LSN Briefing Industry Interview: Commercially Mindedaderantuser
LSN Briefing March 2014 – Risk management in legal shouldn’t just be about compliance, it’s also about commercial risk. And to handle commercial risk and compliance, you need information. But today’s legal risk management isn’t just about taking commercial risks – it’s also about avoiding them to remain competitive, says Jacqui de Gernier, Aderant’s sales director.
“Legal businesses are now facing a lot of competitive risks that threaten the very nature of law firms. And there are some progressive and forward-thinking firms out there that are prepared to change the way that they do business. Risk management needs to change from being inwardly focused to looking at external influences and changes, and their effects on the firm.”
Clients want more creative pricing, more value, more work and more flexibility – often (though not always) for less money. For firms, this means thinking in more businesslike, commercial and competitive ways, and part of that is developing a less risk-averse mentality, says De Gernier. But firms also have to watch out when they take risks on work without understanding it. “When they’re pitching, firms now need to come with creative pricing solutions, but if they don’t have historical matter data to analyse and review, there’s a chance that they will win pieces of work that will ultimately end up not being profitable.”
Another key risk in play is that, without good management information behind decisions, firms are more likely to be cautious and conservative with their pricing proposals. “That could make them uncompetitive – they could end up not getting the work because they don’t have good historical data on which to base that pricing proposal.” A risk that’s possibly worse is an inability to know what to pitch for and what to leave alone. Firms should be able to componentise work in better ways and only take forward the parts they can do profitably. Taken together, these risks represent the need for “a real mindset shift that some firms don’t seem prepared for”.
Information, and reporting, is everything when it comes to risk management. In particular, De Gernier says, risk heads should be much more involved in identifying when firms are, or aren’t, fulfilling obligations around key dates and client requirements on work – something risk isn’t generally involved in. “Often they are relying on lawyers to adhere to SLAs offered to the client, so now many corporate commercial firms are now looking to implement case and matter management to centrally manage key dates and commitments, and adhere to client SLAs.”
Aderant, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a global industry leader in providing comprehensive legal business management software for law firms and other professional services organizations. Aderant is a market leader in technology solutions for practice and financial management, ebilling, knowledge management, business intelligence, matter planning, calendaring and docketing. Aderant is an established and trusted partner with its versatile and innovative technology solutions, superior customer service and reliable implementation process. Aderant operates as a unit of Roper Technologies, a constituent of the S&P 500®, Fortune 1000® and the Russell 1000® indices.
Aderant Public Relations