Category Specific: Legal

050: Crack the Code to the Successful Procurement of Legal Services, with Silvia Hodges Silverstein

The legal category of spend is often the final frontier in terms of procurement engagement.  We hear that it is too complex, too nuanced and isn’t understood by anyone from outside the legal space.  When we do get involved, it is often to help manage low value and commoditized services. So how do we crack the code and become a trusted partner to the legal team.

There is arguably no-one in the world more qualified to answer that question than today’s guest, Silvia Hodges Silverstein.  Silvia is the Executive Director of Buying Legal Council, a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, and is a widely published author, having co-written two case studies on the business of law for Harvard Business Review.  Hear Silvia share the tips and tricks to becoming a trusted partner of the legal team.

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“Lawyers are trained to argue and find fault. So if you come with this suggestion or that suggestion, what I think works better is to come up with different options or scenarios. By showing them these different scenarios they can reason among themselves about what’s the most fitting solution.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why the role of procurement in buying legal services is increasing.
  • How you can sell the procurement value proposition to a General Counsel to increase engagement.
  • What objectives will a Lawyer and General Counsel typically have when it comes to engaging legal services providers?
  • If there are any “off-limit” areas for legal spend for procurement.
  • How procurement should position itself in negotiations with legal service providers.
  • Considerations when building an RFP for legal services
  • Why the use of alternative fee arrangements as a key commercial term for legal services is increasing.
  • What are the main considerations to look for when comparing legal firm RFP responses, particularly when the scope is open ended.
  • How can you measure the performance of a law firm once the contract has been awarded?
  • What is the one thing that procurement can do to increase its relevancy to the legal team.

Episode Transcript (PDF):

  • Click here to download a copy of today’s episode transcript (PDF).

Links and Resources:

Thanks for Listening!

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.