Reflecting on the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference

Last month our entire ContactEase team had the opportunity to attend the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee themed Imagine. The four-day conference had over 200 peer-developed educational sessions, numerous networking opportunities, and provided our team with the insights and inspirations to better partner with our clients and prospects.

Having our entire team at the conference also allowed us to come together afterwards and discuss the sessions we attended. These sessions varied from creating marketing and business development ROI to implementation and deployment best practices. With so many sessions and an overwhelming amount of content, we have decided launch a new blog series “ILTA Reflections.” Once a week until the end of October we will be reflecting on one of the sessions a team member has attended. Next week the series will kick off with the blog post “ILTA Reflections: Using Big Data To Measure Marketing and Business Development ROI.”

If you also attended the conference and are interested in sharing your take on a session we would love to share it here. Just send an email to marketing@colevalley.com with your session recap and we will post it here with you as our guest author!

Heartbleed

Heartbleed

Recently, a major security vulnerability named “Heartbleed” has made headlines around the world. This is a severe vulnerability stemming from a coding mistake in a widely-used security utility called OpenSSL. The bug affects the encryption technology designed to protect your sensitive data on the Internet, like usernames, passwords and emails. This is a flaw in the OpenSSL encryption code itself and not a virus that can be stopped by any consumer security/virus scan software.

With that being said, please note that ContactEase is not impacted by Heartbleed. Our web add-on components (such as Mobile Solutions, Mailing List Manager, Change Tracker, Online Update and RSVP Forms) are required to be installed on IIS web servers, which do not by default rely on OpenSSL.

It is still recommended that you check with your hosting provider or IT professionals to ensure your servers are not using OpenSSL. In addition, you may want to check with any online services that you use.

What You Should Do:

  • Confirm that both your internal web servers and hosted web servers are using a safe version of OpenSSL.
  • You can check which major online services have been effected using the list provided by Mashable.
  • Reset your password for every online service affected by Heartbleed. But beware: you should only change your password after the afflicted business has fixed its servers to remove the Heartbleed vulnerability. Changing your passwords before a company’s servers are updated will not protect your credentials from being leaked.
  • Follow best practices for creating passwords, using strong passwords.
  • Ask an IT professional inside your organization for additional tips to keep your accounts secure.

Learn More:
For specific legal vendor information related to Heartbleed, you can learn more on ILTA’s Connected Community.

Contact Us 
If you have questions regarding ContactEase and the Heartbleed security vulnerability please contact support@colevalley.com.

Client Satisfaction through Training and Technology

ILTA just released their March edition of Peer to Peer that focuses on client satisfaction as job number one. One of the articles, The End of Ignorange, emphasizes many of the points already brought to light this year. More specifically, the same point that came out of the Chief Information and Technology Officers Forum, lawyers need to use technology to serve their clients better and stay profitable.

Results from the most recent PwC Law Firm Survey suggest that the majority of firms are facing flat margins and an ever-increasing struggle to differentiate themselves. Meanwhile clients are demanding more and literally putting firms to the test. Casey Flaherty, General Counsel for Kia Motors, has designed a technology audit that he gives to his outside counsel to see how technologically proficient they are. If firms are inefficient in their use of technology, he argues that he should not have to pay the additional cost for the extra time it takes them to complete the work. Ben Weinberger, Chief Strategy Officer for Phoenix Business Solutions, and author of the article gives two key solutions to the problem training and the right tools.

TRAINING
A lawyer’s ability to use technology efficiently is now a must with recent changes to the ABA Model Rule 1.1. The “duty of competence” has been amended to include that a “…lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…” Firms spend millions of dollars on tools to create efficiencies, they should ensure that their lawyers know how to use the tools otherwise they are just throwing away money. Weinberger suggests that firms need options and creativity when it comes to training. Training should be interactive and offered in various methods such as e-learning, podcasts, walking the floor etc. The most important aspect is that it should be mandated.

The Right Tools
Firms are continuously looking at newer systems and tools to help provide that competitive edge. The right tools should provide a comprehensive view that enables lawyers to manage their clients more efficiently. The real value comes from providing simple, efficient access to information from multiple sources in one single system while having the ability to implement workflow components.

Market pressures and client demand will continue to drive changes in the way legal services are offered and the way a firm operates. What’s your take, do you think firms should have to complete a technology audit to prove they are technologically proficient?

What Happens in Vegas… Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas

With hundreds of high quality sessions and record breaking attendance, this year’s ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) conference was a success. With four days of back to back sessions plus the social outings it is hard to retain everything you learned and remember everyone you met. After being out of the office for that long all of the inspiration and insight can quickly be lost once getting back in to the routine of your day to day tasks. The question becomes how do you retain what you learned and keep the conversations going with the new friends you have made?

Here are my top three suggestions post-conference to make the conference last more than the week you were in Las Vegas:

Keeping the Fire Alive
While at the conference I become so emerged into the new technologies, insightful case studies, and the innovative ideas I feel like I could come back to the office and change the world. What really happens, unfortunately, is I come back Monday overwhelmed trying to get through the 100s of emails and making sure my projects are still on track. To keep the innovation and passion post conference I will take the following Friday and block off time to go through my conference notes. I know if I try and do this earlier in the week my heart won’t be in it as I am really thinking about all of the day to day stuff I need to get done.

With my coffee in hand, I go through and create a list of the things that really stuck out to me. The list should be no more than 20 items. These are the items you want to build into your plan or goals. Then start to add them one by one to your routine or into your plan for the year. Monthly, review the list and add additional items as you are able to check others off. This makes the list accomplishable and showcases that the conference really did have an impact on the business. This also helps to justify your attendance the next year as you were able to take what you learned and integrate it into your work.

Continued Education
The content and education doesn’t stop just because the conference ends. Attend your local ILTA Post-Conference Recap event and share your inspirations and insights with attendees and non-attendees from your area. This also helps to spark things you might have already forgotten. To keep up with current discussions and education post conference, schedule time once a week to read review conference materials, read the blogs, and check out the news feeds.

A Friendship Doesn’t End Just Because You Go Homes
With the sheer number of attendees and my outgoing nature, I tend to meet a lot of people at a tradeshow. During a show I will write notes about the person on the business card themselves. These are both business and personal items such as “struggles with analytical reporting” to “wants me to come out to NYC for their birthday.” After the show I will go back through my cards prioritizing them. I do this based on the business, the projects I am working on, and the personal connections that were made.

After prioritizing the cards I select 10 people from a show to write a handwritten card to. You would be amazed at the impact a handwritten card v. email can have. Then based on the prioritization, I will block off an hour once a week until all cards have been entered to complete the following as appropriate:

  1. I input the contact information and notes into my Contacts. I enter what we talked about and something personal to help me better remember the person. I have also created segmentation in my Contacts and will sort them accordingly. For me this is things like service providers, mentors/industry leaders, leads, etc.
  2. Connect. I will connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, and depending on level of friendship and trust Facebook.
  3. Lastly, I will create a calendar reminder three months out with a list of the top contacts to check-in with. It could be something personal or a simple hello but keeping that point of contact throughout the year helps to maintain the relationship and build a better connection.

This year’s conference was a huge success and it was great to meet so many new people, I can’t wait for next year in Nashville! In the meantime if you have other ideas on how to keep the conference alive or best practices you use please feel free to share them, we look forward to hearing from you!

2013 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey

Last week during the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference the 2013 Technology Purchasing Survey results were revealed. The 2013 survey added responses from the ILTA member firms with 1-49 attorneys (referred to as Under50) in addition to the 50+ attorneys (referred to as the Over50). There were 223 unique responses including 60% from ILTA member law firms with more than 50 attorneys.Number of attorneys

48% of all respondents (including 56% of Over50 firms) spend 2-4% of total firm revenue on technology, compared to 25% who spend 5% of revenue or more.Respondents

The ‘sweet spot’ for per attorney technology spend, $8K-17K, accounts for 43% while 18% of respondents indicated a per attorney technology spend of more than $17K+. 60% of all Under50 respondents spend less than $8,000 per attorney on technology compared to only 26% of Over50 firms.Sweet Spots

43% of Under50 firms indicated their budgets remained the same and 39% cited budget increases versus 2012. However, budget realities were not as rosy for Over50 firms; 24% indicated having decreased budgets versus 15% in 2012. 45% of Over50 firms (7% less than in 2012) cited budget increases.Budget

The 2013 Survey also includes comprehensive breakout of past and future technology purchases and implementations; legal technology budget and purchasing influence questions; updated information on participants’ social media, publication and blog preferences; and an in-depth analysis of mobility trends including tablet usage and governance, firm app policies, and insight into how IT will deal with big data.

>>> Read the full 2013 Survey
>>> Follow the InsideLegal blog for snippets from the survey

Defining & Delivering Value

Yesterday during the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference, we had the opportunity to attend the Defining and Delivering Value session. The session focused on a law firm client’s perspective of value. The key themes explored were: defining value, differentiating value, communicating value, and measuring value. Below is a summary:

What is a cynic but a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892)

Defining Value
McKinsey Insights defines value as “The real essence of value revolves around the tradeoff between the benefits a customer receives… and the price he or she pays for it.”

Value = Benefits – Costs

Value based pricing is a clear and concise statement of the tangible and intangible results a customer gets from using your products or services that clearly differentiates you offer from the competitors. The three essential components are to:

  • Resonate. Clients must have a need for your service(s)
  • Substantiate. Clients must BELIEVE you can deliver
  • Differentiate. Clients must understand how you are different

Differentiating Value
Differentiate your value and your value proposition by completing the following:

  • Listen and fact-find: Who is/are your audience(s), and what are their needs?
  • Segment: Differentiate on a firm, practice/industry, and attorney level
  • Develop Options: Differentiate between options you create
  • Paths to Differentiation: Expert/reputation, trusted advisor
  • Stories: Tell stories that reinforce the differentiation

Communicating Value
Communicate your value through:

  • Differentiation
  • Branding (“walking the walk”)
  • Working from the same script (consistency)
  • Learn the client’s internal incentives and deliver

Measuring Value
Value can be consistently measured by delivering value in pricing and client relationships:

  • It’s not just about fees
  • Find your “bright spots”
  • How do you like your latte (know your clients)
  • Build a good tool box

That which is measured improves. Make sure to collect data analytics and create metrics to measure value creating the tools to move from cost-plus pricing to value pricing. Value can be a challenging concept for some and that is what differentiates successful firms. By delivering efficiency at low-cost, performance metrics, budget alignments and AFA arrangements, as well as “what if” scenarios firms will be able to meet the corporate legal department’s perspective of value.

A big thank you to the session panelists; the content was fantastic and laid the foundation for what a law firm places on value.

  • Delilah Flaum; Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Doug Woods; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
  • John Ferko; Miles Stockbridge, P.C
  • John Thompson; Purdue Pharma LP
  • Patrick Johansen; Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
  • Stuart Dodds; Baker & McKenzie

Breathing New Life into your CRM

Yesterday we attended the Breathing New Life into your CRM session at the ILTA Annual Conference. The focus of the session was on realizing the ROI on customer relationship management systems, why some CRM implementations fail and others succeed, and innovative ways firms are reviving their systems and getting more use out of them.

While CRM systems have been around for decades, firms have traditionally used them for list management, email marketing, and event management. Here are some of the unconventional ways firms are using them today:

  • Dashboard for tracking activities
  • Client teams
  • Pipelines
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Collections
  • Referral tracking
  • Expense tracking
  • Record Management
  • Communications
  • Media Interface

However, whether using your CRM system for conventional or unconventional uses your firm must first define goals and determine how success is measured. It takes clear benefits, realistic expectations, leadership support, communication and training to succeed. You will know when you have achieved your goals by increased revenue, client retention, new client representations, reduction of redundant tasks, lateral recruiting, enhanced business reporting and metrics.

We Look Forward to Seeing You in Las Vegas for the ILTA Annual Conference

ILTA 2013Next week we will be at the ILTA Annual Conference in Las Vegas! This year’s conference “The Catalyst” will focus on taking time to make reactions happen. There are over 200 peer developed educational sessions and tons of networking opportunities.

If you are attending the event make sure to stop by booth 328 to say hi and learn how we are being a catalyst in revolutionizing relationship management. During the event we recommend attending the Monday afternoon session Breathing New Life into Your CRM. Simone Hughes, Chief Marketing Officer, Field Law will be joined by other panelists as they discuss ways firms are reviving their existing systems and getting more people to use them.

Simone and Tim Holmes (Director of Information Technology, Field Law) will be available during Tuesday afternoon’s break to answer questions and provide advice on CRM at our booth. If you are not going to be in attendance this year, follow us on Twitter (@contactease) for updates and stop back to read our session recaps.

Here are some other sessions we recommend that may also be of interest:

–          Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

–          What’s New and Cool in Emerging Technologies?

–          Define and Deliver Value in Pricing and Client Relationships

–          Big Data Alchemy: Making BizDev Gold from Lead