The ACC Value Challenge:Reconnecting Legal Costs To Value

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 01:00

Problem

ACC believes that many traditional law firm business models and many of the approaches to lawyer training and cost management are not aligned with what corporate clients want and need: value-driven, high-quality legal services that deliver solutions for a reasonable cost and develop lawyers as counselors (not just content-providers), advocates (not just process-doers) and professional partners.

Mission

ACC will launch an initiative to reconnect value and costs for legal services and which will: promote dialog among corporate counsel, law firms, law schools, and others who are interested in driving an alignment and focus on value; develop methodologies and metrics that corporate counsel can use to assess the strengths and weaknesses of law firm vendors; create tools that in-house counsel and firms can share to drive change in the performance of value-based legal services; and enhance awareness and communicate success stories in achieving value and alignment.

We plan to think in a revolutionary fashion but work in an evolutionary and inclusive manner, with the goal of helping foster a (r)evolution in the legal services marketplace.

Desired Outputs/Outcomes

A national dialog about the need to reconnect value to costs, especially within the law firm community, with a common language and framework that ACC will have helped define.

Tool kits for use by in-house and outside counsel that contain leading practices, management tools, models for managing to value, and networks by which ACC members can communicate their experiences and ask questions of each other, including "who do you use and how do you do this?"

Recognition by senior management that GCs and in-house counsel are taking the lead, rather than simply being reactive, and that they are exercising strong business skills in balancing their inside and outside legal spend - targeting results and outcomes, rather than just hoping to manage an unpredictable process.

A client community that supports law firm efforts to implement change, including a willingness to reward those efforts.

Law firms that are better focused on retaining the talent and rewarding the skills that are valued by clients; training at law schools and law firms that develops the needed skills; and matter management that is driven by client expectations and needs.

Greater satisfaction and pride in their work for both inside and outside lawyers - less time spent bickering over costs, greater focus on solving client problems, and greater satisfaction with what is accomplished and how it is accomplished.

A core group of identified leaders in the in-house and outside communities (firms, consulting houses, media, etc.) who are our partners in promoting the need for change.

A better alignment of interests of the corporate client and the outside firms, leading to a professional culture and market that is focused on delivering high value.

Steering Committee

Michael Roster, Chairman, 2001 Chairman, ACC Board; retired General Counsel, Golden West Financial and Stanford University; former Managing Partner of Morrison & Foerster, Los Angeles;Jeff Carr, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, FMC Technologies, Inc.; Janine Dascenzo, ACC Board Member; Associate General Counsel, General Electric Company; Mike Dillon, ACC Board Member; Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Ivan Fong, ACC Board Member; Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Cardinal Health, Inc.; Kerry Galvin, ACC Board Member; former General Counsel, Lyondell Chemical Company; Al Gonzalez, ACC Board Member; former General Counsel for Tyson Foods; Miguel Rivera, Associate General Counsel-Class Action Division, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Laura Stein, ACC's 2008 Chairman of the Board, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, The Clorox Company.

For information, contact ACC's General Counsel Susan Hackett at hackett@acc. com.