Ed Sohn  40:17

Thanks, guys. Bye.

Greg Lambert  40:20

Marlene, I don’t think you could tell after I did the edits on this, but we had a couple of technical issues that we just never seen before. And and that was that, while Ed could hear us he couldn’t hear Michael. So it really made for an interesting discussion, because we basically have to summarize what it was that Michael, it said, so the Ed could stay up with the conversation. So, but I’m here to tell you just shows once again, Marlene, that I have super audio editing. Indeed,

Marlene Gebauer  40:50

indeed, you do. We bow before you. You know, there was something that Michael hit on regarding lawyers and change. And it’s something that that, you know, I believed for years, and it’s that, you know, lawyers really aren’t big anti change people like, you know, they’ve been described as, as in a lot of the legal media. You know, Michael mentioned, it isn’t the change itself that people fear, but the loss associated with the change that they fear, the fact that we change behaviors and try new things every day was was a really good point. You know, it’s the volatility, the uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity are the VUCA as the military leadership coin, that’s unique. And that’s one of the things the new law companies seem to address.

Greg Lambert  41:39

You know, on a separate note, and, you know, the idea that many lawyers are Luddites, I recently heard, I think it may have been on on Matt Coatney’s podcast, a similar argument in that, you know, lawyers actually have amazing technology that they use, and that they’re pretty quick to adopt things.

Marlene Gebauer  42:01

They like that stuff.

Greg Lambert  42:02

They like that stuff. It’s iPhones, it’s smart TVs, it’s, you look in a lot of garages of attorneys, and there’s a Tesla sitting there. And I, I know I have at least one attorney here at my firm, who has, you know, all the solar panels and the Tesla batteries that power his house so that they will adopt technology when they see value in it, or it makes them look cool. See, a huge garage. But if you throw in a product, it’s that’s volatile, or it’s uncertain, or as complex, or there’s ambiguity around it, they will shy away from from that change in the technology. So I think

Marlene Gebauer  42:41

because this is this is their, their profession. This is their bread and butter, and so they want to make sure that that is protected.

Greg Lambert  42:49

Yeah, absolutely. So I again, I’m with you. That was a really interesting comment from Michael, on that particular issue.

Marlene Gebauer  42:57

So thank you, again, to Factors, Ed Sohn and Michael Callier for a really great conversation.

Greg Lambert  43:03

Yeah, good to have you both on.

Marlene Gebauer  43:06

And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. We need the love.

Greg Lambert  43:20

I don’t know about you, but I need the love.

Marlene Gebauer  43:24

I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,

Greg Lambert  43:27

and I can be reached at @glambert on Twitter.

Marlene Gebauer  43:31

Or you can always leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270 is always the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you Jerry.

Greg Lambert  43:43

Thanks Jerry. Alright Marlene, I’ll see you later.

Marlene Gebauer  43:47

Okay. bye.