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Orrick Turns to Video to Overhaul In-House Counsel CLE

Jan. 17, 2020, 9:51 AM

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe this week launched a new website featuring more than 40 videos in an attempt to overhaul the way its lawyers and clients earn credit for staying up to date with the law.

The new platform, called The Conversation at Orrick, is a partnership with In-House Focus, a two-year-old company that produces videos for continuing legal education and sells them via subscriptions to in-house counsel. Many of Orrick’s videos and short clips are free on the website, and access to the CLE videos is free for Orrick clients.

The videos are shot in a conversational style with lawyers from Orrick and the firm’s clients in an attempt to shake up the staid, lecture-style CLE format, said Andrew Dick, founder of In-House Focus and a former Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Morrison & Foerster lawyer.

Orrick lawyers have covered topics such as how to counsel board members on cybersecurity concerns related to new products and what’s new with U.S. Department of Labor rules.

Clients who have participated include Gary Eppinger, global chief information security officer at Carnival Cruise Line, and Eileen Akerson, general counsel at publicly traded engineering and construction company KBR Inc.

In-House Focus has filmed at least one video for about 15 AmLaw 100 firms, but no firm has built a library to the extent Orrick has.

Mitch Zuklie, the firm’s chairman and CEO, said the commitment to video came after asking clients how the firm could update the traditional e-mail or text-based client alerts that law firms push out ad nauseam.

“We heard some clear themes. They value practical business advice and market trends, they have too much reading, and they value diverse perspectives,” Zuklie said. “This conversational video format seemed like it could be an answer to these needs.”

More than 80% of the lawyers in the videos are women or diverse lawyers, and each video has at least one woman or diverse lawyer, Dick said. The Orrick video collection will grow to more than 100 within six months, he said.

The firm is paying very little for the opportunity to make its lawyers stars of the computer screen. In-House Focus makes money selling in-house counsel subscriptions, which vary in price but can cost $300 a lawyer for in-house teams of 25 lawyers. Dick said Orrick has paid some nominal fees to cover the costs of making some of the videos.

“We are looking for partners who can help us create great content, and that’s a win for us and a win for the firm,” Dick said.

Plenty of law firm marketing managers have pursued videos as a way to reach clients, but the medium still vastly trails text-based material.

One problem Dick noted is that most corporate lawyers don’t have experience presenting in front of a camera, but he said the conversational style videos make it easier.

“As long as you can make the cameras feel like they are in the background and make sure they’re not in their face with lights, lawyers are really good at this,” he said. “This is their element. Lawyers talk to one another. They talk to clients all day long.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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