Google’s Outside Counsel: Open to Change P.2

Behind every corporate legal team or law firm inspired to deliver exceptional value to their corporate clients is a leader who recognizes the need for new levels of clarity as well as transparency in performance. In this series, I interview legal industry leaders as well as innovators that are bringing transparency to legal performance in their own unique way. In this interview, I speak with Michelle Knight, shareholder and co-chair, patent prosecution at Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane. An outside counsel for Google.

Part 2

RP:
Were you surprised by any of the things that were being measured?

Michelle:
No, we weren’t surprised by it. Google is very clear about their expectations. They set guidelines and expect us to comply with them, so we expect to be measured on our conformance to their requirements. Certain things have been clarified and modified based on practice and the passage of time, but they’ve always been very clear on their expectations of outside counsel.

RP:
Were you surprised by the scores in any way?

Michelle:
We were surprised by our in-house counsel quality score in the first report we received. We were also surprised the first time by our billing timeliness score.

RP:
How far would you say the impact of these results went in the firm?

Michelle:
One of our favorite things in the report is the comments from the in-house counsel. There’s no indication who made the comments or who it was actually about, but reading those comments gives us a lot of insight into what counsel appreciates about firms and what they don’t like. We have learned from those comments, and we spread them out into other parts of the firm – not the specifics, but making sure you consider the economic impact or the marketing impact and so forth.

In Tune With Their Goals

RP:
How has this process affected your relationship with Google?

Michelle:
I know it made me feel more like I am in tune with their goals. The whole team feels, comparatively, that we know their expectations better. There is nothing more important to us than making sure the client is happy and the client is getting the service that they want and the output they want. Knowing what the expectations are, makes it easier for us to do that. The more a client is clear on what they want, the more likely you will give them what they want.

RP:
If another firm told you they had been approached to begin a process like this, what would be your advice?

Michelle:
Learn everything that you can about the results. It’s an important part of the process. As a result the more you learn what the client would like, the better you’ll serve them. It could be a little intimidating as well as nerve-wracking to know that someone is judging you and assessing your performance, but it’s important.

About Qualmet

Qualmet is a cloud-based SaaS provider. Offering customers a single sign-on platform to objectively as well as easily evaluate the quality of service. Services provided by their outside counsel as well as alternative legal service providers. Many of the world’s largest law firms and corporate law departments collaborated in the development of Qualmet. The Qualmet tool uniquely positions users to quickly as well as easily measure the value delivered by their service providers. By coupling industry-aligned evaluation as well as legal metrics with objective benchmarking capabilities, Qualmet helps customers define and drive meaningful cost savings as well as value in their organizations. Qualmet’s searchable database of evaluated service providers ranked based on objective metrics is the first of its kind in the legal industry. Know Where You Stand™. Let Qualmet help you drive sustainable and meaningful value for your organization. Follow us on Facebook for updates.

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