An Esquire Viewpoint interview with Taylor Smith, President and Founder of CLM Advisors, on tackling today’s shared challenges of firms and clients.
Q. What is your focus?
With 40,000 members, the CLM is the largest insurance industry professional trade associationfor claims and litigation professionals. We are the consulting arm of the CLM, and we advise litigation and claim executives, law firms, and service and technology companies on how to make their businesses stronger.
Q. How long you’ve been in this position?
We formed CLM Advisors in 2011.
Q. What is the biggest challenge your customers face today?
One of the more complex industry challenges today is faced by both litigation and law firm leaders alike. It is the difficult act of balancing the need for litigation efficiency and cost control with the need to produce optimal litigation outcomes. Both firms and clients ultimately share this same objective, although possibly for slightly different reasons. Clients want to solve this problem because they pay the ultimate costs; firms do well to solve this problem because they want to be competitive in a very competitive landscape.
Q. How do you address this challenge?
For both clients and firms, the most innovative work on this issue tends to fall into three areas of focus. First, the effective use of more metrics and data points is critical, particularly when it includes case outcome and loss costs in the performance equation. Second, there has been a recognition that process matters a great deal; there is a renewed focus not just on “what have you accomplished,” but “how have you accomplished it.” Lastly, smart clients and smart firms both have recognized that opportunities for cost control, efficiency, and new technology extend across the broad spectrum of litigation support services as well. It’s not just about legal fees anymore.
Q. What challenges or opportunities do you see in the future?
When we ask our customers this question, many of them predict that a significant future challenge will be how to harness new data points effectively. It’s getting to the point that almost anything litigation-related can be measured. Customers can be overwhelmed with data. Yet measurement itself is not the end goal. Metrics are a means to understanding a broader picture. Clients and firms that understand this, that know what the data points signify in relation to one another, and that have a construct for sifting through data – they will be ultimately more successful.