Soundbites

25 Legal Podcasts I Listen To

Over the weekend my attention was drawn to a post by Lauren Lee on Simple Legal titled ‘The 20 Best Legal Podcasts to Listen to in 2020‘. Lauren’s list is pretty comprehensive, if not a little US-based. Anyhow, it got me to thinking what podcasts I listen to here in Australia.

So here’s my list (in no order of preference – other than how they have been listed in my Podcasts app):

  1. In Seclusion with Greg Lambert
  2. Ditching Hourly with Jonathan Stark
  3. The Thought Leadership Project with Jay Harrington & Tom Nixon
  4. Doing Law Differently with Lucy Dickens
  5. The Law Firm Marketing Minute with Marc Cerniglia and Daniel Decker
  6. The Legal Ops Podcast with Alex Rosenrauch and Elliot Leibu
  7. Reinventing Professionals with Ari Kaplan
  8. Impact Pricing with Mark Stiving
  9. Law Next with Robert Ambrogi
  10. Legal Speak by Law.com
  11. The Kennedy-Mighell Report with Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell
  12. The Soul of Enterprise with Ron Baker and Ed Kless
  13. Size 10 1/2 Boots CoffeeCast with Doug Mcpherson
  14. Duct Tape Marketing with John Jantsch
  15. Lawyerist Podcast with  Sam Glover, Aaron Street, and Stephanie Everet
  16. Pricing is Positioning with Paul Klein
  17. Accounting Influencers withRob Brown
  18. The Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast with Clarissa J Rayward
  19. The Geek in Review with Greg Lambert & Marlene Gebauer
  20. The Legal Toolkit with Scott Wallingford and Aaron Pierce
  21. Innovating Leadership with Maureen Metcalf
  22. PSM: Professional Services Marketing with Josh Miles and David Lecours
  23. The Legalpreneurs Sandbox with Centre for Legal Innovation
  24. Beyond Billables with Michael Bromley
  25. LMA Podcast

Some other industry related podcasts I listen to include:

Those of you who subscribe to my weekly digest will have seen last week that I’m now also subscribed to a few industry related YouTube feeds that are also worth keeping an eye on.

Anyhow, most of the podcasts in my list run from 30 minutes to an hour long. I’d suggest listening to them on your morning walk while we are in lock-down or on your commute once we return to normality.

And if you have any podcasts you listen to that you think I should be listing to, let me know!

rws_01

Survey: Is the perception of value geographic?

Page 7 of April’s Briefing Magazine has a couple of interesting charts on how:

2019 was a mixed bag of business for US firms operating in the UK, with headcount growth hitting utilisation and billing rates requiring attention

As someone who is fascinated in the ‘pricing’ (not costing) of professional services, it was the “billing rates requiring attention” part that caught my attention.

billing realisation rates

The chart above, as titled, is billing realisation rates for US law firms in both the US and the UK.

So: why do two different offices of the same firm have such different realisation rates just because of the Atlantic Ocean?

After all, you would assume the clients are largely the same. You’d also assume the work types are largely the same. You’d probably be okay thinking the leveraging is largely the same. You may even reasonable expect the person reviewing the bill in Finance is the same. And, you may reasonably expect the hourly rate in London to be lower than that in New York for all said lawyers.

So why is it that realisation rates are roughly 5% higher in the US than in the UK? Especially when you’d think it would be the other way round.

And what does this mean more globally? Where would Asia, Africa, and South America fit on this scale?

More importantly, does this say that the perception of value is geographic?

I have my thoughts/views, but as always interested in yours.

rws_01

My sole 2020 prediction

Business Development image

I once wrote a long blog post predicting what would happen in the year ahead (‘10 things that could happen in the Australian legal market in 2013‘). It was a train-wreck (many of these ‘future’ looking predictions we are still waiting to see 7 years later!) and I promised I would never do it again.

But I recently listened to a podcast about the role of AI and the future of “back office support” (a term I prefer to call Allied Professionals) [hint: we are all doomed to automation] in the legal industry that has promoted me to break my 7 year rule and make this bold prediction:

More allied professional jobs (Secretaries, HR, Marketing, Business Development, Finance etc) will be lost in the next 5 years to both on and off-shore outsourcing than will be lost to IA and innovation.

Now remember that my track-record is rubbish; so always interested to hear your thoughts/views/feedback.

rws_01

Is your law firm selling dirt?

Earlier today I heard a wonderful exchange between Mark Stiving and Reed Holden (of Pricing with Confidence fame) on Mark’s Impact Pricing podacst

I’ve lifted the following [short] transcript, of part of their conversation, straight from Mark’s website (with all credit to Mark)

Reed Holden: It would be fair to say that dirt is a commodity. Yeah. What David did is he went out and had a conversation with the customer. So David asked a couple of questions. He said you know, what do you really need from us? And he goes, well, Geez, you know, we spent a lot of time waiting for you guys to fill up the trucks. Well, why is that important as well? Because it’s costing me a hundred bucks an hour to get through your facility. Well, how would it be valuable? Who cut it in half? So sure it would save me 45 bucks an hour, 45 bucks an hour, a 16-ton truck works out to about 253 bucks a ton. And what they did is they implemented a, what I’ll call a flanking gate strategy and when you want it to the quarries that were two gates. At gate B, there was a line of trucks. At gate a, there was no line of trucks and there was a d five dozer sitting in there ready to load up the trucks. And so a sales guy would go in and have a conversation with, you know, a cement contractor or an asphalt contractor who were the primary customers. Think about it. Cement and asphalt contractors all have to bid in order to win the business. So it’s a very price-oriented business and the sales guy would go in. Then the contract will say how much, how much is your dirt today? And the sales guy would say it’s gonna cost you 11 bucks a ton. And the guy would come in said, well you have a competitor in here at 10 50 the sales coach, oh are we can meet 10 50 in fact we can meet 10 25 but you have to go through gate B and the quarry and the contracts, what’s gate B? It just not services fast. And the contract will quickly calculate that they would save money by paying a little bit more for the dirt. And you know it’s, we use it as, I mean we’ve extended that to professional services. In fact, we’ve done a lot of global work and extremely high-value professional services and both consulting and financial, the legal business. But you know, the commodity story tells it all because it, if it works in commodity, I guarantee you it works in the high-value stuff. But hit it with a simple conversation.

to which Mark replies:

Mark Stiving: Dirt. You’d think we’re selling dirt. But in truth, we’re not selling dirt. We’re selling a solution to a problem which includes using the truck as efficiently as possible as we’re delivering dirt to our customers.

So my question to you is this: ‘Is your law firm selling dirt, and if it is, what’s your solution that goes with it?’

As always, interested in your thoughts/views/feedback, but whatever you do listen to the whole episode here.

rws_01

Are law firm structures moving from ‘pyramids’ to ‘rockets’?

The graph below, from slide 19 of the latest Investec ‘LegalTech & NewLaw update’ (April 2019), caught my attention last week:

rockets

Until reading Investec‘s report I had heard of law firms moving away from the ‘pyramid structure’ to both ‘inverse pyramid structures’ and ‘diamond structures‘ post the GFC in 2008, I had also read/heard of Peter Connor’s excellent ‘The T-shaped In-house Lawyer™’, but I had never heard of a ‘rocket‘ structure.

And you know what, I like it. Well worth some further thought.

Your thoughts – have you seen something like this before?

rws_01

‘Alternative’ – but to what?

For an industry that claims to make its livelihood on the definition, use and interpretation of words, in my opinion the legal industry has become rather lax in our use of the word ‘alternative’.

Big claim. So what do I mean by this?

Well, let’s look at the word ‘alternative’:- post GFC we hear the term ‘alternative’ almost daily in respect of ‘alternative fee arrangements’ (AFAS); and, ever increasingly, we now hear ‘alternative’ in respect of ‘alternative legal service providers’.

But how often do we ask – ‘alternative to what’?

Are we talking about ‘alternative’ to what we already have and do?

Because if that’s the case then we are not being true to our esprit de corps, namely ‘words have meaning’.

i.e. there is nothing ‘alternative’ in the term ‘alternative fee arrangements’. There are merely hourly rates, fixed fees and some sort of risk sharing arrangement fee agreement. In short, fee agreements.

And, as Heather Suttie eloquently put in her post today, there are no “alternative” legal service providers. There are just legal service providers (some of which, surprise surprise, serve different clientele).

But that’s just my take – as always, would be interested in your thoughts, views, feedback.

rws_01
ps: the only thing I would add to Heather’s post is Pangea3 – 2004

Is there a ‘Customer Value Gap’ in legal services?

Earlier today I read a wonderful post by Tom Spencer: “Is AI the Solution for the Banking Sector? (Part I: Problems)“.

In his post, completely unrelated to legal – and yet oh so legal sector related, Tom states that in response to changing client buying-cycles/decisions, banks worldwide are making large investments in digital technology and analytics in order to:

  • deliver a better experience,
  • reduce costs,
  • deepen and broaden existing client relationships,
  • extend their distribution reach, and
  • protect relationships against traditional and new competitors.

[kind of sound like the perfect CRM software!]

Two additional questions Tom then asks (with undertone inference added by me) are:

  • How much value are solutions delivering to customers?
  • How could new value be created?

rws_01

Podcast: In conversation with Ian Mountford – some thoughts on how well law firms use Social Media

I was fortunate enough to have recently been invited by Ian Mountford, of Fit for Social, to join him in a  general discussion on our mutual thoughts around how well #Auslaw firms are doing with their use of social media as a business development tool.

Chat lasts about half and hour and can be heard here.

For those of you who listen, hope you enjoy it.

As usual, feel free to let me know whether you agree or disagree with my views.

rws_01

Defining success…

The latest Bellwether report from LexisNexis (The Art of Success: Why Independent Law Firms are Thriving) was published earlier this week.

As always, the Report is an interesting read (and I look forward to the next two publications later this year), but what caught my attention in this particular Report was the following definition of “success“:

Defining success

Most independent law firms see success as a trinity of three important elements:

  1. the quality of their expertise,

  2. solid commercial logic,

  3. commitment to treating staff and clients with respect.

Going on to say:

Being a ‘good’ lawyer isn’t just about knowing your law or being a skilled craftsman. It’s about understanding how to apply the law to serve your client’s business and personal needs. It’s also about exercising common sense. Having excellent people skills is as important as being commercially savvy.

Hands up, I have to say I wholly agree with all of the above (but I would add a few others).

But, “Most independent law firms see success” – I doubt that’s completely accurate, at least from an Australian law firm perspective.

My experience has been that most Australian law firms, independent or not, see success as a financial metric. And it doesn’t really matter how you reach that financial metric.

But wouldn’t it be a wonderful step in the right direction if we all printed out and used the above definition of success…

rws_01

Does your firm have a forward thinking client acquisition strategy?

Last week I read the following paragraph over on BTI Consulting’s The MadClientist page:

Clients’ overarching needs don’t change every day. But, they do change every 18 to 24 months—like clockwork. The law firms who really want the business will be in dialogue with their clients about their plans for the year, will have in-depth and pointed client feedback, will be planning for the next year with their clients, and hopefully have helped on-board clients’ attorneys over the last 3 years.

and it made me wonder – how many firms looking to acquire (as opposed to just retain) clients have such a forward thinking strategy?

Not many would be my guess.

rws_01