Value generated for a law department by a firm or vendor ought to me more than “working closely with the department”

An article says that Applied Discovery defines value as “partnering with clients to achieve their objectives, with thorough cost assessments and efficient project management as methods for aligning cost with value at the very onset: in the bidding stage.”

Stated differently, value is working closely and efficiently with clients. Admirable as that goal may be, it is not value as properly define as output mostly, not input. This is all input, and every provider of services to law departments could (and should) strive to team with the department as efficiently as possible. With no emphasis on what results from that lean teaming, it remains in the realm of “try real hard,” not of deliver something appropriately useful and worthwhile.

Deeper, if the client’s involvement is viewed as so integral to the value delivered by a service provider, the burden lessens on the provider. By that I mean, if two must tango tightly, the provider bears less responsibility for the value of what is delivered, since the client was right there making decisions, pitching in, shaping the result. If your value depends so intimately on the client’s actions and decisions, how can you claim you independently have delivered it? Value, in this light, goes beyond performance excellence to specifications set by others, but also to independence, judgment, and risk taking.

The full article is in Met. Corp. Counsel, May 2011 at 35.

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