What Happens in Vegas… Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas

With hundreds of high quality sessions and record breaking attendance, this year’s ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) conference was a success. With four days of back to back sessions plus the social outings it is hard to retain everything you learned and remember everyone you met. After being out of the office for that long all of the inspiration and insight can quickly be lost once getting back in to the routine of your day to day tasks. The question becomes how do you retain what you learned and keep the conversations going with the new friends you have made?

Here are my top three suggestions post-conference to make the conference last more than the week you were in Las Vegas:

Keeping the Fire Alive
While at the conference I become so emerged into the new technologies, insightful case studies, and the innovative ideas I feel like I could come back to the office and change the world. What really happens, unfortunately, is I come back Monday overwhelmed trying to get through the 100s of emails and making sure my projects are still on track. To keep the innovation and passion post conference I will take the following Friday and block off time to go through my conference notes. I know if I try and do this earlier in the week my heart won’t be in it as I am really thinking about all of the day to day stuff I need to get done.

With my coffee in hand, I go through and create a list of the things that really stuck out to me. The list should be no more than 20 items. These are the items you want to build into your plan or goals. Then start to add them one by one to your routine or into your plan for the year. Monthly, review the list and add additional items as you are able to check others off. This makes the list accomplishable and showcases that the conference really did have an impact on the business. This also helps to justify your attendance the next year as you were able to take what you learned and integrate it into your work.

Continued Education
The content and education doesn’t stop just because the conference ends. Attend your local ILTA Post-Conference Recap event and share your inspirations and insights with attendees and non-attendees from your area. This also helps to spark things you might have already forgotten. To keep up with current discussions and education post conference, schedule time once a week to read review conference materials, read the blogs, and check out the news feeds.

A Friendship Doesn’t End Just Because You Go Homes
With the sheer number of attendees and my outgoing nature, I tend to meet a lot of people at a tradeshow. During a show I will write notes about the person on the business card themselves. These are both business and personal items such as “struggles with analytical reporting” to “wants me to come out to NYC for their birthday.” After the show I will go back through my cards prioritizing them. I do this based on the business, the projects I am working on, and the personal connections that were made.

After prioritizing the cards I select 10 people from a show to write a handwritten card to. You would be amazed at the impact a handwritten card v. email can have. Then based on the prioritization, I will block off an hour once a week until all cards have been entered to complete the following as appropriate:

  1. I input the contact information and notes into my Contacts. I enter what we talked about and something personal to help me better remember the person. I have also created segmentation in my Contacts and will sort them accordingly. For me this is things like service providers, mentors/industry leaders, leads, etc.
  2. Connect. I will connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, and depending on level of friendship and trust Facebook.
  3. Lastly, I will create a calendar reminder three months out with a list of the top contacts to check-in with. It could be something personal or a simple hello but keeping that point of contact throughout the year helps to maintain the relationship and build a better connection.

This year’s conference was a huge success and it was great to meet so many new people, I can’t wait for next year in Nashville! In the meantime if you have other ideas on how to keep the conference alive or best practices you use please feel free to share them, we look forward to hearing from you!

2013 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey

Last week during the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference the 2013 Technology Purchasing Survey results were revealed. The 2013 survey added responses from the ILTA member firms with 1-49 attorneys (referred to as Under50) in addition to the 50+ attorneys (referred to as the Over50). There were 223 unique responses including 60% from ILTA member law firms with more than 50 attorneys.Number of attorneys

48% of all respondents (including 56% of Over50 firms) spend 2-4% of total firm revenue on technology, compared to 25% who spend 5% of revenue or more.Respondents

The ‘sweet spot’ for per attorney technology spend, $8K-17K, accounts for 43% while 18% of respondents indicated a per attorney technology spend of more than $17K+. 60% of all Under50 respondents spend less than $8,000 per attorney on technology compared to only 26% of Over50 firms.Sweet Spots

43% of Under50 firms indicated their budgets remained the same and 39% cited budget increases versus 2012. However, budget realities were not as rosy for Over50 firms; 24% indicated having decreased budgets versus 15% in 2012. 45% of Over50 firms (7% less than in 2012) cited budget increases.Budget

The 2013 Survey also includes comprehensive breakout of past and future technology purchases and implementations; legal technology budget and purchasing influence questions; updated information on participants’ social media, publication and blog preferences; and an in-depth analysis of mobility trends including tablet usage and governance, firm app policies, and insight into how IT will deal with big data.

>>> Read the full 2013 Survey
>>> Follow the InsideLegal blog for snippets from the survey

Defining & Delivering Value

Yesterday during the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference, we had the opportunity to attend the Defining and Delivering Value session. The session focused on a law firm client’s perspective of value. The key themes explored were: defining value, differentiating value, communicating value, and measuring value. Below is a summary:

What is a cynic but a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892)

Defining Value
McKinsey Insights defines value as “The real essence of value revolves around the tradeoff between the benefits a customer receives… and the price he or she pays for it.”

Value = Benefits – Costs

Value based pricing is a clear and concise statement of the tangible and intangible results a customer gets from using your products or services that clearly differentiates you offer from the competitors. The three essential components are to:

  • Resonate. Clients must have a need for your service(s)
  • Substantiate. Clients must BELIEVE you can deliver
  • Differentiate. Clients must understand how you are different

Differentiating Value
Differentiate your value and your value proposition by completing the following:

  • Listen and fact-find: Who is/are your audience(s), and what are their needs?
  • Segment: Differentiate on a firm, practice/industry, and attorney level
  • Develop Options: Differentiate between options you create
  • Paths to Differentiation: Expert/reputation, trusted advisor
  • Stories: Tell stories that reinforce the differentiation

Communicating Value
Communicate your value through:

  • Differentiation
  • Branding (“walking the walk”)
  • Working from the same script (consistency)
  • Learn the client’s internal incentives and deliver

Measuring Value
Value can be consistently measured by delivering value in pricing and client relationships:

  • It’s not just about fees
  • Find your “bright spots”
  • How do you like your latte (know your clients)
  • Build a good tool box

That which is measured improves. Make sure to collect data analytics and create metrics to measure value creating the tools to move from cost-plus pricing to value pricing. Value can be a challenging concept for some and that is what differentiates successful firms. By delivering efficiency at low-cost, performance metrics, budget alignments and AFA arrangements, as well as “what if” scenarios firms will be able to meet the corporate legal department’s perspective of value.

A big thank you to the session panelists; the content was fantastic and laid the foundation for what a law firm places on value.

  • Delilah Flaum; Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Doug Woods; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
  • John Ferko; Miles Stockbridge, P.C
  • John Thompson; Purdue Pharma LP
  • Patrick Johansen; Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
  • Stuart Dodds; Baker & McKenzie