The Transformation Toolbox: Creating a Sustainable Client Experience

Toby Brown, Chief Practice Management Officer at Perkins Coie, did an amazing job presenting the keynote speech at Iridium’s (Re)Union user conference last month. Toby’s presentation full of solid advice and it set the tone beautifully for the entire event. Here is a summary of Toby’s key points.

In the current age of legal service delivery, the best innovative solutions are the ones that lower legal costs the most. In-house counsel are putting pressure on firms to develop cost saving measures quickly while also feeding their inclination to make decisions from historical data. The good news is that there are more ways than ever to lower the cost of legal service regardless of how your organization bills, while also assuring quality. At the end of the day, lawyers know that client service is the most important factor for overall profitability, so giving clients a reason to work with your firm repeatedly is key. Here are four of the legal industry’s most valuable tools for delivering top notch customer experiences.

  1. Creative staffing models – While many law firms use staff attorneys, creating actual tracks for them to grow, even if they will never be partners, is a mutually beneficial arrangement. For staff, the prospect might help them find a specialty in which they excel with the opportunity for growth and more responsibility in the future. For the firm, a more agile personnel deployment can help extract value from certain matter phases or practice areas that clients would not want to spend a partner-tracked attorney’s billable hour on. It also incentivizes regular contributors to continue working with the firm, which provides benefits in terms of consistency and quality of work.
  2. Legal project management – LPM has been something of a buzzword in the legal tech community for many years. However, moving past all the hype, one underrated area legal project managers have been proven to deliver value is in scoping matters. When addressing larger and more complicated matters, understanding scope can help lawyers produce more accurate budgets. This leads to better adherence to outside counsel guidelines, fewer discounts and write-offs, and ultimately greater realization at scale. LPM isn’t the shiniest or sexiest tool in the box but having conversations about scope is one of the most effective ways to assess inefficiencies for firms and realize hard savings for clients.
  3. Practice innovation as a matter of improving processes – It is important to remember that innovation in legal processes does not only come from technological advancement.  Often it also comes from process improvement. Determining how your firm or practice area can improve workflows in just one or a couple specific areas can help to ensure the work stays within scope and on budget.
  4. Partnering – Working with alternative legal service providers on your matters can help your firm lower costs substantially, keeping clients satisfied. Mixing up your staffing model can also help your firm figure out which lower maintenance tasks can be done with outsourced personnel, which can, in turn, help your firm keep menial or unbillable work off partners’ desks.

These four tools are not the only ones that you firm can use to improve client service delivery, but they are a good start. The outcome of using them is consistency, and improved consistency in service leads to improved customer experiences overall. It is also critical to remember that, when it comes to improving delivery of legal services, innovation does not necessarily mean spending on shiny technology and a colossal amount of change management. Often it just takes a little extra planning and proper assessment of scope.

A recording of Toby Brown’s keynote address is available at Or, if you’d like to learn more about the tools that can provide the intelligence to help you transform your legal services delivery model, please contact us here.

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