Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rob Mattern Delivers Executive Breakfast Workshop at the 13th Annual COO CFO Forum in New York City

The 13th Annual COO CFO Forum starts Thursday at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Manhattan.   This is one of the industry’s premiere events, designed for law firm COOs and CFOs to convene and discuss market strategies affecting the business of law.   We always look forward to Dan Pietro and James Jones kicking off the event with a deep dive into market trends and analysis. 

This year’s theme focuses on innovation, and the first day features several excellent sessions, including “Time and Tide: Implementing Innovation Across the Firm,” featuring these folks:


  • Joe Mendola, National Segment Manager, Legal Specialty Group, Wells Fargo Private Bank


  • Scott Bravi, Chief Information Officer, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Pat Cavaney, Chief Operating Officer, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Tracie Crook, Chief Operating Officer, McCarthy Tétrault LLP Ron Friedmann, Senior Consultant, Fireman & Company
  • Jeff Grossman, Senior Director of Banking & Wealth Management, Legal Specialty Group, Wells Fargo Private Bank

We also look forward to: “Managing 360º: How Business Professionals Can Help Foster Innovation in their Firms,” featuring:

  • Amanda K. Brady, Global Practice Leader – Law Firm Management, Major, Lindsey & Africa Panelists:
  • James K. Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
  • Kenneth W. Johnsen, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Jeffrey C. Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer, Polsinelli PC

Rob Mattern will be leading off day two of the 13th Annual COO CFO Forum in New York City with an Executive Breakfast Workshop on Friday at 8:30am: “Strategic Expense Management and Successful Cost Recovery in Today’s Legal Market.”

Rob’s executive workshop will explore how firms can further reduce their back-office expenses while improving services to attorney end-users by taking advantage of the changing legal market landscape.  Rob will address whether cost recovery is a key component of strategic expense management and, if so, what do today’s successful cost recovery strategies look like.   This portion of the discussion will incorporate the results of the 2014 Mattern & Associates Cost Recovery Survey and illustrate how to use the Survey data to structure law firms’ operations to maximize recovery.

To learn more about 13th Annual COO CFO Forum or register for the event, click here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The College of Law Practice Management’s 2014 Futures Conference on Legal Innovation breaks the mold

On October 16th and 17th, The College of Law Practice Management will be hosting its annual Futures Conference in Boston, putting 150 legal practice innovators together with 10 pioneers and leading-edge thinkers for two days of brainstorming and problem-solving.

Conference Co-Chair Lisa Damon, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw has designed a one-of-a-kind, dynamic program that promises to engage participants in discussing issues facing the legal profession and push the envelope toward new ideas and solutions. Speakers will give short, provocative TED-like presentations.

The all-star line-up includes:

  • Keynote Speaker: 
    • Tom Sager, Recently Retired Senior Vice President and General Counsel of DuPont after 37 years, and American Lawyer Top 50 Legal Innovator and recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • TED-like Speakers:
    • Jeff Carr, Former General Counsel at FMC Technologies
    • Ron Dolin, Legal Technologist, Fellow, Instructor of Law, Stanford University
    • Abe Gieger, CEO of ShakeLaw
    • Carla Goldstein, Associate General Counsel and Director of Strategic Initiatives, BMO Financial Group
    • Michael Mills, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Neota Logic Inc.
    • Ron Staudt, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Access to Justice & Technology, Chicago-Kent Law School
    • Competition Judges:
      • Susan Hackett, Legal Executive Leadership
      • Josh Kubicki, Transformation Institute
      • Chris Marston, CEO, Exemplar Companies


Mattern & Associates is pleased to be a sponsor of the Future’s Conference.  Forward thinking and innovative solutions facing the legal profession have always been important, and we are proud to foster this think-tank event for the legal profession to continue to thrive and succeed.

For more information, please download the 2014 Futures Conference brochure here: 


To register, contact Stacey McIntyre at smcintyre@colpm.org.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mattern & Associates 2014 Cost Recovery Survey Results are In: Join the Webinar on Wednesday, September 24th

We are pleased to say the results of the 2104 Mattern & Associates Cost Recovery Survey are here. We at Mattern & Associates have been proud to lead the industry in strategic approaches to back office operations and law firm cost recovery practice analysis. A hearty thanks goes out to participants who rely on our Cost Recovery Survey as a key decision-making tool.

First conducted in 2004 and featured in the Wall Street Journal, the 2014 Cost Recovery Survey marks a decade of expert data, and continues to be an industry-leading source for law firms to compare their firm’s performance to their peers in the recovery of costs. In this year’s version, we have included a section highlighting alternative strategies with applicable case studies.

Over the past ten years, Mattern & Associates’ Cost Recovery Survey has drawn broad participation from the nation’s most distinguished firms.  Participating firms broadly view the results as an invaluable tool, terming it, “The most comprehensive snapshot of cost recovery trends and practices available in the legal field.”

The 2014 Survey explored traditional, modern, and emerging cost recovery areas; some of the 2014 Survey’s significant results reveal that:

  • Copy/fax model continues to die
  • Print/scan cost recovery remains solid and will continue to be the biggest facet of recovery
  • The death of legal research recovery is premature, but it is on the ropes
  • Hard costs continue to be the leader
  • Electronic data storage sees a substantial increase


Non-participating firms are cordially invited to join Mattern & Associates for a webinar on Wednesday, September 24th at noon EST. 

The 2014 Cost Recovery Survey webinar will highlight and provide a live platform for discussing the aggregate results, in addition to the trends revealed over the past ten years Mattern & Associates has conducted the Survey. 

To learn more and sign up for the informational webinar on the 2014 Cost Recovery Survey on Wednesday, September 24th, contact Lisa Schneider at lschneider@matternassoc.com.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tips for Entering a Flat Fee Contract

Recently it was reported in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney entered into flat fee e-discovery contract with a company by the name of D4. D4 will work with Buchanan Ingersoll’s litigation support department to handle e-discovery consulting, collections and forensics, processing, predictive coding, analytics, hosting and review. The firm is paying a flat contract price for up to three terabytes of data to be handled by D4, with the option to buy an additional plan if the firm exceeds that data limit.

The whole flat fee model is attractive but there are a few things to be aware of:

Key contract terms - Flat fee all you can eat contracts such as these must contain underusage reconciliation, monthly performance criteria, reporting and scorecards.

What happens if you build it and they don’t come? - In order to optimize the value of a flat fee contract, firm management must mandate their usage. Individual users have to be forced to send their work to the designated vendor. Issues that frequently occur are client driven vendor preferences, or the firm management does not have the mandate to force the issue.

Recovering the costs - Legal Research - A great example of what not to do.
The key to the flat fee set-up is the policy for the recovery of these costs and the pricing. An excellent example of what not to do is what has happened with legal research. Based on the Mattern & Associates 2014 Cost Recovery Survey, the majority of firms are still attempting to recover legal research costs, but the net realization of these costs is at all time low. The primary reasons given are clients’ refusal to pay and internal attorney write-offs. Both of these reasons can be attributed to the pricing policies that many firms employed to recover legal research costs under the flat fee arrangements the legal research vendors were providing.

Our recommendation is to structure the recovery cost as a hard cost pass -through (Mattern Plan B Cost Recovery) or to “net” out your true costs and pass this cost through to your clients. Additionally, educate your billing attorneys and keep the process transparent to the end users.

Monday, July 21, 2014

How do you know your contract is “working”?

One of the most interesting things I find in working with human nature is the divergent range of satisfaction. We will work with clients who say their vendor is doing a great job; however when we dig into the operation, we encounter excessive turnover, unfair pricing practices, non-adherence to negotiated performance standards and a whole slew of other contract and performance issues.  On the flip side, vendors who are performing well are criticized due to a personality conflict or a misguided perception.  

Here are some “unbiased” guidelines, based upon our 17 years in the support services consulting business, on how to know if your contract is working:  

  • Do you get monthly or quarterly reporting? If a vendor is doing their job well, they should be begging to get information in front of you to show you what a great job they are doing. Lack of reporting usually indicates there is an issue they don’t want you to know about.    
  • Invoicing.  Are the vendor’s invoices timely, accurate and easily understood? If they fail any one of these criteria it usually indicates an issue.
  • Turnover.  Do you have excessive turnover either in management, or if your contract contains a labor component, with your services onsite? Excessive turnover (30% on site, much lower offsite) usually indicates an issue with pay rates, lack of growth, company policies, etc.  
  • Not enough turnover.  Say what? Not enough turnover with your onsite personnel is also not a good thing. It indicates a lack of growth opportunities, but more importantly, you are paying the higher cost of these outsourced employees who are staying on your site instead of the market rates that new employees placed at your site would be getting paid.
  • Ask the end users. A good gauge is end user satisfaction - survey, form a focus group, ask at company meetings. Better yet, your vendor should be doing these same things.

If you have a contract and are not sure it is “working”, reach out and ask us. We will probably have a solution that will work for you.