Inaugural Legal Value Network/Blickstein Group Survey Identifies Opportunities for Better Alignment Between Law Firms and Corporate Clients

Areas showing the greatest potential for collaboration include:
Aligning on client objectives and expectations
Leveraging legal technology for better service delivery
Defining success metrics to demonstrate partner value

HOUSTON — February 8, 2021 — The Legal Value Network and Blickstein Group, in collaboration with Intapp, today released a report on key findings of the inaugural Survey of Legal Pricing and Project Management. The survey uniquely compares the perspectives of client-side legal department operations (LDOs) executives directly to responses from law firm pricing and legal project management professionals (LPPMs) on key topics in the legal services sector. No other legal industry survey provides these side-by-side observations. The findings revealed that the LPPM and LDO functions continue to grow and evolve, but highlights significant opportunity for the two groups to work better together.

“The growing influence of, and focus on, the operations functions within law firms and legal departments has created an opportunity for law firms and their clients to better align. Both groups seek tighter alignment on value expectations, service delivery, and cost efficiencies — all of which will require enhanced service models supported by data and technology to continue to drive innovation and improve the connections across the legal value chain,” says Christopher Kraft, General Manager of Operations & Finance Solutions at Intapp. “This survey, together with its insights, is an important tool to help the legal community improve value and efficiency.”

The data reveals that both LPPMs and their clients benefit from innovative service models,  leveraging technology to deliver legal services more efficiently and cost effectively. Both groups agree that alternative fee arrangements are more cost-efficient than hourly billing; however, this model requires more upfront planning and client collaboration, as well as the tools to deliver successfully with more cost-effective solutions.

“The future of the legal industry is closely tied to the success of LPPMs and LDO professionals, with both — 75% of LPPMs and 62% of LDO professionals — understanding that their jobs are primarily change management,” says Keith Maziarek, director of pricing and legal project management at Katten, and an officer and board member at Legal Value Network. “We look forward to tracking how successful this collaboration becomes in the future.”

The survey also surfaced significant areas of misalignment between LPPMs and LDOs.  

“LPPMs and LDOs showed stark differences in some fundamental areas where alignment is critical for productive relationships,” said David Cambria, who co-authored the study as well as the Annual Law Department Operations Survey from which the LDO data originates. “For example, although 94% of LPPMs say their firms make a strong effort to understand the problems their clients face, only 57% of law department operations professionals agree. It’s no surprise that firms and clients often struggle to work together, when even the professionals they hire to work with each other see their relationship so differently,” added Cambria, who has worked within both the LPPM and LDO function.

Exploring potential sources of this misalignment, the study revealed that although a majority of each group (74% of LPPMs and 61% of LDOs) says they effectively use data, the two groups are measuring very different things. Law firms measure revenue and other financial metrics, whereas corporate LDOs focus on service metrics, such as speed and productivity. In line with this divide, the survey also found that 73% of LPPMs say partners provide ample value per dollar, while only 40% of LDOs agree.

Similarly, although 83% of LPPMs say their firms are leveraging technology to deliver legal services more efficiently and cost effectively, only 52% of LDOs agree. However, both LPPMs and LDOs recognize the value of new technology in the marketplace, such as leveraging AI to predict future outcomes and events.

“As law department operations professionals work to professionalize their departments, their counterparts on pricing and legal project management teams within law firms react to those efforts, while themselves building programs to more effectively price and deliver legal services,” says Christopher Ende, chief value officer at Goulston & Storrs, and an officer and board member at Legal Value Network, who has served in both the LPPM and LDO roles. “We hope this survey provides insight into both groups’ perspectives and relationships, and provides a meaningful step toward greater collaboration.”

In addition to Intapp, the inaugural Survey of Legal Pricing and Project Management was underwritten by Thomson Reuters, LexFusion, Intelliteach, Legal Decoder, and Time by Ping. The survey report is available here.

About Legal Value Network
The Legal Value Network’s mission is to accelerate evolution in the legal industry. LVN connects business of law professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, alternative legal services companies, and technology providers who are focused on designing, building and implementing the foundations of a more contemporary and commercially-sound model of legal service delivery. The founders of LVN include Toby Brown, Michael Byrd, Stuart Dodds, Chris Ende, Justin Ergler, Kristina Lambright, Keith Maziarek and Purvi Sanghvi. These individuals joined forces in 2012 to help produce the Legal Marketing Association’s first-ever P3 Conference that attracted over 120 professionals from across the globe and started a movement that grew to include a vibrant, cross-functional gathering of over 450 professionals in 2019.

About Blickstein Group
The Blickstein Group has two missions: to help legal service providers better understand and serve their clients and to provide information about law departments and legal operations. It launched the Annual Law Department Operations Survey in 2008, when few law departments had legal ops, and has been part of the function’s enormous growth ever since. In addition to its consulting and managed service business, Blickstein Group’s research products also include National Law Journal Trailblazers (launched in 2013), The GDPR Reality Check (2017), The Annual Study of Effective Legal Spend Management (launched in 2017) and Legal Pricing and Project Management (launched in 2020).

About Intapp
Intapp powers connected firms. Trusted by more than 1,600 of the world’s top legal, investment banking, private capital, accounting, and consulting firms, Intapp offers end-to-end, cloud-based connected firm management software built for the unique needs of partner-led firms. Intapp helps enhance collaboration, unleash collective knowledge, transform decision-making, and fuel success. Our products and services span the entire engagement lifecycle — from strategy through origination and execution — to drive optimal outcomes. For more information, visit intapp.com and connect with us on Twitter (@Intapp) and LinkedIn.