Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Evolving Role of General Counsels in the Corporate Legal Department

The Evolving Role of General Counsels in the Corporate Legal Department

At the recent ACC Annual meeting, I noticed that the role of General Counsels (GCs) appears to be expanding after my team and I met several corporate GCs who seemed to be taking a new path. Each of the attorneys we spoke to had made a successful career for themselves in the legal world but were currently pursuing high-level business training. Also, a recent article featured the former GC for Chubb Corp who explained that “the GC has a critical obligation to find out how and where a company makes its money and where it might grow.” Why is there a recent emphasis on business education for established legal professionals? The shifting role of GCs seems to be directly tied to changes within corporations, how they are changing their view on legal departments, and what part GCs should play in the overall management of an organizations’ business processes.

Managing Dual Roles

Over the last several years, there’s been a definite shift in the way that corporate legal departments are viewed. With an increased emphasis on return on investment (ROI), companies want to know not just how well their in-house legal team is managing their legal activities, but also how their work is contributing to the well-being of the organization as a whole. In other words, legal departments are being asked to demonstrate how they improve the business. This can be a tough concept to quantify, which is why more and more GCs are recognizing the value of business training.

As the role of corporate legal departments evolves, so do the roles of GCs. Corporations are now demanding that their GC understands their business. As a leader within the organization, a GC is expected to attend business and board meetings, help to develop strategy, read the same targeted publications, and play an active role in the management of the business. As the role of GCs shifts from legal adviser to colleague and fellow business strategist, leaders of corporate legal departments are also recognizing the value of gaining a high level of business acumen. GCs have quite a bit of value to offer to the organization beyond legal advice. Their legal expertise, along with knowledge of their industry and corporation and how it operates, make them go-to business strategists that can help organizations manage risks and keep costs low. In this leadership position, they need to think strategically and bring both legal and business knowledge.

Demonstrating Value

Even GCs who are already taking an active role in the operations of their company’s business may still need to prove their department’s worth. This is due to organizations now pressing for greater proof of ROI from all units, including the legal department. GCs have been asked to thoroughly review their department and determine how well they manage risk, matters, legal spend, and their relationships with outside vendors and counsel.

This proof requires high-level reporting, which can be easily provided through access to relevant, accurate data. One of the reasons that LexisNexis CounselLink® focuses so intently on the quality of its analytics and the reporting is because we understand the type of information that corporate legal departments are looking for and why they need it. GCs not only need data; they need the right data and in a format that’s easily digestible. Great analytics has the power to demonstrate just how much of an impact corporate legal departments are making on overall business operations. When GCs provide this data, they prove their business acumen, solidifying the importance of their role within the organization.

As GC roles continue to evolve, LexisNexis CounselLink will remain at the forefront of change through innovation, developing the tools and systems that corporate legal departments and their GCs rely on to manage their department efficiently and prove its value to the organization. By providing dedicated support, maximum visibility, and interactive dashboards that let GCs gain immediate insight into the operations of their legal departments, we are helping legal leaders become business leaders.

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When it comes to communicating the value of a client relationship management (CRM) solution and sharing best practices for its implementation and usage, customers are a great resource for actionable insights.

More specifically, the individuals who use a CRM system regularly are the ones who tend to give the best assessments of value. While there is not a single approach that works best for all firms, customers tend to cite the implementation of certain best practices that consistently help them achieve CRM success and maximize its value to the firm. That’s why it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to the CRM experiences of similar firms when evaluating these systems.


There’s a lot of competition for new legal business, and having multiple versions of important contact data spread across various sources makes it difficult for a high-growth law firm to track, manage, and report consistent information across the firm.

To help build and maintain client relationships and trust, an Am Law 200 firm decided recently to implement a CRM solution to more reliably manage contact and relationship information. Having the right people, processes, and configuration in place was critical to their successful implementation.


The firm’s management understood that providing proper training would be critical to their marketing and business development success when using the CRM. To ensure firmwide adoption and optimize impact, every employee underwent comprehensive training. The emphasis on training enables employees to take advantage of all of the CRM solution’s capabilities so the firm can thrive and grow in a competitive legal environment.

The delivery of clean and consistent CRM data across the entire firm is enhanced through integrations with email marketing, time, billing, external website, news feeds, and other internal and third-party information sources. The CRM provides a wealth of accurate information without a manual administrative burden, freeing employees from having to collate and input data that resides in the firm’s other business systems.

The data integrations helped to ensure the success of the new CRM, leading to a higher level of confidence in the accuracy and value of the information. This enabled employees, from attorneys through the administrative staff, to embrace CRM usage and make the most of its functionality.

For example, in the past, if attorneys wanted to see the billing contact for a matter, they would email the accounting department and wait for a response. But because that information is now completely integrated into their CRM, an authorized user can easily and quickly locate the information without assistance. The invitation process for e-marketing or event planning has also been streamlined. Now it’s easy for attorneys to add contacts to an event list themselves rather than emailing the information to an administrative assistant and requesting that the list be updated.


Building standard CRM processes for the firm and measuring results were also important for the success of CRM at this Am Law 200 firm. For example, partners must complete an annual business plan that includes having client contact information entered in the CRM. This allows the firm to create tracking reports, which provide the marketing team visibility into who is being targeted, allowing the team to better coordinate the firm’s efforts.

In addition, the firm developed a scorecard that rates each attorney’s contacts on goals, such as whether or not the contacts are included in mailing lists. At the end of the year, these scorecards are included in yearly evaluations to encourage accountability across the firm.


That’s one firm’s CRM success story. Additional customer perspectives for powering a firm’s marketing and business development success with CRM are available at This site provides multiple customer perspectives and stories and is an excellent resource for learning the value of CRM and its best practices.

After all, when it comes to communicating about CRM solutions, customers always provide the best insights.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Better Data, Better Decisions


At the Legal Marketing Association Regional Conference, we gained some insight on effective collaboration between marketing and IT to advance strategic firm projects. A big part of marketing revolves around relationship-building, and technology is helping firms to better understand client needs.

Most firms already know that the marketing, business development, and IT teams need to play in the same sandbox. Some firms have even aligned these departments with the goal of building an effective firm strategy. They may have already worked together to create reports that show what’s happening with their clients, prospects, matters, and revenue.

Winning Through Predictive Analytics

Even though some dynamic firms have established cross-department collaborations, a critical few have had these internal partnerships in place for years with an eye on winning through predictive analytics. These Forward-Thinking Critical Few (FTCF) have leapfrogged into the upper-right quadrant of their strategic reporting to produce a what’s-next outlook for the firm.

This high-level predictive reporting might seem impossible for some firms, but it might be easier than you think. What are these firms doing really well and how do you get there?


The FTCF use technology to create the big data they need to win. Specifically, they have mastered the work of integrating their data so that it provides the answers to strategic questions. To start figuring out which data sets you can utilize to move your firm forward, ask yourself the following:

  • How well do you understand your top clients and what makes your relationships so strong? You can answer this question by integrating your time and billing system with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. This will help you to determine which efforts are producing the positive results that you are after and how you can tweak your approach to increase profits.
  • Do you know from which top industries the firms’ clients and prospects originate? By integrating your CRM with a commercial data source, like Dun & Bradstreet, you can gain valuable insight that will help you target your marketing efforts in a meaningful way.
  • Do you recognize who is most experienced to work on matters in a particular industry? When you integrate your experience database with your CRM system, you can make better talent matches and smarter business decisions.


These integrations can provide a wealth of information and provide valuable guidance for a successful strategic vision. Take this advice with a word of caution, however.

Build a Strong Vision with Reliable Data

Integrations are only as effective as the data that is being collected.

What is your most fundamentally accurate data source? How reliable is this data? Is the accuracy maintained so that it can remain your most trusted data source? We found that the most significant takeaway from the conference was “know your data.” When you can identify what data your firm needs most and where it comes from, you can make strong decisions and invest in its accuracy.

In other words, you can’t build a strong vision without deeply reliable data sources.

Better Data, Better Decisions posted first on

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

LexisNexis® Launches Authorized Hosting Provider Program with Uptime Legal Systems


LexisNexis® recently launched its Authorized Hosting Provider program with Uptime Legal Systems as our first hosting partner, and we couldn’t be more excited!

A positive customer experience is priority number-one for our team, so it was important for us to build an Authorized Hosting Provider program that Time Matters® and PCLaw® users could trust.

In a recent article on, Scott Wallingford, Vice President of LexisNexis and General Manager of Law Firm Software Solutions, spoke about the program and the importance of choosing the right provider to ensure customer data is secure and any data issues are handled quickly.

“When we think about bringing on a cloud provider, we are looking at people that have lots and lots of well-established market-grade capabilities. This is not two guys in a garage with a couple of servers,” Mr. Wallingford said.

LexisNexis has very strict requirements to become an Authorized Hosting Provider for our practice management products. LexisNexis will conduct extensive due diligence on potential hosting partners. Some of the areas we review include: data center details, dedicated support staff, customer support process, Microsoft licensing, server equipment, backups, and product certification.

There is a definite benefit to cloud-based legal software hosting, especially as firms are experiencing greater demands. While the ability to manage your firm anywhere, anytime can make life easier, if the hosting provider does not have the expertise and resources to manage legal software, it can be a headache to ditch an internal server. This is exactly why we chose Uptime Legal Systems as our first Authorized Hosting Provider.

“Sometimes, at law firms, the lawyer is also the IT specialist, and they would much rather spend time with their clients practicing law than they would having to struggle with server settings,” per Mr. Wallingford.

Because Uptime Practice, Uptime Legal Systems’ private cloud offering, is designed specifically for law firms, you’ll have access to the flexibility, storage, and support your firm needs. Learn more about our partnership in the latest blog post from Uptime Legal.

This is great news for the legal industry. Law firms can keep the mature, robust software they’re committed to and leverage the mobility, security, and reliability of the cloud. A private cloud service under the umbrella of our Authorized Hosting Provider program provides everything a law firm needs to:

  • eliminate servers
  • get out of the business of managing IT
  • work anywhere
  • keep data secure

A fully managed private cloud, like Uptime Practice, will make upgrading to the latest version of PCLaw and Time Matters a breeze.

Want to learn more about what moving your practice to the cloud can mean for your firm? Download our eBook today to learn more.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Press Release | Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in FedEx Mechanic Death at Lubbock Airport

PRESS RELEASE Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in FedEx Mechanic Death at Lubbock Airport LUBBOCK, Texas—The law firm of Glasheen, Valles & Inderman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx Freight, Inc. in Lubbock County District Court Tuesday on behalf of Tandi Wagner and Kristi Ramirez for the wrongful death of their father, Michael Merton.... Read More

The post Press Release | Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in FedEx Mechanic Death at Lubbock Airport appeared first on Glasheen, Valles & Inderman.

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