Valuing “Value Add” – An invitation to participate in a discussion on research by the Knowledge Management Group – 5 July 2017

August 13, 2017

Melanie Farquharson (Consultant, 3Kites Consulting) and Andrew Dey (Independent Legal Technology Advisor to in-house legal teams and Consultant with Advanced Discovery Legal Operations Consulting) facilitated an SCL KM Group session discussing the value of “value add” services. 

This session, hosted by Baker McKenzie, was to provide additional input to a research report Andrew and Melanie are co-authoring as an update to a report produced in 2011 by Ian Rodwell (Linklaters LLP) and Matthew Whalley (then at HSBC). The research ranks how much investment is required by law firms to provide “value add” services and how much in-house legal teams value those offerings.

In advance of the meeting Melanie and Andrew carried out a survey with 15 in-house legal teams which varied from a handful of lawyers to hundreds, and 17 law firms, which were mainly large international firms and large UK regionals.

The first section of the session was discussing the “value add” categories and whether there had been any additional services.

The high-level categories were as follows:

1. Secondments

2. Hotlines and helpdesks

3. Knowhow publications and bulletins

4. Roundtables and training

5. Matter management

6. Miscellaneous activities.

Most services remained the same, however new additions included access to standard form documents and precedents, additional areas for matter management and some other miscellaneous activities.

On the night, the audience was segregated into groups, three law firm tables and one of representatives from in-house legal teams.  The purpose of this was to see if the “on the night audience” agreed the initial findings from the latest survey results.  

Law firm attendees provided their own ratings on how complex it is to deliver services, by reference to the following measures:

Time: How much time is required to deliver the service in practice  

Expertise: How high a level of expertise is required to deliver the service

Economies of scale: Is this a service which can be delivered to multiple clients without requiring the same multiple of resource to deliver it? 

The in-house group looked at how the services added value – on a scale from “Extremely valuable, essential service – couldn’t work without it” through to “No added-value, not appreciated”, although there were few services at the extremes of these ratings.

The highlights on the night. 
Comparing the scores between groups and with the draft report findings generated a lot of discussion and is providing additional input to the final research report. Participants also helped verify some of the thinking Andrew and Melanie had around why some of the services appear to have moved significantly on the value matrix since the original survey in 2011.
In summary 
The audience at the event generally agreed with the survey results, and as expected bespoke/tailored content was always the most valued offering to any client. It was interesting to see how technology over the past six years has made some services which were once deemed highly intensive for law firms to facilitate are now becoming easier to support such as webinars. It will be interesting to explore in another six years whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the same impact on matter management and reporting and to see the detailed results in the full survey which will be made available in Q3 2017.