LMA West kicked off another successful series of In-House Counsel Summits

LMA West kicked off another successful series of In-House Counsel Summits. In May, our southern California local groups, Orange County and San Diego, hosted "Innovation, Predictability and Efficiency: Trends Your Firm Can No Longer Ignore," while our Bay Area local group hosted "Decades of In-House Experience at Leading Silicon Valley Companies."

The In-House Counsel series offered insight into how In-House Counsel departments are facing the ever changing legal marketplace and the influence this has on their expectations of law firms. The panels covered the increasing concerns of privacy, compliance, the growing international landscape, technology, and the bottom line. The panelist spoke to the importance of efficiency and availability of needed go-to services.

In the 6th Annual LMA Silicon Valley In-House Counsel Summit took an innovative approach to traditional in-house counsel panels. The moderator was Michael Sacksteder, the chair of the patent litigation group at Fenwick & West. He outlined a number of questions he wanted to have answered, and several topics to discuss. He then reached out and built the panel around those objectives. The panelists included: Anirma Gupta, General Counsel at Tanium; Mark Kahn, Head of Legal at Segment; and Douglas Luftman, Vice President & General Counsel at Nomis Solutions. The group talked about how the marketplace for legal services is rapidly changing, because of the rise in alternative legal service providers, artificial intelligence, and legal operations. Attendees learned that the law firm of the future can’t just focus on client value and meeting basic expectations — they must rise above, build on their strengths, and creative innovative & different solutions in order to stay relevant.

Both Orange County and San Diego in-house panels followed along the same path of building the panel around particular themes. The panels focused on predictability and price certainty, innovation and technology, and hiring outside counsel processes.

Our Orange County panel included Jeffrey Compangano, General Counsel/VP at The Word & Brown Companies; Lisa Harrington, former General Counsel at ASICS; and Zachary Zaharek, VP, Senior Operations Counsel at First American Mortgage Solutions; and moderator Dan Fears, Managing Partner at Payne & Fears. A few takeaways included:

  • In-house counsel are reporting to their CFO’s and are expected to provide some level of predictability with legal spend and to drive costs down.
  • A pro tip: show a running total of what the spend is (legal fees and costs), so in-house counsel doesn’t have to go back and individually add up invoices
  • Be cognizant of the team that pitches the work and if the work is won, the team working for the client; they should be the same.

Our SoCal In-House Counsel Summit continued with our San Diego event and featured panelist included Lisa Omori, Corporate Counsel at Grand Pacific Resorts, Inc.; Ryan Marks, Senior Corporate Counsel at AMN Healthcare; and Steven Mashal, Corporate Counsel at American Council on Exercise; and was moderated by Christian Salaman, Partner at Pillsbury. A few takeaways included:

  • Outside counsel has offered a client a two-day full deep dive into learning their business (on the outside counsel’s dime) so they could level the playing field with the other firms who were long-standing with the client.
  • Each panelist agreed they like to work with local San Diego law firms and lawyers to be supportive of the community they live in.
  • If you have to do a “cold pitch,” talk about the case in particular e.g. judges, opposing counsel, something about the case to increase your chances of receiving a reply.
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