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This Thursday, Clocktimizer was in London to take part in the annual Briefing Transformation conference. The conference took a look at the ways Top 100 UK firms are transforming their existing processes. First off, we’d like to congratulate Briefing on the excellent organisation of the event itself. Our CEO, Pieter, greatly enjoyed the opportunity to play with Lego and draw unicorns in the name of legal tech. He also spoke about some of the ways our own clients have used Clocktimizer to target innovation. Indeed, if this is something interesting to you then head to this blog post for more information. Inevitably, we also picked up some tips from the excellent speakers at the event. From the death of buzzwords, to the importance of incentive structures, here’s our three biggest takeaways.

The buzzword is (hopefully) dead

Well, not really. But the patience of the legal community with buzzwords certainly is. We’re no fans of buzzwords here at Clocktimizer (looking at you ‘blockchain paradigm shift’). But following a vote at the conference, we can definitively reveal the most hated legal tech term is….. Uberisation with 25% of the vote.

In the interests of fairness we’re sharing the other hated terms in order of (un)popularity. Legal tech marketing departments should pay close attention. ‘Agile’ came in a close second place with 21%. Sad news for lovers of the song “Small Town Girl”; ‘Journey’ was the third least popular buzzword. Rounding off the poll were ‘Disruption’, ‘AI-enabled’ and ‘Burning Platform’.

Cross selling got a makeover

Ironically, while buzzwords saw their demise, one more rose to take their place. Say goodbye to “Cross Selling”, and hello to ‘Smart Collaboration’. However, following an excellent speech by Jennifer Emery of CMS, we have seen the light. Research by CMS indicates how truly important cross selling, sorry, ‘Smart Collaboration’ is for a firm’s revenue. Many assume that increasing the work you do for a client, increases the revenue from that client only by the amount of extra work now performed. Self explanatory right? Turns out, that’s incorrect. As CMS discovered, when a client is served by more practice groups, the increase in revenue from that client can be up to fourteen fold. Smart Collaboration isn’t just important. It’s incredibly lucrative for firms.

Incentives need a re-think

Trevor Faure, in a remarkably prescient talk (Casey Flaherty has also recently written a piece with a similar theme) discussed why General Counsel need to rethink their incentive structures. While you may be forgiven for thinking the billable hour is dead, clearly no one has informed procurement. As Trevor pointed out, many relationships between in-house and external Counsel still work on the basis of billable hours. Furthermore, many of the things in-house Counsel describe as important, still aren’t made part of the contracts with law firms. Until in-house make it financially rewarding to work on a fixed fee basis (or indeed, punitive should they fail to do so) change is unlikely to happen. Trevor himself discussed how firms and Counsel should identify what they find valuable in a partnership before contracting. It may transpire that firms are willing to reduce their litigation workload in return for knowledge share from the client.