The College of Law Practice Management and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law host the 3rd annual law practice legal Futures Conference later this month. It offers radical new ideas – meaningful to inside and outside counsel and to providers – to address the changes we are now experiencing in the legal market. Please consider joining me Chicago for this always-great event. (Full disclosure: I am a Trustee of COLPM.) 

You can register at and join the conversation in Chicago, October 28-29. Or click here to view the conference brochure (PDF).

This is a unique venue where you can engage in deep conversation. Unlike most legal conferences, we draw a great cross-section of people by area of expertise and organizational size. We have law firm executives, lawyers, marketers, technology thinkers, financial gurus, coaches, diversity experts, and more.

We will cover topics and ideas to help navigate the rapidly changing legal landscape. Our world-class speakers and Fellows make this a meeting you shouldn’t miss. Highlights of our agenda follow; and read to the end to see a description of the session I co-lead.

What is the Future of Price: Defining Value in Value Billing

The great recession and its law profession aftermath are driving more and more clients to demand fixed fee arrangements to ensure certainty and reduce legal costs. Law firms and their clients struggle to find solid principles that define that value. Hear a diverse panel of clients and firms including Toby Brown, Vinson & Elkins; Lisa Damon, Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Paul Lippe, Legal OnRamp, and Ellen Rosenthal, Pfizer on defining value. The audience will participate to identify whether universal concepts measure value across boundaries and invent the language of value for law practice.

Future View: Do You See What I See?
Where should we focus our attention? What have we already missed? How can we best prepare for “what’s next”? Sally King (SNR Denton) leads this provocative panel that includes Ross Fishman (Ross Fishman Marketing), Dave Hambourger (Seyfarth), Chris Murray (Jones Lang LaSalee Americans) and Chris Petrini-Poli (HBR Consulting). They will offer their perspectives on the law practice landscape.

Law Factories vs. “Bet the Farm” Firms
Will law firms of the future need to segment clients in new ways? Might some firms focus on “industrialized” practices: hyper-efficient work using automation and low cost resources? Might others focus on “bet the farm” cases using mainly top legal talent? Or do we need to focus on the “bread and butter legal work” middle ground? If the market segments, will it do so by practice, by firm, by matter type or along some other dimension?

Toby Brown, Vinson & Elkins; Tim Corcoran, Hubbard One; and Mark Robertson (Robertson & Williams) join me to lead a highly interactive session. Each of us will kick-off the session with a maximum 2-minute intro. We will organize and facilitate break-out discussions around a series of questions, including:

  • What does it mean to industrialize law practice
  • Can a single firm play both ends of the spectrum (factory and farm)?
  • How big is the middle “bread and butter” segment and can this be industrialized?
  • What large firm practices have industrial elements
  • What consumer practices have industrial elements
  • If paradigm is true, what are the implications for marketing. For professional development? For ethical compliance?
  • Should law school teach lean six sigma, process mapping, or industrial engineering?
  • Alternative service providers – cause or effect?

This conference never disappoints – I hope to see you there.