Agenda

June 4, 2020

9:00AM

Opening Remarks Conference Chairperson

 Tom Jones, CEO/Founder, Iridium Technology

9:15AM

KEYNOTE: Resilience in a High Performing Culture

While it can seem like an oxymoron, the increasing attention towards well-being in the legal industry is not at odds with profitability. Law firm leaders and rainmakers increase their performance and sustainability when they cultivate resilience skills that improve well-being. In this keynote session, we will discuss the six domains of resilience and ways to apply them in our professional lives and within the teams we lead.  

Renee Branson, Principal, RB Consulting 

10:0AM
BREAK

10:15AM

Aligning Culture with Compensation, and Vice Versa

The financial success of a law firm is indicated by production, revenues, and profits. The cultural success of a law firm is indicated by a stable workforce, workplace flexibility, and an "all for one" mentality. Too often these objectives are treated as mutually exclusive: For a law firm to be financially successful, lawyers and business professionals must make choices that diminish their quality of life. Law firms can also foster behavior wholly inconsistent with cultural values, so long as those exhibiting aberrant behavior make substantial contributions to the firm's financial success. However, leaders of successful businesses know that creating intentional alignment between an organization's incentives and values will generate greater long-term returns. In this session we will discuss how to reconcile the seemingly disparate objectives of a productive and happy culture with financial success. This is a discussion centered on the economics of well-being, designed for leaders who were trained to believe that financial success requires cultural sacrifice. 

Timothy B. Corcoran, Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC 

11:00AM
BREAK

11:15AM

PANEL DISCUSSION: Dimensions of Modern Law Firm Profitability

This panel discussion will explore dimensions of profitability for law firms today and tomorrow.  Profitability can be broken out into various important areas: models, analytics, culture, firm strategy, education & training, and overall performance.  Most firms today are in transition, moving away from revenue-based models towards contribution-oriented systems, those that reward not just fees but also financial and strategic contributions.  That has implications for traditional firm operational principles such as compensation, performance measures, client strategies, talent strategies, innovation, and structural change. Firms today are having to reinvent themselves for the future while performing in the present.  These panelists will share their ideas around these change dynamics, profitability and overall firm performance. 

Tom Van Der Moere, Chief Financial Officer, Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Keith Maziarek, Director of Pricing and LPM, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 

Courtney Landon, Chief Operating Officer, Lathrop GPM LLP

Moderator: Mark Medice, Principal, LawVision 

12:15AM
LUNCH

12:45pm

Panel Discussion: What do the Expert Consultants Think About Your Profitability Implementation?

Each of our panelists has been working with law firms for over twenty years to help the law firms improve their profitability. In this discussion attendees will hear from the experts about how you can better manage your profitability reporting, managing partner expectations, and best practices for profitability calculations. We will also cover key recommendations to assure a successful profitability rollout as well as the biggest mistakes that you want to avoid.

 

Moderator: Tom Jones, CEO & Founder Iridium Technology

Aileen Leventon, Senior Advisor LegalShift

Jeff Schwarz, CEO Concata

Robert Kamins, Principal & Founder Vertex Advisors

Emily Hartwig, Senior Profitability Consultant, Iridium Technology

1:45PM
BREAK

2:00PM

How to Facilitate Law Firm Adoption of a New Tech System

As law firm leaders, you are aware of new strategies, processes and/or legal tech systems that could provide you with better data and improve your law firm’s performance.   What do you do when these changes are dependent upon lawyers buying into the change?  How as a law firm leader do you drive the change to get lawyers to use a new legal tech system?  We will discuss key legal consulting strategies and tactics used to facilitate lawyer adoption of new technology that were successfully used in law firms and corporate law departments.

Colleen Scimeca, Sr. Product Strategist, Legal, Thomson Reuters

2:45PM
BREAK

3:00PM

Show Me the Math: The Importance of Cost Estimates in the New Legal Marketplace

Corporate clients are increasingly focused on fiscal prudence, cost controls and containment with their approved panel of firms. Cost estimates offer clients one of the mechanisms by which they are looking to control their costs and more importantly gain visibility into how law firms price their legal work. "Show me the Math" has become the mantra of lot of legal departments who are demanding that their firms bring greater transparency to the negotiation table. They want to see what is behind the curtain. Not only do clients want to see the math, but they also want assurances that firms will honor those arrangements - no excuses and no surprises. In this session, attendees will learn how a top Canadian Bank has approached the utilization of cost estimates with its panel of firms, how it is leveraging legal ops and begun to educate in-house counsel on the business of law, how it expects law firms to tackle assumptions and variances and how it monitors and tracks the success of law firm cost estimates. And finally, we will discuss the importance of communication, defining scope and the consequences when things go wrong. 

 

Richard Brzakala, Director, Global External Legal Services, CIBC Legal Department, Canada

3:45PM

Closing Remarks Conference Chairperson

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder, Iridium Technology

June 5, 2020

9:00AM

Opening Remarks Conference Chairperson

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder, Iridium Technology 

9:15AM

KEYNOTE: How Diversity Can Make Your Firm More Profitable – Get Going Now!

  • Client frustrations and expectations 
  • Loss of talent, both diverse and otherwise 
  • Diversity of perspective 
  • Generations in the workplace 
  • Hiring pitfalls 
  • Hiring is not the same as retaining engaged teams 
  • Creative ways to work and workplace culture 
  • Data collection and analysis 
  • Diversity as a set of processes that need improvement 
  • Q&A at close of session  

Audrey Rubin J.D., President, Rubin Solutions, Former Vice President & COO, Aon Corporation, Global Law and Compliance Dept. 

10:00AM
BREAK

10:15AM

PANEL DISCUSSION: How to Underpin Profitability Using Key Firmwide Processes 

  • How to identify which profitability-related processes are most important. 
  • The data (needed to support efficient profitability and pricing analysis), and how to move beyond relying on spreadsheets 
  • Best practices and ways to incorporate firmwide profitability data analysis processes in your firm 

Natasha M. Edlow, Director, Strategic Pricing & Project Management, Covington & Burling LLP

Eugenia Frenzel, Esq., Director of Pricing & Practice Management Economics, Perkins Coie LLP

Timothy Tyler, Chief Financial Officer, Husch Blackwell 

Moderator: Julie Savarino, Chief Client Experience, Value & Development Officer, Business Development Inc.  

11:00AM
BREAK

11:15AM

Legal Technology, Automation and Productized Services

The proliferation of new legal technologies on the market has created new opportunities to automate and productize legal services.  With these new opportunities come new challenges ranging from pricing structures that blend both automation and human work product, to the practical implications of adapting existing financial systems for this changing environment.  This session will explore pricing options that incentivize both law firms and client to keep innovating and finding efficiencies, incorporating automation into compensation structures, and how to blend-together product and service profitability models.   

 

Andrea Alliston, Partner, Knowledge Management, Stikeman Elliott LLP

12:00PM
LUNCH BREAK

12:30PM 

Cost Accounting Profitability Analysis (A Case Study) 

Procopio has been using detailed cost accounting models to profitability for the last six years. In this case study, Jim Perkins will provide an overview of (a) the good, bad and ugly of using this analysis to improve client, matter, partner and attorney profitability levels; (b) how in conjunction with other project management tools such as legal lean sigma and AI it has increased the profitability of transactional matters; (c) how it used in partner compensation and (d) pitfalls to watch for.       

James G. Perkins, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP 

1:15PM
BREAK

1:30PM

An Example of a Nuanced Profitability Model in a Closed Partner Compensation System

Kyle Day, CFO for Snell & Wilmer, a Phoenix-based law firm with 450 attorneys, will present how their firm implemented their profitability model in a closed-compensation system.  This profitability model does not use a notional salary for partners, making the question “how profitable is client A compared to client B?” difficult to answer when the mix of partners and non-partners performing the work is variable.  Kyle will discuss how his firm utilizes “Net Income Per Partner Hour” as the defining metric for comparative client/matter profitability, instead of “profit margin”.  The model also uses an accrual-basis profitability analysis when analyzing client/matter profitability, and a cash-basis profitability analysis for compensation committee reporting.  He will present actual profitability reports for Billing Attorneys, Working Attorneys, Practice Groups, Clients, Matters, all viewed under the cash or accrual scenarios and pros/cons of each. Participation and questions are welcome. 

Kyle Day, Chief Financial Officer, Snell & Wilmer 

2:15PM
BREAK
2:30PM
Knowledge Is Power… and Profit (in 3 parts)

Profitability at the conclusion of the fiscal year or the conclusion of an individual matter starts with identifying and engaging the right opportunities. Not all prospective clients or matters are created equal. The key to spotting the most promising (i.e., potentially profitable) opportunities is leveraging the data that you already have. We will examine three mini-case studies that speak to pricing strategy, evaluating pursuits and targeting clients and how to leverage data to make smart choices.

 

Kate Cain, Director, Director of Innovation and Design, Foundation Software Group

 

3:15PM

Closing Remarks Conference Chairperson

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder, Iridium Technology