As I mentioned I would do, I live tweeted last week’s LexisNexis-sponsored panel, “Evolution or Revolution? The Future of the Law Firm Business Model.” Republished below are my tweets from that event. (Note: Read them from the bottom up.) I also wrote a recap of the panel today at Legal Blog Watch.

The panelists were:

And now, on to the tweets. Remember, read from the bottom up.

  1. That is the end of the Lexis Nexis panel. from TweetDeck
  2. Sabatino: I’m member of bd of dirs of ACC. This is step, but not a panacea. from TweetDeck
  3. Baer of Qwest: A good first step to gather more data and make us more intelligent consumers from TweetDeck
  4. Question from audience about new rating service of Assn of Corp Counsel. Is this valuable? from TweetDeck
  5. Cunniff: Careers will be more customized from TweetDeck
  6. Sabatino: Law firms are transparent and built on model of trust from TweetDeck
  7. Henderson: Smaller firms will make more money from TweetDeck
  8. Helfer: firms are more entreprenurial from TweetDeck
  9. Walsh: Core law firm model has changed from TweetDeck
  10. Kalis: Law firms are bigger from TweetDeck
  11. Baer: Law firms are smaller from TweetDeck
  12. In 2015, what’s different? from TweetDeck
  13. Martin Cunniff of Howrey: You have to create incentives within th efirm to put time and money in training. from TweetDeck
  14. Kalis: K&L; Gates morphed into a diamond strucutre some time ago, requires more lateral hiring. from TweetDeck
  15. Kalis: I went to law school at age 30, that little bit of extra experience made a world of difference from TweetDeck
  16. Kalis: Education of lawyers is like a shared-custody situation among schools, firms and legal depts from TweetDeck
  17. Kalis: The training of young lawyers is a continuum from schools to firms and on. We are effectively sharing in that training. from TweetDeck
  18. Kalis: Law schools are too hard on themselves. No MBA prog
    ram compares to the process of puting out a law review. from TweetDeck

  19. Kalis of K&L; Gates: We do train associates in work environments and give them real-world experience. from TweetDeck
  20. Walsh: Why has it taken so long to begin to provide law students with better training in skills they need. from TweetDeck
  21. Henderson: We’ve got them for three years in law school, and all we teach them is law. Opportuity to emphasize skills in legal education. from TweetDeck
  22. Walsh: technology can help associates get up to speed more quickly, but not only answer. from TweetDeck
  23. Walsh: that training has to occur within the law firm. Question is to have a biz model that supports that. from TweetDeck
  24. Michael Walsh of LexisNexis: Customers want to see better trained lawyers. they don’t want to spend on associate training. from TweetDeck
  25. Helfer: I’m indifferent to whether they learned skills at law school or at a firm. from TweetDeck
  26. Helfer, GC at Citigroup: We never hire inhouse who don’t have at least 4-5 yrs of experience, we’re hiring for expertise from TweetDeck
  27. Sabatino of Schering-Plough: How do you get law schools to make sure grads have those other skill sets? from TweetDeck
  28. Henderson: The market does not reward interpersonal skills in law students, it rewards LSAT scores. from TweetDeck
  29. Henderson: Law firms look for people with interpersonal skills, as long as they went to Harvard or Yale from TweetDeck
  30. Henderson of Indiana law school: Law firms hire on the basis of the people who we admit. from TweetDeck
  31. Cunniff: Clients are looking to have someone make a problem go away, not can u come up with a cert petitiion issue to change the law from TweetDeck
  32. Martin Cunniff of Howrey: Clients are often concerned with soft skills — teamwork, etc — and assume legal competency. from TweetDeck
  33. Kalis: If it is work worthy of lawyers, someone in the legal department has to own the hiring decision. from TweetDeck
  34. Baer: But much of spend is on commodotized work, not bespoke work that requires that judgment. from TweetDeck
  35. Baer of Qwest: I wldn’t let procurement near our function. the only way to evalue firms is thru exercise of judgement. from TweetDeck
  36. Helfer of Citigroup: I agree. At end of day, the GC is responsible for the legal services, so we’re going to choose the lawyers we use. from TweetDeck
  37. Kalis: Insi
    nuation of procurement function undermines the role of the GC and causes erosion of trust. from TweetDeck

  38. Kalis: I hear u talk about measuring value, to me it’s a question of judgment by the GC of which firms are adding value. from TweetDeck
  39. Kalis: Same people who buy toilet paper shldn’t be procuring law firms. from TweetDeck
  40. Kalis of K&L; Gages: Insinuation of procurement function into procurement of law firms ruins ability to develop trust. from TweetDeck
  41. Henderson, Indiana law prof: I try to communicate to my students, if you can get someone’s trust, you’ll make a living for a lifetime from TweetDeck
  42. Helfer: Need to understand that wil sometimes pay vastly more under an alt fee, but that’s fine with me, depending on the value from TweetDeck
  43. Helfer: Alt fees require a lot of trust betw law firm and client; that trust is built over time, so creates a huge barrier to entry from TweetDeck
  44. Helfer GC at Citigroup: Data on value is hard to get. Data on results can be obtained. from TweetDeck
  45. Baer: We know value when we see it — the obscenity approach. from TweetDeck
  46. Baer GC at Qwest: Alternative fees not a panacea. They’ve been a train wreck for us. Issue is how you truly measure value. from TweetDeck
  47. Walsh of LexisNexis: this can’t be driven by one side or the other; firms and clients must collaborate and have a dialogue. from TweetDeck
  48. Sabatino: To achieve true synergy, need to create a better model for clients and firms to work together from TweetDeck
  49. Sabatino, former GC of Schering-Plough: We have met the enemy and it is us. Inhouse counsel have been horrible about promoting alt. fees from TweetDeck
  50. Kalis: the client community’s increasing openness now to alternative fees will cause more firms to go in that direction. from TweetDeck
  51. Kalis: but when we tried to take that model to other clients, we were opposed. Corp law depts are now opening to alt. fee arrangements from TweetDeck
  52. Kalis: 30% of our revenues this year will be alternative fee generated. But we made more money on our alternative fee agreements. from TweetDeck
  53. Kalis of K&L; Gates on alternative fees: I was told in mid-90s that I need to get onto alternative fees. It became embedded in our culture from TweetDeck
  54. Henderson: Go back to 1948, 4% of law grads became associates in law firms, they mostly became general practitioners from TweetDeck
  55. Henderson: law students are concerned about pricing because they see it as tied to their potential salary from TweetDeck
  56. Martin Cuniff, Howrey: Companies will pay, but need to get what they’re paying for. from TweetDeck
  57. Helfer: I’m indifferet to profitablity of firms. I care about what they charge and do for me. from TweetDeck
  58. Ques: Billing and value. Are law firms too profitable? Surveyed lawyers say No, corp counsel say they are. from TweetDeck
  59. Henderson of Indiana law: The rate of rise in law firm biz will not continue to rise at some rate. Price pressure. from TweetDeck
  60. Walsh: What I hear among CEOs, priority is innovation. I almost never hear that from managing partners. from TweetDeck
  61. Walsh: Very difficult to change core firm biz model. from TweetDeck
  62. Walsh of Lexis: I wld be surprised if we don’t see continued growth, but firms that can adapt and innovate will come out on top from TweetDeck
  63. Helfer of Citigroup: 2/3 of my legal spend this year was in U.S., even though our biz is only half in U.S. from TweetDeck
  64. Kalis: Lots of midlevel expertise in firms will be needed, start selling to clients what they want to buy, knowledge, experience and skill s from TweetDeck
  65. Kalis: Morphing from pyramidcal structure to diamond shaped structure. from TweetDeck
  66. Kalis: But demand for 2nd year associate flying across country is not there. A trend in firms is expertise on a global model from TweetDeck
  67. Kalis: Cross-border biz is lawyer intensive at a rarified level of expertise. from TweetDeck
  68. Kalis: The prediction that the demand will be reduced is wishful thinking. Not going to happen. from TweetDeck
  69. Kalis: Government intrusion into private markets creates lawyer intensive enterprises. from TweetDeck
  70. Kalis: A lot of modest sized clients are now competing in global markets. They have requirement s for domestic legal advice re foreign law from TweetDeck
  71. Kalis of K&L; Gates: A lot of discussion is divorced from understanding of biz model not of firms, but of clients. from TweetDeck
  72. Helfer: Fundamental question facing firms is whether we’ll see a continuing increase in demand as in the past. My answer is no. from TweetDeck
  73. Helfer: Law firm model has been to buy wholesale and sell retail. That works fine when demand for legal services is rising. from TweetDeck
  74. Helfer: Law firms should develop their own biz models. Can’t paint industry with a single brush. from TweetDeck
  75. Michael Helfer, GC, Citigroup: management at law firms has not traditionally been valued, we’ve had well managed firms and poorly mnged from TweetDeck
  76. Walsh: The factors that make the legal industry slow to change won’t change soon: fractionalized leadership. from TweetDeck
  77. Walsh: But there has not been fundamental innovation in the law firm model. Pockets of it out there, but the core hasn’t changed. from TweetDeck
  78. Michael Walsh, CEO LexisNexis: The industry changes very slowly, but it has changed. from TweetDeck
  79. Baer: We are the only industry that is proud that it does not embrace change. from TweetDeck
  80. Baer: Now technology can do some of the redundnat work that associates formerly did, saving millions of dollars. from TweetDeck
  81. Baer: Technology has to be embraced and understood by law firms and by inhouse counsel from TweetDeck
  82. Richard Baer, GC at Qwest: This isn’t an adversarial situation between clients and firms from TweetDeck
  83. Henderson: The legal market is maturing. Consumers are more sophisticated. from TweetDeck
  84. Henderson: From an in-house perspective, the trusted advisor is now the inhouse counsel. from TweetDeck
  85. Bill Henderson, Indiana law prof: You have to look at how the profession changed in terms of who clients and who firms are from TweetDeck
  86. Ques: Is there more transparency now? from TweetDeck
  87. Sabatino: A built in inefficiency in way law firm, law departmetn, law schol model works from TweetDeck
  88. Sabatino: finally, both clients and firms recognize mutuality of interest in finding solution to problems we have. from TweetDeck
  89. Sabatino: shldn’t be “us-them”, shld be synergy between clients and firms from TweetDeck
  90. Sabatino, former GC at Schering-Plough from TweetDeck
  91. Ques: State of the present law firm model? from TweetDeck
  92. I really do believe that many companies that criticize law firms have performed poorly for their owners. from TweetDeck
  93. Kalis is chairman of K&L; Gates from TweetDeck
  94. Law firms have, in fact, been extremely nimble in this environment, Kalis says from TweetDeck
  95. If we can use industry to include legal education, the one clear item that has been exposed is the rigidity of the legal education model from TweetDeck
  96. There are firms out there that for a long time have viewed fees as tied to value proposition, as a cafeteria choice for the client from TweetDeck
  97. Kalis: Use of term “industry” assumes monolithic community of law firms. That is fallacy. from TweetDeck
  98. Kalis: to talk about long term change, need to ride out the cycle from TweetDeck
  99. Peter Kalis, K&L; Gates: Six months is not eough to talk about a trend. from TweetDeck
  100. Question: what’s the most permanent change you’ve seen in last six months in law firm model from TweetDeck
  101. For list of panelists, see here: from TweetDeck
  102. Lawyers do not feel adequatly prepared with biz skills, survey found from TweetDeck
  103. LexisNexis did study of law firm biz model from TweetDeck
  104. Panel is composed of GC, law firm partners and LexisNexis execs from TweetDeck
  105. I will try to post occasional tweets from the LexisNexis event on the future of the law firm, from TweetDeck
Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.