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June 2016
Going for the "Holy Grail"
By: Novus Law LLC, Client Solutions Team. Follow on Twitter @NovusLawLLC.

Bob Harchut is feeling revolutionary! The seasoned litigator-turned-legal operations executive is helping to launch a new data analytics initiative for value-based fee (VBF) arrangements – and the transformative changes he’s working to implement promise to better the corporate legal sector and law firms in big ways.

The Task-Based Data Analytics initiative – a project that stems from the ACC Legal Operations Metrics & Analytics Interest Group – seeks to find the Holy Grail for companies and law firms who are using VBF arrangements – that is, being able to confidently predict the cost and value of engagements so as to ensure that the agreed fee will be fair to both the company and the firm, without resorting to shadow invoices based on the inefficient hourly-rate billing system. The idea is to standardize matter and task-based data analytics in order to aggregate, analyze, and benchmark such data across companies to produce data sets with high confidence levels and predictive value.  In other words – to create universal benchmarks to allow corporate legal departments to confidently compare the effectiveness of their legal service providers. According to Harchut, “To do this, we need a new type of coding system that is not based on UTBMS codes which are wholly inadequate for this type of data analysis. That’s why we need a revolution!”

Harchut has experience with radically changing paradigms. He joined pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1985 as a litigator from a large law firm in Philadelphia.  After progressing up the Law Department ladder in various roles, such as General Counsel for the Company’s clinical laboratories subsidiary, he eventually became head of U.S. litigation in 1997 managing product liability cases, governmental investigations, environmental disputes, and other costly matters.

“Needless to say, I became very aware of how incredibly expensive litigation is,” he says. “We dealt with a lot of outside counsel and really got to understand what was driving costs among law firms and ancillary legal service providers. When the economic crisis hit in 2008, one of the top priorities that GSK’s CEO gave to our new global General Counsel, Dan Troy, was to dramatically reduce our huge legal spend.”

As a result, Harchut was asked to lead a new Global External Legal Relations Team (GELRT) which was tasked with changing the paradigm by which GSK paid for legal services by moving all outside counsel assignments throughout the world to VBF arrangements, whenever feasible. Per GC Dan Troy’s mandate, GSK Legal included that objective in the performance goals upon which GSK in-house attorneys can earn a bonus.  The results of this VBF initiative were dramatic, boosting the percentage of external spend on VBFs from 3 percent in 2008 to more than 68 percent by 2011, and to 84 percent in 2015. In that year, GSK processed 348 VBFs, nearly one every day. According to Harchut: “Even though there are unique aspects to each litigation and business transaction, we’ve proven to the dissenters of task-based flat fees that there are successful ways to make them happen.”

But VBFs were not the only radical change implemented by Harchut’s team. In 2010, GSK Legal worked with its Procurement Department to launch an Outside Counsel Selection Initiative (OCSI), which is a matter-specific, mini-RFP for all new engagements over $250,000 that utilizes an electronic reverse auction to arrive at a competitive fee, while still ensuring excellent legal representation for GSK. In 2012, the Association of Corporate Counsel recognized GSK and Harchut, along with the revolutionary vision of Dan Troy and the hard work of Procurement colleagues Marty Harlow and Justin Ergler, as an ACC Value Champion for cutting legal spend by as much as $36 million through 57 OCSI events.  In addition, the author of a Harvard Business School case study about GSK’s OCSI initiative stated: “They are revolutionizing the way that legal services are going to be procured.”

“It’s really fun to be at the forefront of cutting-edge initiatives,” says Harchut, whose GELRT team also includes individuals well-versed in analytics and process improvements. “These types of radical-change initiatives really bring out the collaborative energy of our Team.”

Today, Harchut is hoping to encourage that type of collaboration throughout the profession through his work with the ACC Legal Operations Metrics & Analytics Interest Group and the Task-Based Data Analytics initiative.

“We’re going towards best practices and guidance for Legal Ops folks who are trying to find that Holy Grail. Even if not a mandated standard, there will be opportunities for people interested in VBFs to use the task-based coding voluntarily to arrive at value-driven fees that are fair to both the company and the firm,” Harchut says. “Ultimately, it’s not just about cost reduction. We are measuring outcomes and determining what value the law firm brings to the company.”
The ACC Metrics & Analytics Interest Group meets via monthly phone calls, and on June 23rd, Harchut will present the initial phase of the Task-Based Data Analytics project – deemed ‘Project Revolution’ – at the 2016 ACC Legal Ops Conference in Chicago. There, he will demonstrate a “Straw Man” template created by the Group that sets out phases of a matter – in this pilot, a product liability matter – and moves away from hourly billing in favor of defined task-based codes. For companies that embrace VBFs, the proposed system would not only revolutionize how work is coded for a litigation matter, it would also allow for similar templates to be introduced across all other practice areas within a company and eventually to make industry-wide comparisons.

“We would be able to know what a typical product liability matter costs before a certain judge, and what depositions in a particular jurisdiction typically cost on a unit basis, etcetera,” Harchut says. “The beauty is that companies can use the template online for law firms to complete and send back their proposed budget for each matter broken down by phases and tasks. They can indicate the number of units needed for depositions and the number of documents needed to be reviewed. That becomes their fee proposal, and if the company accepts it, that proposal ends up being the project management plan.”

This will allow in-house lawyers to quickly identify areas where budget or process adjustments need to be made in real time, rather than the typical 6-month waiting period to review law firm invoices, or worse, being unable to take any action until the end of an engagement.
At the end of an engagement, the system will also send out a scorecard for the law firm and the in-house managing attorneys to give their views on the value provided based on the outcome of the matter. “This will allow the firm and the in-house lawyers to see where they are aligned or if there’s a disconnect,” Harchut says.
The June 23rd presentation will include a call to action for more corporate legal departments and their law firms to join the initiative. Harchut hopes to encourage as many interested legal operations professionals as possible to move toward a universal system that can potentially transform how fee arrangements are derived – and ultimately drive greater value and better partnerships throughout the profession.

“As word spreads, hopefully more folks will join the revolution in order to find our collective Holy Grail.” 

Bob Harchut is Vice President and Associate General Counsel at GlaxoSmithKline.  Mr. Harchut joined GlaxoSmithKline’s predecessor company, Smith Kline & French, in June 1985 as counsel in the litigation group and, since then, has held positions of increasing responsibility including General Counsel of the Company’s now-divested Clinical Laboratories subsidiary and Chief Litigator from 1997 until November 2008.  At that time, Mr. Harchut was appointed to the newly created position of Head of Global External Legal Relations.  In this role, he has created strategies and implemented processes to dramatically change the paradigm by which GSK pays for legal services and to significantly reduce GSK's external legal spend worldwide, while maintaining excellent legal representation. Mr. Harchut is a 2012 ACC Value Champion and a current member of both the ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee and the ACC Law Department Executive Leaders group.  Mr. Harchut graduated with a B.A. (summa cum laude) from St. Joseph's University and obtained his J.D. (cum laude) from Villanova University School of Law where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and editor-in-chief of the Villanova Law Review.  Prior to joining GSK, Mr. Harchut served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, and he was also an associate at the Schnader law firm in Philadelphia concentrating on product liability, commercial, and labor litigation.



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The Key to Developing Discovery & Operations Leaders
by Julie Richer, Operations & Discovery Manager at American Electric Power (AEP)

When I first began my legal operations and discovery role, I realized I had a lot to learn. I’d come with a technical background from IT and had been supporting legal for two years. I had a grasp of the legal language and processes, but I was missing the bigger view of what was taking place outside our company walls. I was expected to ensure that the legal department met our obligations in the area of discovery, as well as moving the department forward from an efficiency and effectiveness standpoint. To help achieve these goals, I sought out others in similar roles from other companies to benchmark what they were doing or had already done. What I found was an expanding network of knowledgeable peers eager to collaborate and share their experiences.

The role of Legal Operations & Discovery Lead is expanding and evolving. According to an ACC survey of corporate general counsels’ offices released this year, more and more in-house legal departments are utilizing legal operations staff to help their offices work more efficiently and successfully. Nearly 50 percent of the in-house departments surveyed said they had at least one person assigned to legal operations, a remarkable increase from 2015, when the figure was just 20 percent. There are many titles across the industry for people filling the position including Director, Head or Manager, all of whom are leading their organizations.

Whether one or more people lead the Legal Operations & Discovery functions, the importance of the role is the same across all organizations: to have their finger on the pulse of technical advances, the legal industry, and their own corporate environment to be successful in their job and help their departments thrive. But where do these key resources get their guidance? How do they know what they should be focusing on as the next big initiative?

Other career paths have more formal continual training to ensure individuals stay up to date on changes in their industry such as lawyers with CLE, Engineers with CPD and IT professionals with certifications. While there is no formal continuing training for Operations/Discovery professionals, after eight years as the Operations & Discovery Manager at American Electric Power, I believe the answer lies in the peer network. I am responsible for making recommendations that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of our entire department and these decisions should not be made in a vacuum.

To be sure I wasn’t alone in this view, I reached out to my peers in these key roles to ask what they believe is the “secret sauce” for their success.

“We are looked on to be the experts regarding legal technology and business efficiencies in order to support the GC,” says Eric Lieber, director of legal operations and litigation support at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “The attorneys view us as the trusted and reliable voice of reason, and they expect us to advance the work that is happening in the legal department,” says Lieber, who also relies on the power of his peer network to leverage the knowledge learned from their experience. “If you are expected to formulate strategic technology plans, it is essential to know what has or has not been successful.”   

The power of the peer network as a learning and benchmarking tool is a consistent theme. At Liberty Mutual, Glenn O’Brien, director of electronic discovery, relies on his peer network to help mitigate risk. “Technology is constantly evolving – if we don't know how to respond to those changes we will put the company at risk” O’Brien says. “Internal departments are implementing technology to stay competitive. We have to keep pace with them.”

The term ‘networking’ has a connotation of individual advancement, but in my experience the networking of a successful Operations/Discovery lead advances the entire organization. I have been fortunate at AEP. Management has always supported my attendance at conferences and participation on panels which have led to a large peer network that I reach out to on a weekly basis for a variety of reasons. I have a list of peers that are using the same applications, legal service providers and vendors as AEP that I call to get feedback or advice. The continued knowledge gained from these peers directly impacts my job effectiveness. There are many benefits to establishing and leveraging a peer network:

  • Best practice guidance: When establishing business processes, especially in discovery, it is important to gauge what other companies are doing. Typically, after talking with 3 to 5 companies, you will start to see trends in a particular space.
  • Unfiltered references for vendors, services & applications: Vendors often provide squeaky clean references; peers will tell it like it is. You can trust your peer network like family, they have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.
  • Lessons learned: Whether business processes, projects, services or applications, etc., many Operations or Discovery projects/initiatives being considered by your company have already been done or considered somewhere else. Leveraging peer knowledge will reduce project cost by focusing the scope and removing issues that others have experienced that you can avoid.
  • Bet the company litigation: When your company is facing litigation that it has never seen before, reach out to peers for guidance and best practices.
  • Template sharing: Many peer organizations provide portals for companies to share templates with potentially sensitive corporate information removed.
  • Leverage change with outside partners: Groups of peers that all use the same applications can pool their influence and push for changes with their legal service providers and other vendors. These changes can be things like improved support or actual application enhancements.
  • Network contacts: Your peers in the industry will introduce you to others that may be running the same applications or considering similar projects.
  • Inclusion/introduction into focused peer group: Peers will tell you about other ways to get or stay connected to the industry.

Did I mention the network is free? Using a consultant will cost you, at a minimum, about $200 an hour.

“When faced with a new challenge, I often turn to my peer network,” O’Brien says of his role at Liberty Mutual. There’s no sense re-inventing the wheel. Chances are pretty good that if I’m running into a new problem, some of my peers have as well. I know I can contact them and find out what worked for them and potentially adopt their solutions to fit my needs.”

There is nothing more important to these key leaders than a strong, trusted peer network. The development of this network comes from spending time with others in person. To share information about what your company is doing, you need to feel safe. Trust is built by getting to know someone on a personal level, and that relationship cannot form via email or over the phone. These leaders need to develop their network at industry-focused conferences.

I’ve heard frustration from peers in similar roles as mine that cannot get approval to attend critical conferences. Without this support it can be difficult to do their jobs. To be effective, legal operations and discovery professionals must be able to experience and understand what is happening in the industry to implement strategic change. The best way to do that is by meeting those who are making positive changes happen.
“At Toyota we have the concept of ‘Genchi Genbutsu’, i.e. Go and See. It is a key principle of the Toyota Production System,” Lieber says. “It suggests that in order to truly understand a situation one needs to go to genba (現場) or, the 'real place' – where work is done. This has served the company and me well.”

Editors Note:  Conference attendance leads to the development of a strong network for an Operations & Discovery professional. However, with many possible events and tight budgets, choosing which conferences to attend can be tricky. Our next article will define ways to build and maintain a successful network, including conferences, while controlling cost.


Julie Richer is Operations & Discovery Manager at American Electric Power, an electric utility company in Columbus, Ohio with 18,000 employees across 11 states.   Ms. Richer manages discovery processes such as data collection & processing, legal hold and case strategy as well as document review activities.  She also manages the Legal Operations team responsible for invoicing, reporting, vendor management, process improvement, knowledge management and application implementation, adoption and support.    Prior to transferring to Legal in 2008, Ms. Richer spent ten years in the IT Department at AEP where she served in roles such as Corporate Deployment Services Manager, Field Operations Manager, Infrastructure Coordinator and Business Systems Analyst.   Ms. Richer has been a faculty member of the Electronic Discovery Institute for five years.  She is also a current member of the ACC Legal Operations organization and formerly sat on the ILTA Law Department Steering Committee for three years.


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Program Highlights of the 2016 Legal Operations Conference
by Dan Currell, Novus Law
Here’s an insider’s look at some of the most-anticipated sessions of the 2016 ACC Legal Ops Conference, June 22-24 at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile.

On Wednesday June 22nd, the conference begins by addressing a broad and pressing need with a session specially designed for early-stage legal operations functions. The session, titled 101 - How To Gain Traction; A Bootcamp For Leaders Of Early-Stage Legal Ops Functions, will focus on assessing and prioritizing needs, getting alignment with the general counsel, roadmaps for implementing key technologies, effective vendor management practices, workload allocation and metrics and measurement. Speakers include a wide range of seasoned legal ops VPs and Directors from nine companies. 

The kickoff session will give participants something to talk about over drinks, as the conference continues with its Welcoming Reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. that evening. From there, attendees can head out to any of the nearby Chicago restaurants within walking distance of the Magnificent Mile.
On Thursday and Friday mornings, the conference will break out into interest group meetings. These interest groups provide an opportunity to get deep into a particular issue of importance, exchange ideas and information with others who face similar challenges, and make plans for the work of the interest group going forward. There are nine group meetings: Process and Project Management, External Resource Management, Metrics & Analytics, and Litigation Support & eDiscovery (Thursday morning); and Internal Resource Management, Tools & Technology, Strategic Planning, Healthcare Manufacturers Industry Group, and Insurance Industry Group (Friday morning).
At 10 a.m. on Thursday, the conference will formally open with a three-speaker keynote address on The Changing Dynamics of the Legal Industry and Implications for Corporate Legal Change Agents. The session will feature Jeff Carr, former General Counsel of FMC Technologies and current President of ValoremNext; Bill Henderson, Chief Strategy Officer at Lawyer Metrics and Professor of Law at Indiana University; and Mark Smolik, Vice President and General Counsel of DHL. Each speaker has personally driven change within the legal industry, and their conversation will look forward to how change agents can be most effective in light of law’s new market dynamics. 
The heart of the conference will then proceed in three tracks: Optimizing Law Department Management, Innovation in Legal Service Delivery, and Metrics & Analytics. Each track will offer four to six sessions of its own, and attendees can “choose their own adventure” across Thursday and Friday. Below are a few preview highlights from each track.
Optimizing Law Department Management
Those who lead legal ops share one big, woolly challenge: how do we optimize department operations? There are many good answers – but there are also many false leads and dead ends. How can we find the best next step?
This track takes common challenges and focuses on a handful of proven opportunities to improve law department operations. Perhaps because inefficient email and phone-tag practices still plague nearly every legal department, an early session will focus on optimizing processes (Process Optimization Drives Business Results in Legal Departments). A later session will take up the problem of showing Legal’s value: How can we use insourcing, effective alternative fee agreements, proactive patent enforcement strategies, and high-value technologies to create and show our value? (Demonstrating the Value of the Legal Team: Create a True Competitive Advantage for the Enterprise).

One of the areas where legal ops meets legal risk in a potentially explosive way is information risk. How can we manage our legal information in a way that respects our legal obligations, optimizes the amount of information the company has in its possession, and minimizes the risk of an information breach, discovery miscue, or other error? A panel of five experienced legal ops professionals with decades of information governance experience between them will discuss where information risk is headed (Information Governance Life Cycle - Expected and Unexpected Challenges). 

With so many experienced professionals in attendance, the conference will create several opportunities for participants to be “hands-on” and learn from peers. 
  • A workshop designed to apply expert experiences in legal ops execution to a series of current challenges faced by legal ops leaders (Experiences from the Field: Legal Ops in the Past, Present and Future).  This session will use current challenges from participants as the basis for small-group workshops – so bring your head-scratchers.
  • A change-management workshop will give participants a chance to learn from one another while creating a change management plan for their own change management challenges (Workshop: Find Solutions to Real-Life Change Management Challenges That You Face). 
  • A workshop titled The Legal Ops Investor will provide participants with a budget to invest in initiatives drawn from real-world examples, leading small groups to discuss and decide how best to spend the limited funds.
Innovation in Legal Service Delivery
For many years, the legal sector experienced little change. Since 2009, it has become hard to catalogue all of the changes – new providers, new processes, and new technologies – rushing into the profession. Since practicing lawyers aren’t generally focused on how to capture the value of new approaches, a central role of legal operations is often to identify opportunities in all of the change. With new innovations flooding the market every week, how can legal ops keep up?
A clear starting point is to leverage innovations that target the largest area of legal spend for many companies: a session on Innovation in Outside Counsel Management. A panel of experienced players with hundreds of millions of dollars in law firm spend under their collective belts will reflect on the challenges and opportunities.
Continuing the theme of how to better leverage law firms, a later session will consider how some companies have used advanced artificial intelligence to vastly improve the identification, triage and routing of legal questions from the business. This can lead to faster response times to routine (and complex) questions, better use of in-house lawyer time, and a more targeted reliance upon law firms and counsel-on-call (Self-Service Compliance, Preventive Law & Outside Counsel: A New Model).
Innovation in Law Department Operations: Enterprise Legal Management for the 21st Century will address the pressing need to move past e-billing and matter management platforms to a more holistic view of enterprise legal management. Most departments envision a future with more scope for legal management; this session will discuss how to get there.
EDiscovery remains a mystery to a surprising number of in-house lawyers – they may never have had occasion to really deal with it. When eDiscovery issues arise in earnest, there can be real disagreements between different parties on how to move forward. This common scene will be explored in Simulation Chamber: An eDiscovery Role Play.
Contract management is one of the high-volume areas that everyone expects legal operations to be able to improve.  It may be table stakes for success – but that doesn’t make it easy. So many hands touch the process and they all have their own view of what’s best. Contract Lifecycle Management: Contracts Drafting and Administration Revisited will examine ways to optimize the contract management process, from drafting to resourcing to new technologies.
Operations management specialists outside of the legal space have long used methodologies like Lean or Six Sigma to dramatically enhance and simplify key corporate processes. The closing workshop for the Innovation track is a deep exploration of the use of Lean methodologies to simplify and optimize key legal processes. Workshop: Lean Forward … and Beyond will be led by experienced hands in Lean Legal, focusing on the best opportunities to apply Lean concepts to your legal department in small and digestible increments.
Metrics & Analytics
The definitive law department dashboard remains out of reach for too many companies. Instead they rely on piecemeal Excel spreadsheets that show only snippets of the whole picture. As analytics advance, more and more legal ops professionals are building complete dashboards that compile analytics into a useful, dynamic and regularly updated dashboard. Leaders in the field will discuss the present and future for legal dashboards in Analytics 2.0: Extreme Makeover – Law Department Metrics Edition.
Measurement often works better in theory than it does in practice. What have companies actually been able to measure, report and act on? The Metrics and Analysis Playbook session will report back on a survey of the measurement practices of mature organizations; participants will debate and discuss the advantages and opportunities attendant to each approach.
ACC Legal Ops looks forward to hosting the largest-ever gathering of legal operations professionals in Chicago this June. The sessions promise to be practical but challenging – providing participants with key ideas that can advance the management of legal functions across 2016. We hope to see you there!


Daniel G. Currell, J.D. is Director of Client Solutions at Novus Law LLC.  Mr. Currell is responsible for identifying and developing service delivery strategies and solutions for Novus Law's clients. He is a former Executive Director in the legal practice of CEB (NYSE: CEB), where he served the company’s global membership of general counsel, chief compliance officers and chief risk officers for 16 years. Mr. Currell has extensive experience working with Fortune 500 and Global 1000 legal departments on operating strategies and financial metrics, risk analyses and mitigation, process management, and the management of outside counsel. Mr. Currell practiced general commercial litigation prior to joining CEB. Mr. Currell serves on the boards of trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College, Midland University, and Augsburg-Fortress Press. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.


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An Introduction to Asking for More
D. Casey Flaherty, former inside counsel and founder of Procertas, a legal operations consultancy

“Clients aren’t asking for it.” When surveyed, law firms’ response as to why they are not doing more to change the way they deliver legal services is that “clients aren’t asking for it.” Given that clients are already voting with their wallets and their feet, “clients aren’t asking for it” might not be the best guide to action. But there is some merit to the argument that while law firms know they need to change, they don’t know how to change in visible ways that will satisfy their clients. You should be asking for more and be more specific in what you ask for.

You should be asking your external providers to get demonstrably better. Stripped to its most basic, you should always be able to identify how your primary providers are measurably improving their delivery of legal services to you. You should have credible evidence—descriptions and metrics—of their process improvements and innovation.

While this compilation will go deep into potential methodologies for starting and structuring such conversations, do not get distracted by the details or paralyzed by a compulsion to develop a comprehensive approach. If you can’t answer the question, “What evidence do I have that my primary providers are measurably improving their delivery of legal services to us?” ask them for some. Then ask again in six months. Repeat.

Don’t detour into discounts. Discounts are fine, as far as they go. But they do not go very far in actually modifying behavior. Your relationships with your primary providers most likely resemble long-term supplier commitments with high switching costs and intermittent price renegotiation. With people and price in place, it is process that offers the most levers to drive continuous improvement.

You are the urgency driver. If you ask, your external providers will find new ways to add value. If you ask, your external providers will improve the processes by which they deliver legal services to you. This series will provide you with a menu of potential asks that go directly to process.

People and pricing are essential pillars of a proper value strategy. The core value remains achieving the right business outcome by having the right person do the right work at the right price. But value is enabled by having the work done the right way (value-enabling). A firm’s introduction of improved approaches to knowledge management or document automation are value enabling—i.e., they contribute to quality and speed, while reducing the cost, of the substantive legal work. Likewise, value can be enhanced by ancillary benefits that come from taking a holistic approach to relationships and finding alternative avenues to utilize external expertise (value-plus). Secondment programs, training, and advice hotlines are examples of value-plus offerings.

Having found great lawyers, there comes a point at which sophisticated legal departments can attend to whether that legal expertise is being sufficiently complemented by business process and technology. Similarly, price—especially the move to value-based fees—should be a central concern, but it is worth investigating whether the legal department can get more for its money. This series is focused on the value-enabling and value-plus aspects of legal service delivery. While we will cover how to integrate these considerations into a preferred-provider program, our operating assumption is that your department already has a strategy in place for selecting superb external counsel and paying them appropriately. Likewise, internal operations are a separate, though no less crucial, consideration.

The series will be unabashedly client-centric, but it starts from the premise that there is no versus. Our external providers are our partners, not our adversaries. The objective is not to use your leverage to pound them into submission. Rather, our goal is to give you a playbook to create deeper, more mutually beneficial supplier relationships that contribute to the long-term health and prosperity of every participant in the legal value chain because, at the end of the day, that is in the best interest of the ultimate client.

The playbook will, first and foremost, be practical. We will provide you concrete ideas of what to ask for. We guide you on how and when to ask. We will supply you the tools you need to weave continuous improvement into the fabric of your relationships. But we will also equip you with the why. For many law departments and law firms, these approaches will be new. New is not something most lawyers do well. The practical guidance will be augmented by a communications strategy to constructively engage with both internal and external skeptics.

Finally, we are going to cover a lot of ground. You are not expected to follow every piece of advice. You are free to pick and choose from the menu. Decide what will work best in your operating environment. Further, while we will cover many things, there is no way we will cover everything, in part, because we don’t know everything. The series has no fixed stopping point. The compilation that will follow is intended to be a living document. We want your ideas and as many opportunities as we can to integrate your real-world case studies. Please email to volunteer your suggestions and experiences.

At its core, the Unless You Ask series will be about conversations. How to start them and what you can get out of them. You may not get everything you ask for. But unless you ask, you are almost guaranteed to get none of it.

This article is a serialized from Version 1.0 of the complete Unless You Ask playbook, which is available for download here. It is a project of the ACC Legal Ops External Resource Management Interest Group.

Casey Flaherty is the founder of the legal tech consultancy Procertas. Casey, a former inside and outside counsel, is the creator of the Service Delivery Review, a strategic-sourcing methodology focused on how well law firms utilize process and technology to deliver legal services. Casey consults, writes, and speaks on strategic sourcing, legal operations, technology, process improvement, and metrics. Due to his efforts to create and promote a more rigorous, empirically-oriented approach to quality and spend management, Casey has been, inter alia, featured in The Washington Post, named an ABA Legal Rebel, and selected as one of the Fastcase 50. Casey also serves on the advisory board of NextLaw Labs.

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Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!
by ACC

Join now to get access to resources, participate in any of the Interest Groups, attend the annual conference, and use the online Member Forum for ad hoc benchmarking and referrals. The ACC Legal Ops section is active throughout the year, adding resources, and conducting benchmarking studies, webinars and virtual roundtables by legal operations professionals, for legal ops professionals.

For more information, visit or contact

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Contributing Editor:

Going for the "Holy Grail"
The Key to Developing Discovery & Operations Leaders
Program Highlights of the 2016 Legal Operations Conference
An Introduction to Asking for More
Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!
ACC Legal Operations
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