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Pricing Matters

Pricing is a catalyst for innovation and collaboration in the legal industry. Business professionals from interdisciplinary teams including pricing, business development, client value, procurement, legal operations, practice and project management are working together to create pricing solutions that deliver value and profitability. Digitory Legal wants to highlight the important work that these professionals are doing to advance the business of law, so we created the Pricing Matters Podcast. Your host, Aurelia Spivey, will be speaking to thought leaders who discuss market trends, provide actionable insights and share their experience of the evolving landscape of legal pricing.

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Behind Every Number is a Story with Jim Foley

Jim Foley is the Pricing and Legal Project Management Director at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, where he oversees the pricing, legal project management, matter analytics, business intake and conflicts areas.He has extensive experience in alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), legal project management (LPM), matter budgeting, law firm financial management and financial analysis, and is a catalyst for change within the firm.Jim joined the firm in 1995.  Prior to his role as pricing and legal project management director, Jim was the firm’s controller and a senior business manager. Previously he held roles as controller, accounting manager and analyst at various manufacturing companies.Jim was recently Mayor for the town of Ashland, Virginia. He is also very involved with many local community groups and has coached a number of youth basketball and softball teams.TOP THREE TAKEAWAYSIncorporating profitability into the compensation system. Helps to create accountability and transparency for client matter profitability across the firm. Becoming multilingual. There is a huge benefit to the firm when pricing, project management and analytics professionals understand each other’s language. Alternative fees may be leveling off. The growth in AFAs has slowed and appears to be plateauing around a third of all work.  To find out more about Digitory Legal please visit our website at www.digitorylegal.com.

36mins

11 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Baking Profitability into the DNA of the Firm with Toby Brown

In this episode, we speak with Toby Brown, Perkins Coie’s Chief Practice Management Officer. Toby leads the firm’s revenue management and efficiency programs, legal project management, pricing, process improvement, practice innovation, alternative staffing, and new partner integration. Toby has more than a decade of experience in practice management and pricing with Am Law firms and is the former director of the Utah State Bar. TOP THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODEOpportunities for more pricing roles. Every firm needs this role and if your firm doesn’t have it raise your hand!Profitability Evangelism. The biggest impact pricing teams have in law firms is shifting the transparency and awareness around profitability. Resourcing. Many pricing teams are overwhelmed. When asking for more resources focus on how your team’s work directly impacts the revenue and margin of the firm. To find out more about Digitory Legal please visit our website at www.digitorylegal.com.

40mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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The Strongest Case you Can Make is Having More Data with Mike Milazzo

Mike Milazzo is Kelley Drye’s Director of Strategic Pricing and is focused on delivering solutions to enhance overall client value and drive bottom-line performance for the firm.With over 12 years of pricing experience, Mike works with the firm’s Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, and senior firm management on strategic and operational initiatives related to pricing, project management, and process improvement.  He consults with partners to develop appropriate pricing strategies and collaborates with clients and legal operations professionals to drive the development of creative pricing solutions to meet client needs and business objectives. Mike serves on the firm’s Client Value and Innovation Committee, is an accredited legal pricing professional (ALPP), and an active member of the True Value Partnering Institute organization – Law Firm Pricing Cohort. KEY TAKEAWAYSStart with Empathy: Lawyers should be having human conversations with their clients. To develop genuinely symbiotic relationships means hurting when their clients are hurting.Understanding Client Needs: Sometimes you must sift through the weeds to understand your client's true needs. Delivering Value. Clients are going to find value in firms that can help them anticipate what’s going to happen next. 

21mins

13 May 2020

Rank #3

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Discounting Rates Doesn’t Neccesarily Lead to More Work with Sergey Mezhiritskiy

Sergey Mezhiritskiy is currently a Senior Pricing Strategist with Proskauer Rose LLP in New York. Has been working in the legal industry for about 5 years. Before that, he was a Pricing Manager with Allens in Sydney, Australia and a Pricing Analyst with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.During his tenure with law firms, Sergey served as a trusted advisor to partners and firm leaders on pricing related issues such as rate negotiations, profitability optimization, and process improvements.Sergey is an Accredited Legal Pricing Professional (ALPP) and holds a PRINCE2 Certificate in Project Management. He graduated in 2014 from the College of Staten Island School of Business with a degree in Economics & Finance.Sergey held positions as a Financial Advisor with one firm and a Business Analyst with a different company before his move into the legal industry.KEY TAKEAWAYSIts Time to Lead. Legal Pricing Professionals can play a significant role in designing creative pricing solutions that meet the needs of clients during this time of uncertainty without undermining the value that law firms bring to the table. Understand your Key Profit Drivers. Discounting rates doesn’t always lead to more work as your competitors can easily do the same.Improving Data Quality. Historical data remains tricky but process management can help to ensure that current data being recorded and collected can be useful in the future. 

25mins

26 Mar 2020

Rank #4

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Don't Be Afraid To Ask with Steph Corey

Stephanie Corey is a co-founder of UpLevel Ops, a consulting firm specializing in providing services for in-house legal departments and law firms.  UpLevel Ops provides a complete range of Legal Operations support, including IT solutions, Finance and Budget guidance, Talent Management and Development, Benchmarking, Best Practices and Metrics, and Outside Counsel Selection and Management.Stephanie also founded and is a former executive member of the leading legal operations trade organization CLOC, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.  She is a widely respected veteran in the Legal Ops field.Most recently, Stephanie has served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Legal Operations at Flex, the second largest manufacturing company in the world.  She has spent the better part of her career providing value-added services to Legal Departments, including building and deploying critical infrastructure to enable them to meet their business priorities.  Her areas of expertise include Information Technology, System Implementations, Process Analysis and Improvements, Finance, Communications, and Administration.Stephanie Corey is a co-founder of UpLevel Ops, a consulting firm specializing in providing services for in-house legal departments and law firms.  UpLevel Ops provides a complete range of Legal Operations support, including IT solutions, Finance and Budget guidance, Talent Management and Development, Benchmarking, Best Practices and Metrics, and Outside Counsel Selection and Management.Stephanie also founded and is a former executive member of the leading legal operations trade organization CLOC, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.  She is a widely respected veteran in the Legal Ops field.Most recently, Stephanie has served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Legal Operations at Flex, the second largest manufacturing company in the world.  She has spent the better part of her career providing value-added services to Legal Departments, including building and deploying critical infrastructure to enable them to meet their business priorities.  Her areas of expertise include Information Technology, System Implementations, Process Analysis and Improvements, Finance, Communications, and Administration.Stephanie began her career at Merrill Lynch in Pennsylvania, and after relocating to California, she worked at Bailard, Biehl and Kaiser, an investment firm in Foster City.  Once she decided to move into Corporate Finance, Stephanie took a position under the CFO, managing the Finance and Accounting Department at Provident Funding Mortgage Bank.She later moved to Hewlett-Packard, where she was employed for eleven years as the head Legal Operations Manager, running a large IT and Finance Department.  Her most recent role at HP was Chief of Staff to the General Counsel, responsible for managing the daily operations of the Legal Department, working closely with the General Counsel and his reports to develop the strategy for the delivery of technology, finance, and administrative solutions. Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Lehigh University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wilkes University.KEY TAKEAWAYSGet the Data in Place. You need to understand what you are spending to be able to make educated pricing decisions. Adopt a programmatic approach to outside counsel spend. Set your goals upfront and collaborate with your procurement team to help drive the process.Billing guidelines are a tool for conversation. Don’t take an adversarial approach rather use the guidelines as an opportunity to partner with your law firms. To find out more about Digitory Legal please visit our website at www.digitorylegal.com.

39mins

20 Mar 2020

Rank #5

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Expanding the Conversation with Michael Katz

Michael Katz is the Pricing & Data Analytics Director at Holland & Knight, where he pioneered the pricing function over four years. Key elements of the pricing program are partner education, matter budgeting, and tracking, RFP/pitch support, and one-on-one consulting on alternative fees and profit improvement.His prior legal industry positions include Treasurer at Orrick, FP&A manager at WilmerHale, and Advisor at SB2 Consultants.  Prior to working in the legal industry, Michael held a series of financial management positions at McGraw-Hill, where he supported senior management of the information technology function and several publishing units.Michael has an MBA in Finance, Rutgers University BA and an MAT, Binghamton University.KEY TAKEAWAYSFind a good solution, as there is seldom a best solution! When creating fee proposals keep it simple and remain flexible.Wear your Marketing Hat! Ask open-ended questions, find out who else is bidding on the work and create pricing proposals that will help win the business. Showcase Best Practice. Clients are asking for more information about law firm technology and legal process management. Use this as an opportunity to highlight how specific practices are differentiating their legal service delivery.To find out more about Digitory Legal please visit our website at www.digitorylegal.com.

22mins

11 Mar 2020

Rank #6

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Raising the Value Boat: A Deep Dive into Intersect 2020

This week, we take a deep dive into Intersect 2020 which is the True Value Partnering Institute (TVPI) Annual conference, held in Miami in January.  You can also enjoy this video recapping the event. Our guests James Shoemaker and Steven Manton speak to us in their capacity as TVPI advisors. We explore highlights from the Intersect 2020 conference, including key takeaways from sessions on leadership, change management and resilience with a focus on the evolving role of the business of law expert.  The True Value Partnering Institute is a legal industry think tank focused on professional development and thought leadership at the intersection of the practice and the business of law. The Institute has become the definitive community for senior legal business professionals - those responsible for delivering value inside and outside their organizations. KEY TAKEAWAYSPeel back the onion. Good leaders know their weaknesses and use this self-awareness to improve their relationships within their team and the firm.Do you know what keeps the managing partner awake at night? Answering this question can help you break out of your pricing silo and get more involved in cross-functional projects across the firm.Avoid solution-jumping.  Change management requires that you take time to understand the problem or opportunity first and empathize with the end-user.Just breathe! Your ability to be a good leader, deliver value and manage change starts with a focus on mental health and well-being. James Shoemaker is an Accredited Legal Pricing Professional (ALPP) and certified legal project manager with nearly 20 years of industry experience.  In his current role as the Director of Pricing and Matter Management at Miles & Stockbridge P.C., he is responsible for setting pricing strategy, consulting with partners and clients on pricing solutions, and establishing a matter management framework of tools and processes to ensure efficient delivery of legal services.  This includes oversight for all the following functions: pricing, rate setting, legal project management (i.e., “matter management”), new business acceptance, and the establishment and maintenance of the required supporting systems and infrastructure for these functions.A frequent speaker on the topics of legal pricing and project management, Jim’s core focus remains on maximizing the value of legal services by helping align the firm’s pricing and service delivery models with its clients’ legal needs and business objectives. Steven Manton is a Pricing Director at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Steven is responsible for the creation and development of the firm’s pricing and legal project management function across all the firm’s offices.Steven is a highly knowledgeable law and business graduate with a Masters qualification and twenty years of legal sector experience.  Recognized as a leading law firm pricing, practice optimization and profitability specialist who regularly teaches and publishes on pricing legal services and building the law firm pricing function.Steven is active in the legal community and serves on the Advisory Council of the True Value Partnering Institute, a legal industry think tank and is also a member of the Research Advisory Board for the Client Value and Law Firm Profitability Report published by Jim Hassett Phd.

1hr 2mins

19 Feb 2020

Rank #7

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Ignoring Data Bias is Detrimental to Your Business Strategy with Adam Minielly

Adam Minielly is the Manager, Pricing at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, where he plays a key role in overseeing the firm’s pricing activities and operations, driving firm strategy related to the development, analysis, and implementation of creative, workable solutions in response to client pricing demands. Prior to Osler, Adam worked in roles in competitive intelligence and pricing at Dentons LLP, Blakes, Cassels and Graydon, and Norton Rose Fulbright.Adam holds an undergraduate degree in political science and a Masters Degree in public policy. His graduate work examined how think tanks influence public policy. He has applied his social science training to his work in pricing to develop data-driven decision making. He recently presented Framing, Anchoring, and Data Biases - What influences pricing decisions? at the Buying Legal Conference.TOP THREE TAKEAWAYSAll data has a story to tell. Just because data is dirty doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with it, you need to dissect the data to understand what it's telling you. Tackling data bias. Set up systems and processes to account for common data biases including sample, exclusion and observer bias. Effective Scoping. Focus on the actual hours to completion of phases and tasks rather than anchoring on a fee amount.

30mins

12 Feb 2020

Rank #8

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Its Evolution Not Revolution with Keith Maziarek

Keith Maziarek is the Director of Pricing and Legal Project Management at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, where he is responsible for building the firm’s formal pricing and legal project management functions.Prior to Katten, Keith served as Senior Director of Client Value for Perkins Coie LLP, working closely with the client legal operations executives to develop collaboration strategies to improve operational efficiencies. Keith’s career in strategic pricing began at DLA Piper LLP, where he built the firm’s strategic pricing, profitability, and legal project management functions as the firm’s first Head of Strategic Pricing. He previously worked in strategic business development, helping establish a deep understanding of clients’ business needs.Keith frequently speaks at industry events and publishes articles on related topics. He holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Illinois-Chicago. TOP THREE TAKEAWAYSData Analytics. Clients and law firms are collecting and analyzing different data – do you know what your clients are looking for?Pricing Predictions. Over the next decade, we will see an emphasis on defining and measuring the ambiguous concept of value, and also an increase in well-scoped retainer arrangements. Optimization. For the next generation of lawyers (and clients), it’s not about precedent (what was done before) but how firms can be more proactive and efficient. 

44mins

22 Jan 2020

Rank #9

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It’s the Minutiae that Makes the Difference with Fred Esposito

Frederick J. Esposito, Jr, MBA, CLM, Chief Operating Officer of the regional law firm Rivkin Radler LLP, has more than 25 years of law and accounting firm experience and has been a Certified Legal Manager (CLM)SM since 2006.  Fred specializes in financial and organizational management and has managed and worked in a consulting capacity with several law firms, both international and domestic. Fred brings considerable “real world” experience to his role as a speaker and educator. Also, he is a senior member of the faculty and a consultant for the Legal Lean Sigma Institute LLC. In May 2018, Fred earned a Yellow Belt Certification in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management and is working toward his Green Belt Certification.  With more than 25 years of law and accounting firm experience, Fred is a thought-leader, frequent speaker, and author of articles on a wide-range of topics and best practices. He has been published on topics such as billing and collections, profitability, attorney compensation systems, alternative fee arrangements, process improvement, project management, and strategic planning by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute blog, Law Practice Magazine, Law Practice Today and Attorney at Work, among others.  Fred is a highly-rated, frequent author and speaker for the ABA, ALA, BNA/Bloomberg, Lexis/Nexis, and Thomson Reuters. In the Fall of 2016, he became a Faculty Advisor and Presenter for the Nassau County Bar Association Academy of Law and in June 2013, he was inducted into the National Speakers Association.  In 2012 he received the Association of Legal Administrator’s Outstanding Association Volunteer Award for his service as a leader and national speaker and was also named CFO of the Year by Long Island Business News. Fred was the first CLM on Long Island and from May 2013 – May 2016, was the Chair of ALA’s Certification Committee. TOP THREE TAKEAWAYSLegal Lean Sigma. Employing the principles adds a whole new dimension to achieving efficiency, client focus and value. Telling the story with data. Identifying the obstacles and constraints in your process will help you understand what data you need to use to support your business case. 2020 will bring a renewed focus on alternative fees that go beyond rates. Firms that focus on process improvement and project management will differentiate themselves in the next decade.To find out more about Digitory Legal please visit our website at www.digitorylegal.com.

46mins

15 Jan 2020

Rank #10