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  • May 23, 2024 5:42 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    Jill Zwetchkenbaum Senior Manager of Client Relations | Goulston & Storrs; and Patrick Fuller Chief Strategist, Legal ALM

    As June approaches, legal professionals and industry leaders are gearing up for one of the most anticipated events of the year: the Legal Sales & Service Organization’s (LSSO) RainDance conference. Renowned for its innovative concepts and insightful discourse, RainDance is more than just a gathering—it’s a nexus for transformative ideas and collaborative engagement. With this year’s focus on Sales & Service Education Discussions (SSEDs), attendees can expect a redefined experience that promises to elevate their understanding of client acquisition, retention, and organizational growth.

    Understanding the significance of every attendee’s time, we've curated a guide to help you prioritize and make the most of your experience at RainDance. From capitalizing on networking opportunities to leveraging educational sessions, here are key ways to ensure a productive and rewarding conference experience:

    1. Embrace the SSED Format:

    The shift towards shorter, more dynamic sessions presents a unique opportunity to engage with diverse topics and speakers. Embrace this format by actively participating in discussions, asking questions, and sharing your insights. Remember, the essence of RainDance lies in the exchange of ideas, and SSEDs serve as catalysts for meaningful dialogue. 

    2. Prioritize Networking Opportunities:

    RainDance isn’t just about absorbing information—it’s also about building connections. Take advantage of the frequent networking breaks peppered throughout the agenda to mingle with fellow attendees, speakers, and industry experts. Whether you’re exchanging business cards over coffee or engaging in deep conversations during breakout sessions, networking can open doors to new collaborations and opportunities.

    3. Customize Your Learning Experience:

    With a plethora of sessions covering various aspects of legal sales and service, it’s essential to tailor your schedule to align with your professional interests and objectives. Review the conference agenda beforehand and identify sessions that resonate with your current challenges or areas of growth. By curating your learning experience, you can extract maximum value from each session and leave RainDance equipped with actionable insights.


    4. Stay Open-Minded and Curious:

    RainDance is a melting pot of perspectives, experiences, and strategies. Approach each session with an open mind and a willingness to explore novel ideas. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the legal industry, there’s always something new to learn. Stay curious, engage with diverse viewpoints, and be receptive to unconventional approaches—these encounters often spark innovation and drive progress.

    5. Follow Up and Stay Connected:

    The connections you forge at RainDance shouldn’t end when the conference concludes. Follow up with fellow attendees and speakers via email, LinkedIn, or other professional networks to continue the conversation and nurture relationships. Share your key takeaways, exchange resources, and explore opportunities for collaboration. Connect with our sponsors, of course too!

    In conclusion, the LSSO RainDance conference is designed to empower legal professionals with the knowledge, insights, and connections needed to thrive in an ever-evolving industry landscape. By capitalizing on networking opportunities, embracing the SSED format, and customizing your learning experience, you can maximize your time at RainDance 2024 and emerge inspired, informed, refreshed, and ready to enact change.

  • May 14, 2024 7:32 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    Raya Blakeley-Glover | Global Head of Business Development at Bird & BirdAdam Severson, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer | Baker Donelson

    Trust is an essential component in the realm of professional services, playing a pivotal role in shaping successful interactions and engagements between service providers and their clients (internal and external.) This article delves into the nature of trust in a professional context, exploring how professionals can build, maintain, and restore trust within their business relationships.

    Establishing Trust: The Foundational Elements

    Building trust in a professional services setting begins by demonstrating expertise. This isn’t just about showcasing knowledge, but also about applying that knowledge effectively to meet your clients' specific needs and challenges. Professionals must prove their technical ability in a way that provides value to their clients and to their client’s business.  Demonstrating expertise in this way reassures clients of your capability and is an important foundation to establishing trust.

    Reliability is another critical component of trust. Reliability is cultivated by being consistent and by doing what you say you are going to do.  Examples of reliability are meeting deadlines, following through on commitments, and showing up prepared for every interaction.  These measures establish a track record of dependability that strengthens trust. This needs to be maintained throughout the course of a relationship, so that trust is not lost.

    Demonstrating curiosity, understanding and empathy towards your client’s particular situation and concerns also plays a pivotal role in building trust. This begins with active listening—paying close attention to your client's words and underlying priorities.  Asking open-ended questions is a great way to elicit this information from clients. You want to show that you not only hear but understand the challenges your clients face. By empathizing with these challenges and reflecting this understanding in their actions and suggestions, you can align yourself more closely with your client's objectives, further deepening trust.

    Communicating to Build and Sustain Trust

    Communication is a vital tool in building and sustaining trust. Effective communication is characterized by transparency, timeliness, and adapting delivery to suit your client's preferences. For instance, some clients may prefer detailed reports, while others might appreciate concise executive summaries. Understanding and adapting to these preferences without compromising the quality or integrity of the information is key to maintaining trust.

    Proactive communication is particularly effective in strengthening trust. This involves anticipating potential issues that might impact your client and addressing them before they escalate. By informing your client about possible risks and the steps being taken to mitigate them, you can demonstrate foresight and a commitment to the client’s best interests. This proactive approach not only prevents problems but also reinforces the client's perception of you as attentive and forward-thinking.

    Feedback is an essential part of trustworthy communication. It is important to get feedback from clients on both the substantive services provided as well as on the communication they receive.  This feedback needs to be listened to and actively incorporated into future interactions. By showing a willingness to adapt you will reinforce your commitment to meeting your client's needs and preferences, which is a great way to sustain trust over the long term.

    The Role of Integrity in Trust

    Integrity is the bedrock upon which professional trust is built. This involves more than just honesty; it encompasses a broader commitment to ethical behaviour and fairness in all that you do.  Professionals must ensure that their actions consistently reflect their values and principles. This congruence between words and actions reassures clients of your integrity, which is critical for trust.

    By prioritizing integrity, situations that could lead to conflicts of interest or other ethical issues can be avoided. One example of this is being transparent about capabilities and limitations, ensuring that you don’t promise more than you can deliver.

    Taking responsibility for one’s actions is another way to demonstrate integrity, and this is especially important when things go wrong. Owning your mistakes and taking clear, corrective actions without shifting blame shows integrity and enhances credibility. This accountability helps in managing the current challenge but also solidifies the foundation of trust being built.

    Long-term Strategies for Trust Maintenance

    Maintaining trust requires ongoing effort. Regularly checking in on clients, seeking feedback, and adjusting to meet evolving needs are practices that help sustain trust. Maintaining your own personal and professional development is also important, for example, staying on top of industry trends demonstrates a commitment to excellence and reliability.

    Professionals should strive for consistency in their service delivery, ensuring that every interaction with their clients reinforces the trust they have built. This includes everything from quality of work to timeliness of communications as well as respect and courtesy every interaction.

    Everyone Makes Mistakes!

    Mistakes and misunderstandings are inevitable in any professional relationship. However, effectively addressing and recovering from these setbacks is what truly tests the strength of trust. When something goes wrong, it’s important to immediately acknowledging the mistake, communicating openly with your client, and your manager or team, and outlining steps to fix the problem.

    These conversations should focus on resolution, rather than blame. This might involve developing a detailed plan to prevent future mistakes of the same nature and taking visible steps to implement this plan. By dealing with setbacks transparently and responsibly, you will reassure clients as well as internal stakeholders and restore damaged trust.

    Restoring trust also requires a look back at where things went wrong. This analysis should be thorough and honest. You can involve your client in these processes which shows genuine commitment to improvement, also reinforcing the partnership’s resilience.


    Trust within professional relationships requires attention and ongoing nurturing. By focusing on competence, communication, integrity, and responsive actions, you can establish and maintain trust with your clients. Such efforts, while demanding, lead to greater client loyalty, sustained business success, and the personal satisfaction of cultivating meaningful, lasting professional relationships. These foundational elements ensure that trust remains a dynamic and vital component of all professional interactions.

  • April 29, 2024 6:10 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    Note: This is an AI generated article courtesy of Goldcast

    In a recent insightful webinar titled "Walk the Walk: Earning Trust with Your Internal and External Clients", experts from the legal industry shared dynamic dialogues filled with perceptive opinions and experiences. The speakers, Raya Blakeley Glover, Global Head of Business Development at Bird & Bird, and Adam Severson from Baker Donelson, unveiled the secrets on how to build trust and credibility in the legal industry. Here, we will highlight five key takeaways from the webinar summarized into actionable steps for business development professionals within the legal industry.

    1. Understanding is the First Step to Trust

    In any client-advisor relationship in the legal field, trust plays a paramount role. According to Raya, to gain trust, it’s essential for all professionals to grasp a thorough understanding of the legal profession. She argues for a deep understanding of what your firm is selling, underlying that it improves credibility and, eventually, trust. Adam echoes her sentiments, emphasizing how understanding the practice of law and the legal firm's offerings can help build the quintessential trust with both internal and external clients.


    2. Value Addition and Intellectual Curiosity 

    The speakers stress the significance of adding value and intellectual curiosity in their roles. Quotes from the webinar like "Understanding what your firm is selling is really important.” and "Intellectual curiosity and really trying to get under the skin of those areas of business." highlight the importance of continual learning. According to the speakers, being curious, inquiring, and deciphering the commercial context of a target are pivotal to supporting lawyers and offering valuable insights.


    3. Importance of Networking and Relationships

    Both Raya and Adam emphasize the role of relationships, particularly alumni relationships, for successful business development. They argue that networking and maintaining connections with influencers, former colleagues, and potential clients can result in new leads and opportunities. With platforms like LinkedIn, building, cultivating, and maintaining these relationships has become easier than ever before.


    4. Trust and The 'Say Do Gap'

    Significantly, our speakers discussed the 'say-do gap', essentially the alignment between what one promises to do and what they actually deliver. According to Adam, a professional's credibility greatly depends on this alignment or gap. Raya adds that effective communication is crucial in managing expectations and closing the 'say-do gap'. Owning up and learning from past mistakes, rather than blaming, also plays a crucial role in sustained trust building.


    5. Getting to Know Your Clients and Teams

    The final takeaway from the webinar is to be an active listener and ask meaningful questions to understand your clients or team's preferences and expectations better. Both speakers deem it essential to understand what excites the team, how they like to be recognized, and how they envision their development. Such deep connections are quite crucial when starting a new team or firm.


    Overall, building trust within the legal profession hinges on understanding and adding value, forging powerful relationships, managing the 'say-do gap', and getting to know your clients better. These impressive professionals offer up a road map for those in the legal profession, providing key advice to build trust with clients and peers alike.


    Ultimately 'Walk the Walk: Earning Trust with Your Internal and External Clients' is more than just a webinar title - it is a philosophy every professional should aspire to live by. As Raya beautifully quotes at the end, "BD and MBD having an understanding of that commercial context and being able to show some of that value is another way to really earn that credibility", reminding us all to keep walking the walk.

  • March 28, 2024 5:07 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    Author Jill Zwetchkenbaum | LSSO Editorial Board Co-Chair

    Continuous growth and learning are essential for success, irrespective of your level of experience. In the legal sales and service industry, the intellectual pursuit of growth is a shared trait among us all. And while major strategies and initiatives for learning and growth are crucial, it's often the small, daily habits and mindset shifts that can make a significant impact over time and effect real change. The good news is that most of the time, it’s not about reinventing the wheel; rather, it’s about taking advantage of what’s already in front of you. Drawing from the wealth of knowledge within our own circles and fostering a culture of learning from colleagues can yield invaluable insights and foster professional development. Here are five small practices that I work to incorporate into my daily routine to fuel growth, which I hope can help you do the same:


    1. Ask Probing Questions: We’re always corresponding with our colleagues, so how can we make interactions more meaningful? For example, when debriefing with a colleague after a meeting, use it as a chance to learn. Instead of just discussing outcomes, such as “How do you think that meeting went?”, delve deeper by asking probing questions to colleagues like, "How did you prepare for that meeting?" or “What resources or examples helped you develop your knowledge and confidence in this area?" Or, if a colleague shares an interesting piece of news or an article where a client or topic of importance is mentioned, don’t be afraid to use it as a trigger for a broader conversation with that colleague by asking, “How did you come across that article?” “What sources do you subscribe to?” “Why did you circulate this article and not XYZ article?” These questions and instances not only show genuine interest but also allow you to understand the thought processes and strategies behind successful initiatives. By learning from others' approaches, you can refine your own methods and expand your skill set.


    2. Commit to Continuous Learning (including outside of your immediate world!): Allocate time each day to consume content, whether it's articles, podcasts, webinars, or professional development courses. Stay updated on emerging trends, best practices, and innovative strategies within legal marketing and business development. That said, sometimes, the content you may need to level up will not be within the legal umbrella. If your role focuses on customer/client service, make sure you are just as attuned to that world, same goes for technology, employee engagement, or something else. Actively seek out opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skills, and be open to looking outside the norm to learn new techniques to stay ahead. Plus, these snippets of knowledge make great fodder for beginnings of meetings (and shows you are paying attention!).


    3. “Get Ahead of It” & Embrace Feedback: Cultivate a growth mindset by proactively seeking feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and internal/external clients, where appropriate, on a regular basis. Instead of viewing feedback as criticism, see it as an opportunity for growth and development. If anything, show you’re getting ahead of it; actively solicit feedback after projects or client interactions, and use it to adapt and refine your strategies moving forward. And, instead of asking colleagues “How do you think I did?”, try asking probing questions geared towards specific competencies, such as: "What do you think were the key takeaways, and did I effectively address the main objectives?" “Did everything flow smoothly, or were there any instances where you felt it could have been better structured?" "Were all relevant stakeholders actively engaged, or were there any voices that seemed overlooked or underrepresented?" "Were there any missed opportunities or topics that should have been addressed during the meeting but weren't?"


    4. Network… Strategically: While it's tempting to attend every event, conference, and networking program, it's important to be selective to make the most of your time. Prioritize events that align with your goals and target audience. Consider factors such as the relevance of the event to your practice area, the caliber of attendees, and the potential for meaningful connections. If people you respect and look up to will be in attendance, it should certainly be on your radar. If there is obvious personal gain to attending (especially compared with not attending), consider going. And consider these factors all the time. And when you do attend events, engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas, and explore collaboration opportunities. Follow up with people, and don’t forget to do that (considering it’s one of the biggest pieces of advice we give!). Building a strong network not only enhances your visibility and credibility but also opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships. It is not about the quantity of events you attend but the quality of connections you make.


    5. Don't Let “Perfect” Be the Enemy of “Good”: In our fast-paced worlds, responsiveness and execution are often paramount. However, it's easy to fall into the trap of striving for perfection at the expense of progress – or using it as an excuse to move forward. While continuous improvement is essential, waiting for the perfect moment or solution can hinder growth and success (and lead to angry and frustrated people/clients). Instead, focus on making incremental improvements and taking action. Instead of thinking “I’ll add that to my list for the next meeting”, can you send a quick e-mail now to get the ball rolling? Or, instead of waiting for the debrief meeting or adding something to next year’s goals, can you get a jump on action items, or take some steps, immediately? Being responsive to changing circumstances and seizing opportunities swiftly can give you the competitive edge, and help define you as that “trusted advisor” we all look to be for our internal and external clients.


    Incorporating these small daily practices and mindset changes into your professional routine can have a profound impact on your growth and development. Growth is not just about big leaps forward, but also about the small steps we take each day to expand our knowledge, skills, and perspective.

  • January 25, 2024 5:28 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    Author: Michele Bisceglie - Director, Business Development & Strategic Initiatives | SCG Legal & Member, LSSO Editorial Board

    I was recently part of a pitch conversation where the person sitting (virtually) across from me proudly stated they “purposely didn’t do any research” prior to our meeting because they like to learn about their potential partners “organically.”

    If that scenario sounded like nails on a chalkboard to you, I say: same.*

    But it was a good reminder that we tend to put ‘sales’ before ‘service’ in our minds, in our sentences, in our strategies, even in our titles. (No shade, all love LSSO!)

    And that’s not wrong. The two certainly can be – frequently are – sequential in nature. But I respectfully remind us of a theory that…perhaps…we should think of them as concurrent.

    To rephrase the iconic Glengarry Glen Ross expression: ABC means Always Be Caring.

    The foundation for exceptional client service starts long before a pipeline is developed or prospect considered. To seamlessly succeed on this deliverable – whether it’s during a scheduled interaction or at a moment’s notice when time, money, reputation, or equally significant thing is on the line – a culture of caring must not only be omnipresent but palpable.

    Simple to say, but oh how elusive to put into practice (and blatantly obvious when forced or contrived). The variables are limitless, conditions ever changing, and expectations often unspoken. Every year millions of dollars, hundreds of software applications, and a mind-numbing number of hours are dedicated to capturing and then capitalizing on details that help solidify…a feeling.

    How can something so subjective have such a major impact on our bottom lines?

    Handwritten thank you notes, popcorn tubs at the holiday, a meaningful birthday message, remembering to ask about a child’s soccer game, vibing over a shared love of vino…all good ways to help build rapport. And niceties you can direct or control.

    But the instances when a prospective or current client – not just the decision maker, but anyone in their camp – hears chatter about or experiences our product or service and we are not present to guide them cannot be controlled.

    This is when that ‘feeling’ really comes into play.

    Case in point: Years ago, I was a commissioned sales representative for a membership-based organization. Our attraction and conversion numbers were frequently positive. Our attrition numbers were terrible. (I mean, really bad.) When my sales colleagues and I suggested we find the root cause…and, you know, fix it…we were told that was not our concern. Our focus needed to be signing people up because that’s how we got paid. Did I mention part of our sales model was predicated on referrals? So, you see the problem, right? We were selling people on an experience but certainly were not always around to ensure it. We – just like the members – had to trust that promises made during the sales process would be kept. Alas, it was not to be. So, members didn’t suggest their personal and professional friends join. And, when their attempts to address issues failed to cause change, they resigned. But who really got hurt? Everyone! The members didn’t feel we valued them, their time or money, and certainly didn’t feel safe bringing people they cared about into a crummy situation. A solid revenue strategy was not available to the sales team, our colleagues didn’t make money from cross-selling products and services to happy members, staff turnover became a punchline, etc.

    I could not be happier to have had that training ground in my early career.

    Today we hear about building psychological safety[1] within our internal teams, but how about with our clients? If an attitude of care – whether shown by us as the relationship point person or our colleagues…in any capacity at any time – is something that flows through the organization’s veins, stellar reputations are etched, referrals become a way of business, sales ‘tactics’ become passé.

    Yes, our product or service still needs to live up to the hype, especially if what we’re selling is (totally or quasi) commoditized. But the magnetic pull of our caretaking can be so strong that clients don’t often leave us and competitors constantly try to emulate us.

    So how, pray tell, do we effect such a differentiator?

    We model the behavior we want to see in others (and not just when the spotlight of a pitch is on). We show respect from the front door to the boardroom. Every time. We do our homework. Meet opportunities prepared. Don’t assume. Ask questions. Seek out and address concerns. Honor budgets and timelines. Offer compliments and constructive feedback. Support. Suggest. Champion. Commiserate. Apologize. Say please. Say thank you.

    We treat a client’s business as if it’s our own. We acknowledge and assuage any real, perceived, or pop-up fears, helping clients consistently feel confident they made the right choice to partner with us on their mission and matters. We prove in our actions and reactions at all organizational levels on both sides of a contract that our sales pitch promises are not hallow rhetoric.

    We treat each client service opportunity as if it’s a new point of sale. Because…isn’t it? And around and around and around we go.

    The beauty of adopting this course of action is that even if our ‘competition’ takes a similar approach, no two client service experiences will ever be the same so long as the people are different. And when this course of action is fully realized – with true authenticity – price tends to be less of a sticking point, introducing additional products and/or services tends to be a little easier, and forgiveness (when/if needed) tends to be more freely available.

    There are, of course, exceptions to every theory. But on this one, I’m OK with being accused of confirmation bias.

    Wishing you all good health, much happiness, and continued success in this new year and beyond!

    * In fairness, I offer that the person who was in the conversation with me is part of – by all outward appearances – a very successful organization and so may indeed be one of those exceptions to the theory.

    [1] What Is Psychological Safety? (

  • December 20, 2023 6:50 PM | Kate Hudson (Administrator)

    By David Kamien, CEO & Founder - Mind-Alliance Systems

    Law firms are turning towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance their operations and client services in the rapidly evolving legal landscape. The appeal of AI technologies, like ChatGPT, lies in their ability to leverage extensive data and knowledge resources. However, the effectiveness of AI is deeply rooted in the quality of the data it processes. This article explores the journey of a law firm as it prepares its data environment to deploy AI technologies effectively.

    The first step in that journey is to establish a data catalog, which is a metadata hub that describes the business and technical characteristics of data. The second step is to implement data fabric architecture. A data fabric connects all data and makes it accessible from one place. The most effective data catalogs rely on knowledge graphs to align, harmonize, and conform data to enterprise standards. The next step is implementing a Master Data Management solution for effective data quality and governance capabilities. Formalizing data governance policies and mechanisms for ensuring data privacy, regulatory compliance, and data security is the final step for revamping a law firm’s data management to prepare it for AI. 

    Data Catalog

    Imagine a global law firm looking to drive growth through Strategic Account Management (SAM), using AI to identify clients with the highest potential for revenue growth. The first challenge is organizing and analyzing client data accurately. This is where the concept of a data catalog comes into play. Administering a data catalog is the first step a law firm should take to prepare its data for AI.

    A data catalog serves as an organized inventory of the firm's data assets. These repositories codify and organize the metadata that describes data assets. They help users identify where their data is and understand what exactly it is, which is crucial for AI systems to function effectively. A framework like Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry (SALI) can aid in standardizing the way metadata terms appear across various systems. When those standardized terms are cataloged, the firm can ensure consistent understanding and usage of data across the board.

    Data Fabric Architecture

    Next, it’s incumbent on law firms to make their data available to users and consume applications via data fabric architecture. Firms must do more than simply catalog data to prepare it for AI applications. The data must be accessible and able to be integrated from various sources—in real-time—for effective analysis and decision-making. This is what a data fabric does. Data fabric architecture provides an integrated layer of harmonized data atop diverse sources, allowing seamless data access and analytics from a single locus. It extends the capabilities of data catalogs and knowledge graphs, democratizes data within the organization, and enables agile data governance. Some of the most effective data fabric implementations rely on knowledge graphs to align data according to standards and represent it in a uniform way that’s easily accessible to any number of applications—including those for AI.

    Knowledge Graphs

    The third step for law firms seeking to prepare their data for AI is to create a knowledge graph that ideally becomes part and parcel of their data fabric architecture. Unlike traditional databases that arrange data in rows and columns, knowledge graphs represent data as an interconnected network, mirroring real-world entities and their relationships. For a law firm, this means creating a web of data that connects cases, statutes, clients, and other relevant entities. This structure, which can serve as the integration layer in the data fabric architecture, is crucial for understanding the intricate connections unique to legal data and feeding AI systems like ChatGPT with contextually rich and structured information. Knowledge graphs can significantly enhance the accuracy of AI systems by providing them with a profound, contextual understanding of legal data. This advantage is redoubled when the terminology describing domain specific concepts is harmonized by frameworks like SALI and incorporated in the knowledge graph.

    Master Data Management and Data Governance

    The next step in this journey is to facilitate a MDM solution, which is a critical aspect of readying law firms’ data for AI applications. In this context, MDM would ensure that critical data points, like client names, are consistent and accurate across various source systems. This consistency is crucial for any AI-driven analysis or process, such as SAM. MDM provides firms a strong foundation for sophisticated data mining and AI applications by establishing clean and reliable reference data—and data quality levels that meet expectations for sustainable use of data over the long term.

    Data quality is an important facet of data governance, which is especially pivotal in the legal sector, where compliance, privacy, and security are paramount. Formalizing their data governance rules, personnel, and guardrails is the final step in getting data systems for law firms ready for AI applications. Effective data governance ensures AI systems adhere to the standards of various regulatory bodies and legislative requirements throughout their lifecycle, from data input and processing to the outputs of AI applications. Such governance also includes managing data access, ensuring privacy, and maintaining accuracy in AI responses.

    Holistic Data Management

    Integrating a data catalog, data fabric, knowledge graph, MDM, and data governance enables law firms to create a robust, AI-ready data environment. This integration doesn’t just enhance each component's individual capabilities. Ultimately, it transforms how data is accessed, organized, analyzed, and utilized. For AI to be successful, particularly in a domain as complex as law, effectively managing and structuring data is non-negotiable. With this comprehensive data management approach, firms can prepare their data for AI and set a new standard in legal data analytics and client service. The result is a robust metadata framework that would enable users to interact with their data in natural language, courtesy of AI technologies, to create clean, clear customer 360 records of clients, exploit relationships with them, and pinpoint opportunities to increase profitability.

    For law firms venturing into AI, the journey begins with understanding and organizing their data. By investing in a knowledge graph, establishing robust metadata management courtesy of a data catalog, and understanding the nuances of the business context of their data, firms lay the groundwork for AI technologies to yield trustworthy, precise, and valuable insights. Doing so is not just about adopting new technology; it's about transforming how law firms view and handle their data, unlocking the full potential of AI in the legal sector.



    Role in Data Management

    Relation to Other Technologies

    Data Catalog

    Serves as an organized inventory of the firm's data assets, facilitating data identification and understanding.

    It integrates with Data Fabric for seamless data access and feeds into the Knowledge Graph for contextual data understanding.

    Data Fabric

    Provides an integrated layer over diverse data sources, allowing for real-time access and analytics.

    Supports the Data Catalog by unifying data sources; enhances the capabilities of Knowledge Graphs through diverse data integration.

    Knowledge Graph

    Represents data as an interconnected network, mirroring real-world entities and their relationships.

    It relies on a Data Catalog for structured metadata and uses the integrated data from the Data Fabric for rich context and accuracy in AI applications.

    Master Data Management (MDM)

    Ensures consistency and accuracy of critical data points across various systems.

    Supports Data Catalog in maintaining standardized data; crucial for providing clean data to Data Fabric and Knowledge Graph.

    Data Governance

    Formalizes the roles, rules, and responsibilities for ensuring AI systems adhere to privacy, security, and legal compliance standards.

    Overarches all technologies, ensuring ethical and compliant data use in Data Catalog, Data Fabric, Knowledge Graph, and MDM.

  • November 24, 2023 1:01 PM | Michele Bisceglie (Administrator)

    Authors: Beth Cuzzone, Global Practice Group Leader, Deal Cloud at Intapp | Co-Founder of LSSO | Co-Chair of LSSO's Editorial Board | Member of LSSO's Board of AdvisorsJill Zwetchkenbaum, Associate Business Development Manager for Mintz

    The legal landscape has undergone a significant transformation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially as we look to 2024, the shift towards virtual interactions has not only become a necessity but has also presented law firms with new opportunities for growth and efficiency. Virtual selling, the process of engaging clients and closing deals online, has emerged as a crucial aspect of this paradigm shift. In this article, we explore the concept of virtual selling and provide law firms with seven proven best practices to thrive in this new reality.

    What Is Virtual Selling?

    Virtual selling is the art of selling products or services online or remotely, eliminating the need for face-to-face interactions between lawyers and clients. This approach leverages digital formats such as email, social media, video conferencing, and sales enablement platforms to connect with clients, showcase legal expertise, and facilitate seamless transactions. By embracing virtual selling, law firms can broaden their reach, reduce costs, and engage with clients from anywhere in the world.

    How to Sell Virtually

    Law firms looking to excel in virtual selling must adapt their strategies to the virtual environment. According to best practices, successful virtual selling for legal professionals involves a combination of frontstage and backstage activities.

    Frontstage Activities:

    1. Make it Personal:

    • Craft personalized prospecting emails tailored to the client's industry, role, or challenges.

    • Enhance engagement by including videos introducing lawyers and discussing relevant legal topics.

    2. Spend more time preparing for the meeting than AT the meeting itself:

    • Engage with stakeholders beforehand to address potential client questions and objections.

    • Utilize technology tools to practice and refine legal pitches, ensuring a flawless virtual presentation. Don’t skip the dress rehearsals!

    3. Create Sharable Materials and Track Engagement:

    • Utilize pre-recorded videos and content sharing tools to build trust and rapport with clients.

    • Track client engagement with shared materials to gauge interest and buying intent.

    Backstage Activities:

    1. Wow Them:

    • Keep virtual meetings short, interesting, and collaborative.

    • Build trust through creative gestures, such as sending client meeting kits or arranging food and drinks delivery.

    2. Stay Top of Mind:

    • Recap virtual conversations using personalized videos, voicemails, or voice notes to reinforce key points. Remember, the average email open rate across all industries is 20% and this continues to go up with inbox being oversaturated.

    With permission, add clients and prospects to your mailing lists and include that as part of your sales process. Then, drip-feed relevant content to maintain client engagement and stay on their radar.

    3. Nurture Relationships:

    • Conduct regular check-ins to discuss industry trends and share relevant legal content.

    • Utilize private communication channels, like digital sales rooms, to provide a personalized buying experience.

    4. Use Virtual Selling Tools:

    • Leverage video creation tools for personalized interactions.

    • Utilize content sharing technology and virtual meeting software for seamless communication.

    • Implement call recording and note-taking tools for efficient client interactions.

    • Utilize digital sales rooms to centralize relevant legal materials.

    For both the font stage and backstage activities, don’t forget to share your feedback and “wins” with your colleagues and at meetings where relevant, to institutionalize best practices and drive others to want to contribute to this success.

    The post-COVID legal landscape demands a strategic embrace of virtual selling. By personalizing interactions, preparing meticulously for virtual meetings, leveraging the right tools, and nurturing client relationships in a way that feels natural, law firms can navigate this new reality successfully.

    The adoption of virtual selling is not just a response to a crisis but an opportunity for law firms to redefine their client engagements, think more strategically about their differentiators, and elevate their standing in the digital era.

    Happy Selling!

  • October 24, 2023 8:18 AM | Michele Bisceglie (Administrator)

    Author: LSSO Editorial Board Member Frederick J. Esposito, Jr., MBA, CLM | COO, Rivkin Radler LLP

    Now that we are living in a post-COVID virtual world, the legal profession has taken new twists and turns, but much to the profession’s credit, it has been one of the more successful change management initiatives ever encountered. The landscape of the profession has changed, which in turn has initiated several cultural shifts in how law firms take on new business. With client demands placing even greater pressure on engagement budgeting and pricing, law firms are stepping up to the challenges while balancing the need for profitability. All of this brings us back to the 2008 recession – we remember the collapse of the real estate market, how credit dried up, and how law firms struggled through a most difficult time. The new business model that followed created an atmosphere for commoditized work – thus creating opportunities for third-party legal service providers such as LegalZoom – but more importantly, we saw a shift in client expectations and the need for ‘alternative’ pricing. In response, we saw many alternative fee or fixed fee boutique law firms emerging, so the business model for law firms radically changed with a renewed attention to pricing, legal project management, efficiency, business development, more client focus, and the biggest one of them all – value. The considerations that stemmed from 2008 still ring true, and even stronger today. Business development has taken the front seat and while demand has been fluctuating the last few months, we are starting to see a steady increase in demand and now law firms must be ready to engage. Clients have become more discerning, which has created a very competitive market for providing legal services. 

    What Do We See Happening?

    First, clients, particularly General Counsel, continue to push back on fees, looking for more predictability and creative pricing. While Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs), now referred to as Fee Arrangements (FA), and Legal Project Management (LPM) have been around for quite some time, they are making another strong comeback. In addition, today we are seeing more focus on not only LPM as a tool for managing legal work and FAs, but we are now adding Process Improvement to the mix.

    Second, pricing is no longer about getting the right price for the services provided; it has become more strategic and more integral to the development, sustaining, and maintaining books of business. Process Improvement provides the methodologies for evaluating processes for maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste so legal services can be provided at reduced cost or, at minimum, providing solid cost metrics for determining favorable pricing for clients and profit for the law firm.

    “Without Data You’re Just Another Person with An Opinion.” – W. Edwards Deming

    With changes in the law firm business environment taking place at an increasing rate, law firms need to take deeper dives into client, employee, competitor, financial and technology data – and much more – to fully understand how their firms really work. With respect to pricing and profitability, law firms need data from these areas to understand the factors that contribute to the cost of producing legal services. Also, they need to understand what their competitors are doing so they can differentiate their firms in a legal market that is looking for– or expects – now that the dynamics have changed. More important, law firms need to understand how they are measuring profit – by firm or practice group? client or matter? originating or working timekeeper? How are expenses allocated? Law firms can discuss income statements and financial performance, but do they have the necessary data to analyze and address the issues of cost to produce legal services, qualify and quantify firm risk, ascertain predictability in spend for clients? And do clients perceive the value of the services provided for the FA proposed? Herein lies opportunities for law firms.

    Law firms will need to rise to a new level of operational proficiency to effectively price legal services. Some of the metrics to consider in our ascent: efficiency, client retention, legal market, collaboration, leverage. and ‘fiscal hygiene.’

    Pricing and Process Improvement – Aye, That’s the Ticket!

    While there is a rebirth of FAs and LPM, there is also more focus on efficiency now that law firms are working in a post-COVID virtual market. During the last recession, FAs and profitability could be hit or miss. This was attributed to a lack of formal structure or deep focus on pricing strategies other than going through firm historical data and trying to get in line with legal service budgeting. One of the benefits of working virtually has been the added perspective of being able to see inefficiencies or ‘waste’ in preparing/providing legal services that, in turn, can produce excessive and unnecessary costs that impact pricing and profitability. 

    The knee-jerk for many law firms is to implement ‘quick fixes’ due to the urgency of delivering timely work product, and whether law firms realize it or not, they are diving headlong into a Process Improvement and management mode. Process Improvement is the added ticket that allows firms to consider HOW they are producing legal services and WHAT they can do to improve how they create and deliver value to the client.

    Process Improvement is a systematic practice of analyzing workflows and the steps taken to produce the current outcome. Law firms analyze the steps searching for issues, problems, AND opportunities, which includes the review of data as noted above, and then solving those problems by creating opportunities that are then developed and implemented for a more improved and efficient workflow. LPM steps in so we can manage the new process for continued optimum performance. It is clear the relationship between urgency and arriving at innovation has created opportunities for law firms to make needed process changes that will benefit firms operationally, but even more so strategically, with improved processes for better pricing and maximum profitability.

  • September 25, 2023 2:45 PM | Michele Bisceglie (Administrator)

    Author: LSSO Editorial Board Member Dave Whiteside Director, Client Growth & Success of CLIENTSFirst Consulting with Clinton Gary | Founder of Credo Consulting

    We have espoused for years that the two most valuable assets of a law firm are its collective relationships and experience. Like a track relay team passing the baton, relationships create opportunities and experience wins opportunities.  Before you can generate more revenue, you have to create and win more opportunities. That’s sales. And to amass a firm’s collective capabilities and select the most relevant to achieve the desired outcome. That’s experience management.   

    The question is - why don’t more firms invest in a robust experience management program to support their significant investment in their originating professionals – namely key client relationship partners, sales-oriented professionals, and marketing and business development teams – to create and win more opportunities? 

    How did we get here?

    “Experience Management” (EM) was initially seen as a non-billable activity instead of a strategic investment of time. Experience management was relegated to the discrete operational area of more efficient proposal creation. This short-sighted, tactical approach relegated most EM programs to mediocrity.

    Today, experience management is coming back to the forefront as firms have invested significantly in talent to meet more complex clients’ needs and service demands. EM leverages this investment by helping law firms expand their collective capabilities into a competitive advantage that drives growth.

    In this article, we cover how an experience management program can enhance each phase of the sales process and make a compelling case for firms to invest more in their EM programs to improve sales performance, create a more compelling experience for the buyer, and generate greater growth.   

    The Buying (Selling) Process

    Let’s utilize a sales model developed by Jason Mlicki, Principal with Rattleback, a marketing firm for professional services, which he calls the Arc of the Client’s Journey. The Arc represents the 4 stages a client goes through to become a client.

    1. Learning — Researching a big issue or critical business challenge.
    2. Vetting — Pre-qualifying potential solution providers.
    3. Discussing — Exploring their available options.
    4. Hiring — Negotiating an agreement to move forward.

    Let’s apply experience management to this process.

    #1 - LEARNING

    Historically, clients and professionals initiated conversations with outside counsel to create leads.  Today, clients research their issues via their preferred digital channels (before contacting outside counsel).

    How Experience Management Supports this Stage:

    • Law firms can create credible content, real-world case studies, and success storiesbased on experience, that demonstrates the firm's differentiating expertise and service in handling significant legal issues. This is important because “stories” are considered a more powerful form of content for engagement and persuasion. In this phase, an executive wants to find themselves in a story.
    • A good experience management program can help identify clusters of experiences that can serve as the foundation to develop effective industry-specific thought leadership.  And by “effective,” we mean the kind that is so compelling that it removes the buyer’s option of doing nothing, which is the greatest obstacle in the sales process.

    #2 – VETTING

    Once a buyer has framed an issue in their minds, they begin to assess the potential firms that emerge. This is where legal buyers filter firms by asking: 

    Do you understand my problem? Do you understand my business? Have you solved a problem like mine? Have you solved it for a company like mine?

    How Experience Management Supports this Stage:

    • Given that this vetting process is still predominantly performed though digital channels, a firm should manage its experience appropriately, so it can be offered through the firm’s website to empower the buyer to answer these questions. This includes the ability to do complex searches, such as “M&A (service) > Pharmaceuticals (industry) > Northeast (Geography).”  We see a significant number of searches that involve multiple variables and keywords.
    • Rankings can be painful in the creation of a compelling submission that actually represents the firm’s best recent experience. However, an EM program that is woven into the firm’s culture and attorney’s work processes makes rankings no longer a painful moment but a search of the database for relevant experience that only needs refinement.             


    This is usually the phase when proactive connections and meaningful conversations begin to happen. These discussions may be conducted informally or formally (RFI/RFP) or a combination.

    How Experience Management Supports this Stage:

    • A robust EM database allows quick searches for “best of” experiences to form elevator pitches and conversational pieces that advance a more seamless and authentic process, rather than “Yes, we do that” or “Let me get back to you.” 
    • Expanding EM to include experience, skills, aspirations, availability and other valuable characteristics for each professional helps our lead professionals more easily identify colleague attorneys to bring into the conversation to advance the process with more in-depth knowledge.  This extends to strategically staffing engagements for diversity and talent, not bound by geographic and practice silos. Think of it as an “internal LinkedIn” for your firm.
    • When a proposal request does arise, an integrated EM system positions your marketing and BD team to respond to requests more efficiently and effectively that includes the “best of” experience at all levels and more detailed statistics on outcomes (i.e., matters to trial and won), avoiding the lead partner or professional from using precious political capital in fire drills for updated experience.           

    #4 – HIRING

    Here a potential client transitions from exploring their options through direct conversation to hiring a firm, team, and attorney and moving forward. This is when our professional leading the sales process needs to assemble a pitch team, negotiate details, and provide the client the confidence in our approach.

    How Experience Management Supports this stage:

    • Returning to the power of stories. In the pitch, will you show a 30 slide PowerPoint of bios and firm accolades?  OR will you spend time listening to their issues and needs, and tell stories of service and success (strategically selected and rehearsed for a compelling buyers experience), build trust, and get to “yes?”
    • EM programs that capture assets related to an experience or matter, such as a proposal, pricing calculation, and project plan can support more effective negotiations and efficient project management (“don’t reinvent the wheel”).   

    Law firms aspiringly espouse to being “One Firm”. This is challenging today in our ever-expanding and complex firms, as there is constant growth and change.  Success in today’s legal world demands the critical ability to harness and leverage the firm’s collective and individual experience and capabilities to bring “One Firm” to the sales process.

    To learn more from Dave and about CLIENTSFirst Consulting, click here.

  • August 23, 2023 12:25 PM | Michele Bisceglie (Administrator)

    Author: David G. Kamien, CEO & Founder of Mind-Alliance Systems & Founding Member, LSSO SSSME Board*

    The relentless advance of technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), is not news. Yet, amid this revolution, a fundamental cornerstone still remains – data.

    Your firm's IT systems and content subscriptions house a gold mine of information, but problems such as inconsistent client names or misaligned metadata terms get in the way of optimally using this data. Without organized data, even the most advanced AI is rendered ineffective, adhering to the principle of garbage in, garbage out.

    Large language models (LLMs) and the Generative AI they power can quickly process, analyze and even generate human-like text from massive datasets. Imagine combining this AI with consistently named data thanks to the SALI ontology – an open-source standard ensuring that data across various platforms speaks the same language, enabling seamless integrations and insights.

    **The Power of Clean Data** 

    Mind-Alliance Systems estimates that law firms with consistent, clean data will enjoy a 70% faster response time to market shifts and a 45% increase in operational efficiency. This could mean swifter case resolution, more precise legal strategies, super-powered business development, and enhanced client satisfaction.

     **Navigating Ahead**

    The path to harnessing the future lies in our structured, 12-week accelerated project. It will enable your firm to craft a prototype that  is powered by well-organized, coherent data and by advanced AI to glean faster, better insights from your most valuable information. 

    Potential use cases include:

    • Searching for the right lawyers to staff a project based on structured and unstructured data stored in a knowledge graph and accessed via an AI chatbot

    • Filtering through your client base to strategically focus marketing and BD efforts on clients with the greatest revenue growth potential

    • Writing thought leadership alerts and articles efficiently by tapping into background reference data and ensuring that they resonate with target readers 

    By refining your data management strategy with our assistance, your firm –

    • Adapts more quickly to client needs,

    • Enables attorneys and administrative personnel to focus on higher value work, and

    • Positions itself as a beacon of innovation in the legal tech realm.

    You have the power to dramatically transform your firm's operations, client relations, and industry reputation.

     **Your Next Step**

    The journey might seem daunting, but the rewards are invaluable. Connect with experts who can guide your firm’s internal dialogue about your firm's data strategy and reliable AI applications. 

    The future beckons. With the right tools and strategy, your firm can lead the way. 

    *LSSO is privileged to have access to – and be supported by – numerous legal sales and service subject matter experts (SSSMEs). As a benefit to our members and the legal community at large, we have invited several of these industry-leading professionals to band together as a SSSME Board, which will regularly offer relevant and timely news, trends, strategies, and thought leadership on best practices as well as practical examples of what works…and what doesn’t.

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