Dan Bressler, head of Intapp marketing and the Risk Roundtable initiative, discusses the changing dynamics of client-law firm relationships with Casey Flaherty. Flaherty, who made headlines as in-house counsel at Kia motors with his provocative assertions about law firm and lawyer efficiency, shares his perspective on how clients and firms can work better together to achieve greater mutual success.
(Note: We're actively looking for interesting stories and perspectives to share. If you or your firm would like to participate in this series, please get it touch.)
Direct Download Link: In Conversation: Changing Client-Law Firm Dynamics
An important part of this dynamic is the fundamental question about trust — on both sides. Do clients trust their law firms? And do firms trust their clients? It’s such a critical element of these organizational relationships.
Absolutely. Do you trust your outside lawyers? Yes. What do you trust them on? Again, it comes back to their expertise, their industry knowledge. You also trust them on that. You do trust that they have your best interest at heart. But do you trust them as project managers? Do you trust them as technologists? Do you trust the staff they are delegating work to? That’s where the trust starts to fray.
Legal work has become much more labor intensive — and there’s the labor that can be done by human beings or machines — and the more emphasis there is on the labor side of the equation, the less trust you have. I do think that there has been a fraying of the trust between client and counsel.
Again, it has nothing to do with them being bad lawyers, or not being smart, hardworking, or honest. It’s almost too much to expect a lawyer to be a great lawyer, and a great project manager, and a great technologist, and a great everything. That’s where clients need to be more proactive in their monitoring. And I think it’s an area where clients could be doing a much better job.