Finding Your Blind Spot

While you’re busy serving your clients and focusing on the nuts and bolts of practicing law, you may be paying too little attention to taking care of business.

As a result of the digital revolution and a myriad of other factors, your competitors are no longer other law firms, but business-minded service providers, corporate in-house legal departments–even robots.

The legal-services sector is falling behind the pace set by technology and the marketplace. Today’s clients demand legal services that are not only faster and cheaper than ever, but reflect intimate knowledge of the client’s business, Mark Cohen of Clearspire legal consultants recently noted in Forbes magazine. Cohen said these demands have contributed to the proliferation of in-house legal departments and the drop-off in work for outside counsel.

Given the evolution of the legal market, it stands to reason that lawyers and firms that stay flexible and adapt to changing trends will fare better financially than those that cling to brick-and-mortar, traditional approaches.

The better path is for law firms to strategize their own business development the way they develop courtroom strategies for their clients. By articulating a plan that includes a vision, a mission and core values, they can expose and illuminate their own blind spots.

For example, a law firm might call upon a business strategist to vet, draft and pitch a personalized marketing plan for the potential hire of a lateral partner. Partners are essential to a firm’s growth, but moving too fast or without sufficient reflection and discipline can be disastrous. Also, the new partner must be carefully integrated into the firm’s culture. The strategist can work confidentially and closely with the firm’s existing partners and the potential hire to clarify a unique purpose, defining the values and behaviors that are required to establish the true benefits of a partnership.

Fortunately, the need for lawyers remains strong and is growing for many practices. But only those who pay close attention to their clients’ needs and seek the help of dedicated strategists will thrive in this brave new world.