12/17/12

Tuning the Process of Researching, Marketing and Selling Legal Services

Image [cc] mandiberg
I usually read articles written by vendors with a grain of salt, but I think that Thomson Reuter's Dave Whiteside's article, "Stop Doing the Legal Limbo" has some good food for thought in it, and it plays into what we discuss here on this blog when it comes to Librarians playing a bigger role in Business Development.

My suggestion is to read the article first and then come back to this part that I think helps explain it in the Librarian/Marketing/KM/BizDev environment.

… okay… I assume you've read it.

I’ll reword some key pieces of what Dave Whiteside wrote just a little bit to fit the concept of a law firm’s ability to research, market and sell it services:
  • How do we help attorneys get to know the potential client before they meet?
  • Are we preparing the attorney to better understand the potential client’s business?
  • What do we do to help the attorney understand the client’s industry and competitors?
  • How do we get current awareness information to the attorneys to help them keep up with upcoming issues and trends that impact the potential client’s business?
  • Do we have an comprehensive method of clearly explaining the relevant experiences that the attorney and/or the firm has that will guide the potential client who faces the same problem?
  • What type of training do we give to our attorneys to help them explain how our services don’t just help with short term needs, but we are also there to advise in ways that help General Counsel better direct their company in avoiding future legal issues?
Whiteside hands out a laundry list of Thomson Reuters products that can help, but I wanted to be more generic and think of the process instead of the specific products and see if there are things we already have in place that we could leverage to get to the goals listed above:
  • What do we use to organize our collective experiences and help attorneys explain how those previous experiences are specifically why the client should hire us?
  • How do we determine where we stand in these issues compared to our peers?
  • Where do we find our individual relationships between members of the firm and the potential client. How do we present this in an actionable way to the attorney?
  • What type of controls do we have in place that helps manage matters as well as helps quickly identify inefficient or unprofitable work?
I’ll add one more to this list that I think is very important:
  • What processes do we have in place that reviews matters once they are over and helps better prepare other attorneys in the firm for the next time?
There are a number of opportunities here for Librarians, Marketing, KM, Biz Dev, Client Development, and many others on the Administrative side of the law firm. I bet that almost all of you have some, but not all, of resources already in place at your firms. The key with something like this is that there has to be a process started of getting the right people, information, resources, and tools aligned so that it becomes a standard at your firm, and not just a one-off project that only comes into play when an attorney comes in with an “emergency” request because they are meeting with the potential client in 30 minutes.

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1 comments:

Gordon Vala-Webb said...

I think you are right on the mark and fits precisely with my experience at one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Do be successful requires a firm to emphasize and enhance things they are (likely?) already doing but need to do much more of:

- working with (rather than looking down) on clients (i.e. be less arrogant) and look for opportunities to build shared value

- enhanced flow of information (about clients and potential clients, about industry issues, about hot topics) both from formal sources (e.g. LexisNexis) and informal (i.e. lawyer to lawyer)

- demonstrate to the marketplace the ability to "look around the corner" for clients (i.e. be more business-savvy and strategic)

- making better decisions about what kind of work and clients the firm is going to pursue (and learning from when the firm is unsuccessful)

 

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