Last year, Clocktimizer was a sponsor of the Legal Marketing Association’s P3 conference. For those unaware, the three P’s stand for pricing, process improvement and project management. All of which are key to matter management and which Clocktimizer supports. Unsurprisingly, then, this is one of our favourite conferences to attend. Following such a successful event last year, we jumped on board again to sponsor this year’s event on the 12th to the 14th of June. Having caught our breath, and had a chance to relax and think back over the past few days, we decided to share our highlights of what was another highly informative and enjoyable conference.

Clocktimizer a year on

Given that it has been a year since we last demo’ed at P3, it was exciting to see how far Clocktimizer has come in that time. Last year we talked through how Clocktimizer supports our customers in building fee quotes, managing budgets and providing profitability insights. This year, we were able to show a much more rich platform designed to help law firms use their own data to answer questions. This could be simpler questions like ‘what is my most profitable practice group’? Or it could be more complex questions like ‘is there a relationship between profitability and the industry my matters are for’ or ‘how does our investment in a new due diligence software affect our matters, both in terms of price and in terms of resources’?

We have been working hard on the Clocktimizer platform itself for the past year. Our fee arrangements can now be directly transformed into budgets. Our budgets can also be turned into templates for similar matters. Better yet, we have made budgets themselves more bespoke. As well as automatically tracking time logged under a matter, you can set custom notifications. Which means if you do not want a senior partner to log hours in phase one of the matter, you can set an alert to warn you if this happens. For the more complex questions we also introduced our Machine Learning Engine. Demonstrating the ways AI can support firms in deciding whether there is causation or simply correlation between two data points was definitely a highlight for us.

Diversity was front and center

The conference kicked off with a keynote from Dr Arin Reeves of Nextions. It was refreshing to hear a keynote speech at a legal conference that set out to discuss implicit bias and the ways the industry can avoid and address it. It’s something we’ve touched on before at our Women in Legal Tech event, and Dr. Reeves shared some excellent tips.

Seek and embrace productive disagreement. Coming to a consensus is not conducive for decision making. It creates false agreement and adoption of the idea will fall by 50%. Everyone’s ideas should be heard and valued, with no “winners” or “losers” on either side.
Think of new inclusive habits as experiments and not permanent changes. Humans are change-averse, but positioning change as an experiment bypasses the part of the brain that thinks in terms of winning and losing.
For challenging conversations, choose walking over sitting still. The minute we see someone, unconscious reactions are triggered. Studies show unconscious bias goes away when walking with someone and not looking at them directly.

Dr. Reeves – LMP P3 Conference

Offering discounts is not a substitute for communication

Casey Flaherty, as ever, was another conference highlight. Last year he hosted an excellent panel debating ‘whose fault is it’? This year, he and Jae Um closed out the conference discussing the problems between firm/client communication. now this topic certainly isn’t anything new. Most legal conferences will have at least one session covering this. However, Casey and Jae noted that one of the biggest issues is the very clear ways bad communication loses money for firms. How? Through discounts.

Far too many law firms are offering a discount as a way of excusing a lack of communication. Offering a low fee quote, or having to discount at the end through poor execution is hitting firms hard. The solution is to have a fee quote based in data, communicate that fee quote thoroughly and then use data and excellent project management (again with strong client communication) to ensure the matter progresses as intended. Any surprises can be quickly communicated to a client and dealt with on time, avoiding later discounting. After all, as our CEO Pieter says

Pricing might bring in the work, but execution (LPM) ensures the bills get paid

Pieter van der Hoeven

Thanks to LMA!

We also want to share a big thanks to the Legal Marketing Association for organising another excellent edition of P3. It is a genuinely fun and informative conference with new topics and a fresh take. Congratulations!