Law Firm Transparency – Take Two (ILTA09)

Yesterday’s post, Are Law Firms Ready for Transparency, was retweeted on Twitter quite heavily and generated a fair amount of discussion there and via e-mail. Some of that discussion is now reflected in an update I published this morning clarifying a few of the features of Mallesons Connect. (If you’re interested in Mallesons’ terrific project, I’d encourage you to take a look at that update.)

The conversation also led me to think harder about what law firm transparency involves.  For both the sake of the client and the law firm, the purpose of encouraging transparency should not be to play “gotcha.”  Rather it should be to help both parties make their relationship more effective by helping each understand better what goes into creating the work product both need.  And, through this understanding, to help each manage the process better.  From the client’s perspective, if you enter into this transparency looking to find billing infractions, then you have a bigger problem — you have to ask yourself if you are working with the right law firm.  From the firm’s perspective, if you find it necessary to cloak what’s happening within your firm, you too may have a bigger problem — you might need to rethink and revise your internal business processes.  Alternatively, you might have a client whose expectations cannot reasonably be met by your firm.  In each case, transparency will serve only to underscore the need to examine the relationship and the client engagement.

Transparency has the effect of shining a light on your relationships.  Are you ready to tackle what you see?

[Photo Credit: mushi king]