Thursday, October 22, 2009

Focus on Client Closes the Sale

"How can I help you?" This simple question prompted an international financial services company to retain an AmLaw 100 attorney I met in NYC this week.

Recalling the incident, the winning attorney described how he was in competition with many other highly qualified lawyers for this prized account. Rather than spend most of the client meeting describing his many accomplishments, however, this experienced practitioner chose to give only a brief background of his experience.

The bulk of the client meeting was then devoted to a discussion of the prospect's business goals, as well as the obstacles that stood in the way of their success. Skillful questioning by the attorney helped to uncover U.S. regulatory requirements that were inhibiting growth plans, as well as some of the workarounds that had already been considered.

The international financial services firm later explained that other attorneys spent most of the allotted interview time talking about themselves, leaving little opportunity to address the client's needs.

The learning here is that the basic act of listening can be a winning formula for new business development. Demonstrate a sincere interest in helping a prospect succeed, and you may do so as well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Future Look at Corporate Lawyers

Technology, price pressures, and increase regulatory compliance are three key factors in fundamental changes facing the legal industry, according to Richard Susskind, author of "The End of Lawyers?"

In an article titled "Five Types of Corporate Lawyers Predicted for the Future" (, 10/19/09), Susskind predicts that lawyers at traditional large, billable hour firms will be forced to gravitate to one of five paths:

1. Expert trusted advisor
2. Enhanced practitioner
3. Legal knowledge engineer
4. Legal risk manager
5. Legal hybrid

Given the actions taken by ACC in its continuing drive toward greater value (see yesterday's post), these predictions appear to have a strong basis in today's market. Attorneys should take heed of their personal career goals and plan accordingly.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ACC Launches Law Firm Client Satisfaction Ratings

The Association of Corporate Counsel will launch the ACC Value Index, a component of the ACC Value Challenge, at its 2009 Annual Meeting in Boston on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at the Hynes Convention Center.

According to an ACC press release:

The ACC Value Index is a client satisfaction measurement tool where members share evaluations of the law firms they engage. It is also an instrument to help shape the thinking and dialogue between firms and in-house counsel about what constitutes “good value” in legal services.

Using a five-point scale (1=Poor, 5=Excellent), members score their outside counsel on the following criteria:

- Understanding objectives/expectations
- Legal expertise
- Efficiency/process management
- Responsiveness/ communication
- Predictable cost/budgeting skills and
- Results delivered/execution

They also answer the important question: would you hire this firm again? Members will be able to browse or search the ACC Value Index based on firm name, matter type or office location.

Read the full ACC Value Index release here.