The higher the risk or reward of the legal need, the less price sensitivity. The more routine a matter, the greater the expectation for discounts, flat fees or a clear value proposition around efficiency and results.
Becoming a trusted advisor with your clients often hinges on your ability to achieve defined business outcomes. Those results are especially important when communicating with General Counsel and Chief Financial Officers.
Research interviews conducted in part by GrowthPlay's Law Leaders Lab shows that these groups are far more interested in the outcomes their lawyers deliver than the time and effort lawyers put in to producing the work.
Relationships are the cornerstone of any professional services business. But the traditional ways lawyers build relationships are changing. Excellent legal service, responsiveness and knowledge of a client’s business – once considered “value adds” to building strong relationships – are now considered simply requirements for getting business.
Developing your professional network can be a pivotal component to your creating the type of practice that creates the greatest professional satisfaction.
Your contacts should consist of three types of people
- Prospects – people who can actually buy your legal services
- Connectors – people who can connect you to or influence prospects over time
- Alliance partners – “super-connectors” or people who you have a high degree of interest in cultivating business together with you and who provide complementary services to your same target market
Consider the most important ideas, movements or events that figured in to our nation’s history – The Gettysburg Address, The Bill of Rights, Brown v. Board of Education, they're all possible because of lawyers. The role of a lawyer is to solve specific, individualized problems and to advance the interests of others. At its core the legal profession is other centric. So why then, when attorneys do so much good for others, do they continue to get such a bad name?
With clients continuing to demand that firms understand their business, it’s critical that firms have a mechanism to develop associates into more senior attorneys who understand a client’s business objectives, be able to speak their language and be able to look for the problems that actually need to be solved. Firms that are able to arm their lawyers with these critical skills are able to build a pipeline of retained talent who will generate more revenue and preserve firm market share.
Most lawyers are accustomed to the idea of providing free legal aid to the less fortunate as part of their commitment to the pro bono ethic. But in a growing trend, some law firms are extending their generosity beyond needy individuals to include cash-strapped startups and entrepreneurs. An article in TechCrunch examines new websites, established by law firms like Cooley LLP and WilmerHale, where startup staffers can download and customize basic legal documents at no cost. These are the same documents that firms once guarded closely as the products of their billable hours, but today there’s brisk competition among certain firms to give them away for free.