Should law firms invest in more competitive intelligence? Asks Ron Friedmann. Um. Yes. Always yes. And not just law firms but every business should invest more in CI.  Investing in knowing what you know, knowing what you don’t know and knowing what the market knows – about you and otherwise – is an investment every business should make.  In the above mentioned article, CI is described as “The deeper the insight, the better. Competitive intelligence serves that purpose. It helps win business and improve service delivery.”  The article goes on to talk about the ways CI can help law firm business development and marketing efforts, this post was expertly timed to come out in advance of the Legal Marketing Associations annual conference being held in Atlanta this coming week.  The revisiting a February 2019 survey and calling for more CI is a great start,  CI can help with business development.

But positioning CI only as BD and Marketing support sells CI short.   CI can and should drive business development efforts but CI is much more.   CI should be embedded in practice planning, strategic firm growth discussions, lateral hire diligence, office or practice expansion proposals.  To borrow and expand on the SCIP.org definition of CI, it is a systematic and ethical program for gathering, analyzing, and managing external and internal information that can affects your business.  There are a few key elements to that definition that get lost when we think of CI as only competitive research to support BD and marketing efforts. Namely, the idea of CI being based on analysis, and a combination of internal and external information gathering.  The aforementioned competitive research leaves out rigorous analysis and negates internal data, which firms are producing in mass quantities and not leveraging very well beyond pricing or resource planning.  We need to bring the outside in. if we are going to truly do meaningful CI for our firms. CI needs to be systematic, it needs to be ongoing not only tied to a specific RFP or a moment in time, it should evolve with the firm and inform any business decision that requires both avoiding surprises (the fall of a competitor firm, the exit of an entire practice of lawyers from your firm to a competitor) and forecasting for the future (did we see e-sports coming as a burgeoning area of law?).
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“All Problems Are Communications Problems.”

This is Greg’s go to phrase when it comes to working with and leading others. Marlene actually beats Greg to the punch this week when they talk with this week’s guest, Heather Ritchie. Heather is the Chief Knowledge and Business Development Officer at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP in Toronto, and as her title suggests, she wears multiple leadership hats at her firm. In her recent ILTA KM article, “12 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Leverage Library & Knowledge Management Teams,” Ritchie walks us through the value of collaborating between the Marketing/Business Development, Knowledge Management, and Library operations of a law firm. Knowing who brings what talent to the table is key to creating stable and successful environment which results in wins for the law firm. 

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How Is Your Business Changing the Legal Industry?

In part two of our three part series, we hear from four more providers of legal industry products on how they are changing the industry. This week we hear from:

Information Inspirations:
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Image [cc] ByronNewMedia

While prepping for a workshop on this morning, I began to think about the types of business development, client relations and competitive intelligence questions that are commonly asked at law firms, and how they tend to almost always be reactive in nature. Take the question of a partner coming to the development/intelligence

Ben Gilad, noted competitive intelligence theorist once wrote something to the effect of “bird watching is a fun hobby, but you shouldn’t do it in the middle of a busy highway.” Greg’s last post about needing investigative reporters on staff is to me a bit like bird watching on a highway. I see the point,