Lawyer Business Development: To Build an International Client Base – Be a Gateway into Your Market

Lawyers and law firms seeking to attract clients in international markets should seek to be a gateway into their market.  This strategy aligns with what law firm clients are seeking when it comes to what they want from their law firms – knowing their business. 

When lawyers seek to be a gateway to their market – it means they are seeking to be a voice of information and opportunity about what commercial opportunities exist in their market.  If done correctly, a law firm can become a widely recognized voice about their market to an international audience.  These efforts, most importantly, help law firms and lawyers closely position themselves as conduits to commercial opportunities for their clients and prospective clients.

Global trade and investment provide more opportunities for law firms

As Melissa Davis details in Law Practice Today – “The growth in global trade (and particularly interest in such jurisdictions) has created fresh opportunities” for law firms globally. She cites as one example the Baker & McKenzie Peru office (few international firms maintain offices in Peru) – which directly appeals to energy sector and related clients as there is an expected investment of $131 billion in copper mining in Chile and Peru by the end of 2020.  The presence of this office provides international companies and investors with a local resource to help them navigate this opportunity.

Utilize a combination of strategic initiatives

But an office alone is insufficient to attract clients.  One also must engage in robust inbound thought leadership initiatives utilizing social media to expand the reach of these messages – as well as proactive outbound business development to identify, pursue and capture new clients around these opportunities.  As Davis explains, social media “is so very effective in boosting profile and providing a way to demonstrate expertise to a wide pool of ‘listeners,’ as well as its cost-effective nature and the inescapable reality that it’s now a key part of a competitive marketing strategy.”

Another example of a law firm taking a unique and effective step to make themselves a gateway to their market is King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) establishment of a Belt & Road Center of International Cooperation and Facilitation (BRCICF).  As the firm detailed to clients when they established the Center:  “As a leading international law firm deeply rooted in China, we are able to leverage our international diversification advantages and innovative model in legal services, and build a comprehensive professional service platform combining legal services, think tank researches, consultation services, and international cooperation. BRCICF aims at connecting the government and enterprises and providing high-level professional services to both Chinese and foreign participants who want to explore the opportunities brought by the BRI.”

Emulate the efforts of governments to attract foreign investment

These efforts are akin to what some countries do to attract foreign direct investment.  A recently successful example of which was the efforts by the French government at the 2020 Davos Forum in Versailles.  Writing in Textmaster, Ludivine Chotard explained how “[a]head of the [2020] Davos Forum… in Versailles, the “Choose France Summit” took place. This was an opportunity for French president Emmanuel Macron to meet the heads of various multinationals and promote “Made in France”. A well-proven and marketed operation; #ChooseFrance quickly became very popular on Twitter during the day of the summit and more than 3.5 billion euros of investments were announced by companies such as Toyota, Facebook, SAP, Manpower, Google and others.”

Combine inbound marketing and outbound business development

Ultimately, every law firm or lawyer would need to create a highly customized plan for their practice around prime commercial opportunities which exist in your jurisdiction.  And as I mentioned before, they would include a combination of initiatives including inbound marketing and outbound business development, to be fully effective.

Lawyer Business Development Coaching

I help lawyers develop personal business development plans custom-tailored to their unique practices — via one-on-one video or audio coaching sessions.  My experience includes hundreds of face-to-face meetings with prospective clients on behalf of law firms – where I helped clients realize how lawyers can help them achieve their commercial objectives. These meetings first required me to identify client needs – reaching out to those prospective clients and securing meetings with them on behalf of my clients and succeeding in securing those meetings. And shepherding those relationships to becoming new client engagements.  For more information about how I might be able to help you build your law practice, please complete the form below and I’ll contact you promptly.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope to hear from you.

John Grimley

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