Today’s Recorder (a San Francisco legal publication) reports on Cisco’s System – that is, the system set up by its new General Counsel, Mark Chandler to manage and leverage his outside counsel. A couple years ago when Mark was an assistant GC at Cisco, he and I were speakers at an American Management Association seminar. Not only is he a sharp guy when it comes to the legal issues facing his company, his grasp of the possibilities when it comes to technology’s ability to automate processes and serve a larger strategic goal was remarkable.
Anyway, Mark is an excellent guy for the job. Speaks his mind, knows what he’s doing, and is one of those rare lawyers who knows the technology as well as his techies do. I’m also hopeful that Mark will help accelerate a change I’ve been predicting for a while (and talked about most recently back in January) – the need for the profession to move away from the billable hour business model. Chandler’s quote (keep in mind this comes from one of the Bay Area’s largest technology clients, and carries a lot of weight):
“The traditional law firm billing model is the last vestige of the medieval guild system to survive intact. And it’s going to change,” Chandler said. “Firms should be marketing to me on the efficiency of their operations and transparency of their billing.”Amen, brother!