Interview: Doug Ventola of Consilio on law firm diversity and other criteria which matter to clients
Chris Dale, of the eDisclosure Information Project, recently moderated a panel in Toronto whose theme was the continuing importance of the human element in the provision of legal services. One of the examples Chris drew on was the fact that, for all their focus on cost and efficiency, clients still ascribe value to personal and human values. This extends to valuing a law firm’s commitment to things like diversity. What made me think of this in that context was an interview which Chris did at ILTA in Las Vegas with Doug Ventola of Consilio at which he told Chris of the demand for Consilio’s work in measuring the diversity of its workforce.
Sky Analytics is an analytics and benchmarking tool designed to help corporate legal departments understand and maximise the value of the legal services which they buy. Doug Ventola is the managing director at Consilio responsible for Sky Analytics.
Our interview subjects ranged from measuring diversity to drafting RFPs and to wider benchmarking tools enabling corporate legal departments to make informed choices about where they place their work.
Doug Ventola said that companies have focused on the diversity within law firms both generally and in relation to the work done for them, at a senior level and further down the firm. The result, Doug Ventola says, promotes better engagement between law departments and law firms generally as well as on the specific point about diversity.
More widely, corporate legal departments are always trying to maximize the value they get from the law firms without compromising on quality and without increasing their risk. Doug Ventola emphasizes that lowest cost is not necessarily the only or even the main criterion but says that clients are looking at efficiency and other measures for tracking satisfaction with the law firms, adding qualitative data such as outcomes to the decision-making along with hard objective factors.
All this helps corporate law firms consolidate the number of law firms they work with, shifting work away from some of them in favour of others.
Law firms are increasingly facing requests for proposals, whether in relation to a specific matter or for a body of work. Consilio help helps corporations produce RFPs with a tool specifically aimed at the legal market. Doug Ventola says that firms should see such requests as an opportunity and sees evidence that they are getting better at responding to RFPs.