I attended the Legal Marketing Association – Los Angeles Chapter lunch today, featuring Susan Hackett from the Association of Corporate Counsel.

As many of you know, for the past couple year’s ACC has been working on a Value Challenge for the legal community.

Ms. Hackett commented that while this is a client-driven initiative, law firms need to be ready to respond and to have meaningful conversations around these issues. Her message today is that the clamor we’ve been hearing is building to a roar, and action will be taken.

Today’s program focused on the next step … a Value Index for lawyers, legal practices and law firms. The ultimate goal of the Value Index is to develop trust and legacy between the client and attorney, rather than just one-off cases or matters.

ACC is looking to create a collaborative social media network to expand the list of law firms that corporate American can call upon. They are looking to even the playing field between big-law, solos, regional firms and boutiques. The ultimate goal is not to reduce the cost of legal services, per se, but to ascribe a value to the services provided.

As currently envisioned, the ACC Value Index will not be a ranking, á la Martindale AV Ratings or Chambers, but a “score card” system. It will be a place where clients can go and assess the VALUE they ascribe to the attorney/client relationship.

So what will go into the “value” of an attorney, practice or law firm? ACC is still working that out, but so far profitability, client satisfaction, attorney attrition rates, firm efficiency, pro-bono and green initiatives are all under consideration.

What will the Value Index look like when it’s rolled out? That’s what ACC is working on right now.

ACC needs to be commended for taking their time, engaging both the consumer and provider of legal services into the discussion. As they travel the country, having conversations with groups such as the Legal Marketing Association, Marketing Partner Forum, as well as at their own regional sessions on the topic, I encourage all of you to join the conversation and voice your opinions.

Many thanks to Barbara A. Finley, Finley Consulting, for her contributions to today’s post.