differentiation by doing
I've come to two simple but strong conclusions:
1. Lawyers are uncomfortable about engaging with the business world
2. Law firms miss out on business opportunities as a result
I look at the cultural and psychological reasons behind this elsewhere on this site. The important point is that it is possible to help younger lawyers dismantle the barriers stopping them having the business dialogue clients want. I work with junior partners and senior associates in one-to-one sessions where we jointly open up contacts with real life new business targets.
cox consulting services
One-to-one sessions with junior partners and senior associates to develop their confidence to reach out to clients, contacts and targets.
In-depth face-to-face interviews with major clients to explore satisfaction with service, views on relationship management and learn about business developments and future needs.
Winning new clients on a firm's behalf by identify;ing and researching targets and arranging to meet them.
Applying technology to improve efficiency and enhance clients' experience of the firm.
I carried out two earlier editions of this major research study at the height of the boom in 2006 and in the aftermath of the crash in 2010.
For each study I conduct 30 face-to-face interviews with in-house lawyers and business people in the major investment and commercial banks. The research delivers a powerful and frank account of how clients assess firms' efforts at building relationships with them.
The 2016 study will discover what progress firms have made in this critical area. The graphic below summarises the sharp divide the research uncovered in the motivations and interests of lawyers and clients. My training and consultancy with individual lawyers and firms works to bridge this divide
I've been helping law firms win business from new and existing clients ever since they were allowed to market their services 30 years ago.
I pioneered the first UK legal market research study, 'Client Satisfaction with City Solicitors' in 1988. I've personally interviewed hundreds of law firm clients, with a particular focus on whether and how firms develop good business relationships with them.
firms by making direct approaches. Despite not being a lawyer, I've successfully introduced many new clients from organisations that had no previous connection with the firm concerned.
This training and mentoring process passes on the insight I've gained from working with clients and lawyers at leading firms. I've also applied this knowledge in practice for several years by winning new business for
Some law firms are developing new consultancy servies to support banking clients in meeting two major challenges: building robust compliance systems and improving the efficiency of legal and compliance. This year's study will measure clients' appetite for this input and how they would prefer to collaborate with firms.
Differentiation by doing
Law firm managements and marketing departments are constantly preoccupied with the conundrum of 'how do we differentiate ourselves?'. Secretly, they suspect the truth that their firm is much the same as the many other firms it appears to be much the same as. It has able lawyers, highly experienced in their fields, who work hard to deal with their clients' legal issues and be responsive.
This does not stop them spending substantial resources on brand identity projects which aim to discover distinctive aspects of their culture and approach. Typically, these are that their firm really cares about clients and that they really do understand business. The problem is that this is exactly what all the other firms are claiming. Worse, while there may be truth in the claim that they are committed to clients, to assert that they are business-focused is unconvincing because we know this is a central weakness for most lawyers.
But there is a way law firms can differentiate themselves: through what their people actually do. If their lawyers do start engaging with clients and contacts to learn from them and share ideas on business developments. If their lawyers do reach out to people they don't know and show interest in their business and legal needs. If this starts happening, clients and the wider market begin to notice. It is real, not a brand concept. It also achieves the ultimate aim of growing the firm. This is harder to achieve, but it is an area where I can support firms - by working with individual lawyers.