Susan Hackett (@HackettInHouse) speaks at  #ReInventLaw.. The title of her talk: “It’s the Client, Stupid!” (Live post – forgive any typos.)

Starts with a story about James Carville story, putting a story over President Clinton’s desk. It said, “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”  At audiences like this, we talk too much about what’s important to lawyers and firms.  We have to focus more on what clients want and the focus of the GC.  Without the GC coming on board, there will be no change.

If GCs were focused on the right things, this event would not exist. The market would have solved problems. The issue is that the GC is a lawyer first, a business person second. They are cut of exactly the same cloth as partners in law firms. So they think the same way – like lawyers, not like business people.

It’s ok to be expensive and inefficient if you are really good at the law. That is the mentality today.

Inhouse lawyers don’t want to innovate. How do we change this. Companies are beginning to demand better, faster, cheaper. A few GCs are no business people first, lawyers second. If the GC cannot resolve this, they are not doing what their business problems want: solve business problems.

So we need to change the behavior of GC. They need to understand what this group offers so they will buy from you.  You must focus on what they want to buy, not what you want to sell.

To change client behaviors, hold the GC hand, do incremental change, and share the reward of working better. If we don’t do this, then the competition will be the client itself. They are increasingly insourcing.

You have to convince clients you offer value.