09 February 2015 at 09:52 BST

Law firms should mirror their clients on costs

Law firms still have a way to go when servicing their clients, according to The GC Excellence Report 2015.

The quest for value is at the heart of GC Excellence docstockmedia

Law firms were making more effort to understand business needs and communicate better with their clients but  private practice is still falling down on a wide range of areas, according to this year's GC Excellence report. Many firms are still lagging behind on  offering better deals on fees, helping clients reduce costs by supplying outsourcing options and using technology to improve the way they deliver services, according to the report, carried out by The Global Legal Post in association with TerraLex.

Value

Value was one of the themes throughout the research. Visa Europe senior corporate legal adviser Bruce MacMillan stresses the GC’s role in getting the best value for money. ‘Your colleagues won’t trust you to advise them about their department if they don’t think you can run your own very well. Part of that, for a GC, is about picking the right selection of external advisers. It’s also essential that GCs are on top of their budgets and that they make sure what they are getting represents good value.'

Mirror the clients

According to Pavel Klimov, general counsel, EMEA, Unisys, law firms must look beyond their historic processes and develop costs models similar to those of their customers. ‘That would be of great value to in-house legal departments,’ he argues. ‘To be able easily to translate external legal costs into the same units that our internal customers – chief financial officers, chief operating officers– demand us to do. It would be much more predictable with a transparent structure that adds to the commercial proposition of the business.’

Expanding roles

Commenting on the study, Harry Trueheart, Chairman and CEO, TerraLex and Chairman Emeritus, Nixon Peabody said that it illustrated that the responsibilities of the General Counsel were expanding to include 'director, risk manager and advisor, regulatory compliance responsibilities and the leadership of legal departments with accountability for costs and outcomes that contribute to the success of their organisations. These roles are well beyond the traditional role as working professionals who give advice, do deals and resolve disputes, The survey results suggest that there is considerable opportunity for law firms to better understand how they can help General Counsel fulfil these expanded responsibilities.' 

For information on the report, contact benmartin@globalcitymedia.com.

 
   
 
 
 

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