Today’s episode features Perkins Coie intellectual property practice leader, Judy Jennison, in addition to her time in private practice, she spent 8 years as an in-house lawyer with Microsoft in intellectual property, product development, and antitrust compliance roles. Judy Jennison Bio
As a former in-house lawyer within a big organization, Judy understands the path to success requires an understanding of the client’s culture and the goals of their legal department for the next several years. With this understanding, she focuses her efforts on projects that align with both the long-term strategy of her firm and the strategic plans of her clients. Key to this plan is creating a happy, productive environment – a joyous experience – on both sides of the table, enhancing client and outside lawyer communication expanding the opportunity to present ideas and resolve issues.
A focus of our episode was Judy’s success story where she highlights a pilot project designed to improve timelines, enhance institutional knowledge of the client, and ensure proper budgeting for a significant portion of the client’s legal spend. For this project, Perkins is providing all outside counsel support (excluding litigation) for a subgroup of the client’s legal department in exchange the client is paying Perkins a monthly fixed fee with a discretionary bonus to be paid at the end of the year. This 12-month retainer is a percentage of the clients typical yearly legal spend.
Perkins is managing this portion of the budget on behalf of the client assuming control and responsibility to ensure the work completed meets the client’s overall spend strategy. New matters and projects are discussed weekly with the client and less strategic matters may be allocated to a lower cost provider or put on hold. An added plus – by structuring an engagement that doesn’t require the firm to pitch on every matter, the firm can focus on being part of the solution; offering creative and strategic ways to assist the client
This success story is a great example of how law firms and in-house legal departments are changing and why partnering and delivering services in different ways is critical in today’s competitive environment.