The LVN Council of Luminaries is comprised of veteran thought leaders and pioneers in the business of law community. Read about their latest discussions and findings. 




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LW 360: Law Firm Billing Tips For Avoiding An Irate Client


In this article, learn best practices on for your law firm's billing practices.


Are Legal Pricing and Legal Project Management becoming victims of their own success?


Rob Stote, Director Client Solutions at BigHand recently moderated "a fascinating discussion" on the evolution of the pricing professional and the use of technology for matter pricing and legal project management (LPM). The panel discussion, hosted by the Legal Value Network, brought together a matter pricing and LPM experts from three separate firms to discuss, in broad terms, what the state of legal pricing and project management looked like, the evolution of those roles within a firm, and what part technology plays within the overall process. Here are the takeaways from that discussion.


Nasdaq Article: Elusive Innovation: What it Means and How to Capture it


A predominant narrative in legal industry conversations is that while the rest of the business world evolves at warp speed, law firms steadfastly refuse to change – and unless they begin to innovate, they’re in danger of being overtaken by new delivery models.


A Very COVID-19 Year-end (2020)


Purvi Sanghvi and Michael Byrd share their perspective on pricing, value and billing rates, year-end collects and market demand in this COVID-19 yea-end.


Bloomberg Law: When Billable Hours Are Scarce, Partners Get to Work First


Roy Strom takes a look at why partners rush in to bill time when the economy takes a hit and how the Big Law marketplace seems to run contrary - or is it - to basic business principles.


Bloomberg Law: Law Firms Push to Get Bills Out, See More IOUs During Covid-19


In this article Bloomberg Law explores how law firms looking to weather the Covid-19 economic storm are throwing some cash-strapped clients a lifeline while trying to avoid steep discounts and pushing to ensure that bills go out on time.


Law Firm Pricing Approaches in Challenging Times


Pricing lessons from the previous global financial crisis little more than a decade ago are still extremely pertinent today for those of us in the legal sector. In this article, Stuart Dodds provides concrete steps to help you more easily navigate those potentially tricky pricing conversations you are — or should be — having with your clients now, while ensuring a more sustainable and profitable future in the longer-term.


Law Firm Billing in a Crisis: Beware the Optics of Discounts


We are in a period right now where many clients, perhaps more than even during the Great Recession, are experiencing acute cash flow issues. As a consequence, law firms are feeling a distinct tightening. In this article, Bill Josten spoke with several advisory board members for the Legal Value Network (LVN) "who are some of the most experienced law firm pricing strategists in the industry" about firms offering discounts at a time like this, and whether there may be better options to bolster law firm cash flow


Billing Conversations with Clients During the COVID-19 Crisis


“Our revenue is significantly down. How can you help us through this time?” This is an example of the types of questions facing every outside counsel during this new COVID-19 reality. While the level of loss varies depending on the industry, clients are almost all struggling with revenue decline and looking to outside counsel for help.


Clients Are Eager For Discounts As Pandemic Rages On


This Law360 article about Legal Value Network explores how more clients are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their outside counsel as the world grapples with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Professional’s Guide to Pricing


Natwest Business (January 2019). In this expert Q&A with Positive Pricing’s Stuart Dodds. Stuart Dodds, former director of pricing and legal project management at Baker McKenzie, is principal and co-founder of Positive Pricing, a firm that trains and advises professional services on how to create greater value for their clients and achieve better financial outcomes for themselves. Here, he discusses some of the current pricing pressures faced by professional service firms today.


Legal Value Network Launch Highlights Growing Collaboration Among Business of Law Professionals


This Legal Executive Institute reports that the founders of the Legal Marketing Association’s P3® Conference recently launched the Legal Value Network (LVN) to connect professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, alternative legal service providers, and technology providers. The goal, as LVN states, is to bring together those who are “focused on designing, building, and implementing the foundations of a more contemporary and commercially-sound model of legal service delivery.”


General Counsel Are Thinking About Economic Downturn but Not Making Radical Changes Yet


As more reports surface that an economic downturn is coming, in-house counsel are going to be paying more attention to how the business is doing. Statistics show that general counsel are worried about some kind of economic downturn in the next year, however, those who work with in-house counsel say day-to-day operations aren’t changing just yet.


The State of Legal Pricing


This article looks at the current state of legal pricing. It examines what functions pricing people serve and how they can further expand their roles.


Clients Benefit from Law Firm Expense Growth


Reviewing law firm direct and indirect cost growth trend data trends from the last 10 years or so reveals a relatively stable market equilibrium growth for both cost driver categories. Given the obsessive attention to cost reduction strategies that began as a result of the economic crisis of 2008, it would appear that the reflected levels hovering around the 3% mark can be interpreted to mean that firms have found an effective strategy for capital deployment that enables them to maintain the requisite service quality levels clients expect. However, this number contradicts a common refrain from clients that law firms' expenses grow too much, and should not exceed the US national inflation rate. Here we explore the unanticipated negative implications clients would experience if suppressed expense growth to the often-cited national inflation level of 2%. The true solution to this problem is not cutting costs, but rather collaborating to define priorities, agree on strategy and optimize service delivery.


Outside Counsel Guidelines Update


This is an update on the evolution of OCGs. As OCGs have become more commonplace and have expanded in their coverage, from billing guidelines to broad engagement documents, they are having a bigger impact on the practice and business of law. In addition to digging into the content of OCGs, the article looks at emerging (or lack of) technologies to support how firms manage the intake, review and approval of OCGs by law firms.


Using AI for Time-Entry Analytics to Support Pricing Functions


Law firm time data exists in various states of disarray, but there is great potential in the analytical value of this information if it can be structured and harnessed to yield meaningful qualitative and quantitative pictures of how each workflow or deliverable was staffed and executed. Once this code is cracked, the utility of the insights gained cannot be exaggerated. This piece explores how time entry data analysis is being approached and enabled by technology vendors in the space. My goal was to illustrate the different approaches--structuring data at the capture phase or processing and making sense of unstructured data post-capture. There are many angles to this topic, but hopefully this provides a practical exploration of at least the fundamental concepts related to the topic.


Working in Pricing? According to these experts, you need data


Clearly, pricing is one of the hot topics in legal practice right now. And with good reason. After all, clients are increasingly demanding fee arrangements instead of hourly billing. With this comes the danger that a poor fee quote could lead to big write offs at a later stage. Play it too safe however, and you aren’t likely to win the bid for the work. So how can legal professionals navigate these complex waters? Well, data and communication according to the experts. Here’s what we learned from all these recent pricing chats.


What’s Happening with Litigation Funding


This article explores how litigation finance/funding has evolved. There is a lot more competition and providers are shifting to fund different opportunities, such as portfolios of litigation and AR. We should expect this competition to increase and for funders to continue to expand their offerings.


Budgets as Conversational Touchstones


Transparency and collaboration are obvious keys to strong and smooth relationships between inside and outside counsel. Less obvious is the role budgets can play in facilitating such relationships. Here, Jared Applegate of Barnes & Thornburg and Justin Ergler of GlaxoSmithKline share best practices on using budgets as a conversational tool to build better relationships.


‘Under the Hammer’, Briefing, p9


In this short article, a number of key tips when participating in a law department eAuction are discussed.


Voice of the Client: Justin Ergler, Dir of Alternative Fee Intelligence & Analytics, GlaxoSmithKline


The Legal Marketing Association is committed to delivering “the voice of the client” to help members influence and lead change to better serve your clients. As part of that commitment, the LMA Board of Directors invites a client representative to each of our quarterly 2017 Board meetings to share their perspectives. At our March Board meeting, we were joined by Justin Ergler, director of alternative fee intelligence and analytics at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and a member of the Board of Directors of Buying Legal Council.


What Fare is Fair? - Awarded the 2017 Robert P. Wilkins Award for Best Feature Article by the ABA Law Practice Division


"Law Practice Magazine", American Bar Association | Approximately 10 years into the legal industry business management renaissance, this article details contemporary themes in strategic pricing of legal services, and outlines the dynamics at play in client/firm fee negotiations and bidding exercises. Both basic and more complex concepts are covered, with the hope that the article will offer something for readers of all levels of sophistication.


Seeking the Holy Grail of Task-Based Data Analytics


The Task-Based Data Analytics initiative — a project that stems from the ACC Legal Operations Metrics & Analytics Interest Group — seeks to find the Holy Grail for companies and law firms who are using VBF arrangements — that is, being able to confidently predict the cost and value of engagements so as to ensure that the agreed fee will be fair to both the company and the firm, without resorting to shadow invoices based on the inefficient hourly-rate billing system.


Procurement and legal – a perfect storm

2016 Summer

The relationship between in-house legal and procurement has too often been far from productive. GC finds out how getting everyone on the same page can generate new efficiencies and a more effective method of purchasing legal services.


Being Involved: A Case Study on Creating Client Value


The involvement of pricing directors in the client conversation has added a positive layer of direct contact when it comes to the client relationship. As clients are boosting up their legal operations functions with business people to guide in-house counsel, they are seeking similar counterparts within law firms. Having a link between business functions helps move along processes (such as billing and rates negotiations) while allowing the legal operations team to talk with someone that “speaks the same language.”



A Look at Client-Side AI-Powered Legal Spend Analytics Tools


This post by Prism Legal explores how more and more clients are now relying on very sophisticated, often AI-powered analytics tools—from both startups and legacy providers—to better understand and benchmark their legal spend. Most of these tools provide real-time monitoring and better information for setting budgets, alternative fees and negotiating with outside counsel. Some go a step further and leverage anonymized data to provide detailed benchmarks. Clients who use these tools are often ahead of their firms in understanding what legal work can—and should—cost.


Navigating law firm pricing strategies in uncertain times: Nurture client relationships while mitigating firm risk


Never before has the need to have seasoned pricing professionals in place been more critical than it is now. Judging by the discussion that took place at the Intapp Pricing Leaders Exchange Forum, it’s clear that we collectively could not be more ready and able to build and secure a strong pricing foundation for the uncertain times ahead. See what LVN Board Member, Stuart Dodds has to say on this topic!


Economies of Scale for Law Firms


This post touches on how firms actually gain an advantage through their size. By being bigger they are able to make more and better investments in their infrastructure.


Zach Talks: Conversation with Justin Ergler on BLB


A discussion with Justin Ergler on a variety of topics related to value-based pricing and change in the legal industry, hosted by Zach Abramowitz.


The Law Firm COO of the Future


This guest post explores how the role of the COO within law firms must and should change. As the needs of firms are shifting, COO roles will need to move their emphasis from cost control to a revenue and profit focus.


The Fallacy of In-House Savings


This post looks at how clients are comparing the cost of in-house lawyers versus paying market billing rates. The thesis is that most of these comparisons are not really apples-to-apples comparisons, as the internal numbers leave out a lot of costs and benefits that come from outside counsel lawyers.


Law Firm Innovation: The Newest BS Phrase


This post takes some shots at how firms are investing in innovation and suggests a more practical approach.


Is Your Job Safe


This post suggests that the only way to keep your job safe is to embrace change.


The Rise of Legal Operations


This post covers how legal operations roles are growing and expanding.




The Geek in Review, Ep. 75: Launching the Legal Value Network – Kristina Lambright and Purvi Sanghvi


While most professional associations are experiencing significant changes due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, today’s guests have launched a brand new network and say that this might be one of the best times to enter the market. The Legal Value Network (LVN) focuses on the delivery of services and connecting professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, alternative legal services companies, and technology providers. Kristina Lambright and Purvi Sanghvi are part of the LVN Executive Board and discuss the launch of the network, and how they are providing content and connections to those in the network.


Reinventing Professionals: Spotlighting Legal Value Network


Reinventing Professionals speaks with Chris Ende, the Chief Value Officer at Goulston & Storrs, and Michael Byrd, the Global Process Owner at Baker McKenzie, who are board members for the Legal Value Network, a new organization dedicated to the business of law. This episode discusses the genesis of the Legal Value Network, the benefits of participating in it, ways that its programming will adapt to a virtual environment, and how the concept of legal value is evolving.


Impact Pricing, Ep. 69: Why Service Professionals Need to Hire Pricing Experts with Stuart Dodds


Stuart Dodds is a sought after speaker, pricing and project management expert, and author of Smarter Pricing, Smarter Profit, and Pricing On the Front Line, both published by the American Bar Association.
Stuart was one of the first and longest-serving pricing and legal project management directors in the legal industry, first with Linklaters and most recently with Baker McKenzie.
In this podcast, Stuart addresses the key pricing challenges encountered by services, whether within a law firm or a law department. He also shares how he helps professional firms achieve targeted pricing, negotiation, and project management support to produce in an increase in the bottom line.


Keith Maziarek & Justin Ergler on the Legal Value Network (and Community and Collaboration in Legal)


Many thanks to @Chad Main for sitting down with LVN Board members @Justin Ergler and @Keith Maziarek to discuss the philosophies underlying the goals and plans that @Legal Value Network is mobilizing to produce to bring business of law professionals from all stakeholder groups and experience levels together to author the next chapter in modernization of legal services delivery. Don’t forget to check out the long list of other great podcasts on the Technically Legal site as well!


LMA Podcast, Ep. 58: Pricing Confidence With Considerations for Economically Challenging Times


In this episode, Alex MacDonald (McCarter & English) speaks with Stuart Dodds (Positive Pricing) about the importance of being confident in pricing and the approaches you should consider in the wake of COVID-19’s economic impact. MacDonald and Dodds discuss themes in Dodds’ recent Strategies article, the importance of bringing the firm into pricing conversations and how to approach pricing in the near-term economic environment.


Baking Profitability into the DNA of the Firm


This podcast provides a perspective on how the pricing role has evolved; what are the opportunities going forward and how pricing teams can best expand their resources.


Pricing Legal Services


Technically Legal Podcast | In this episode, we sit down with Keith Maziarek, Director of Pricing and Legal Project Management for the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman. Keith explains that law firms are adding pricing positions because of economic pressures and client demands. Clients are demanding changes in the way they are billed (AFAs or “alternative fee arrangements”) and also demanding that law firms become more efficient. Keith also explains how project management and pricing legal services go hand in hand because to properly forecast the cost of a legal project, a thorough understanding of how the work will be done and what resources are needed is necessary.


Pricing Matters Podcast


Podcast covering a variety of topics related to the use of data and the changing dynamics of client demand. Key perspectives covered include: Data Analytics. Clients and law firms are collecting and analyzing different data – do you know what your clients are looking for? Pricing Predictions. Over the next decade, we will see an emphasis on defining and measuring the ambiguous concept of value, and also an increase in well-scoped retainer arrangements. Optimization. For the next generation of lawyers (and clients), it’s not about precedent (what was done before) but how firms can be more proactive and efficient.


It’s Evolution Not Revolution


Podcast covering a variety of topics related to the use of data and the changing dynamics of client demand. Key perspectives covered include:
Data Analytics. Clients and law firms are collecting and analyzing different data – do you know what your clients are looking for?
Pricing Predictions. Over the next decade, we will see an emphasis on defining and measuring the ambiguous concept of value, and also an increase in well-scoped retainer arrangements.
Optimization. For the next generation of lawyers (and clients), it’s not about precedent (what was done before) but how firms can be more proactive and efficient.


The Rise of Pricing Directors


Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute | In this podcast, Stuart Dodds, (then) Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management at Baker McKenzie and author of “Smarter Pricing, Smarter Profit”, sat down with the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute to discuss the increasing importance of pricing directors within a law firm and how that role is key to competitiveness and profitability. Hear how the role of pricing director has evolved over the past 10 years, and become more prominent. Find out how this new role can change a law firm by helping ‘joint the dots’ and bringing partners, clients and technology together to help fully understand the value of a legal matter for both the firm and the client.


Approaching AFAs with Clients’


Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute | In this podcast, Stuart Dodds, (then) Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management at Baker McKenzie speaks about how clients and law firms are approaching the use of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs).


Creating a Better Client Relationship


In another ClientSpeak episode, we talk with Justin Ergler, Director, Alternative Fee Intelligence and Analytics for GSK. As a key member of a large in-house legal team, Justin sees the range of law firm interactions from both a legal acumen and a client service angle.
During this episode he'll share his thoughts on:
1) What factors influence whether you hire outside counsel?
2) What are some things that outside counsel have done that have made a positive impression and/or impact?
3) Do in-house counsel care if your outside counsel is a super/best/elite lawyer?
4) What law firm trends are you seeing that you would like to either end or continue?
5) What advice would you give to a junior associate at a law firm?
6) Is there one resource you use over another when soliciting referrals from colleagues for outside counsel?
7) What are the biggest mistakes outside counsel can make? (What should law firms avoid?)


Client Engagement


Legal Marketing Association | The P3cast podcast series continues with Keith Maziarek (senior director of client value, Perkins Coie LLP) as he sits down with client engagement experts on both the law firm and client sides. Featured experts include Esther Bowers (director of client service initiatives, Barnes & Thornburg LLP), Ken Callander (managing principal, Value Strategies LLC), Mike Duffy (director of client services, King & Spalding), Lisa Konie (senior director of legal operations, Adobe Systems; Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) board member) and Tom Orrison (director of legal procurement, Microsoft Corporation). Listen as they discuss the basics of client engagement and some of the best ways that both sides can work together.