Corporate lawyers who work to get close to the source of transactions will be more successful in securing high-value work than their competitors. This requires, however, an understanding of what is, and what is not, effective — in seeking to promote your firm to prospective clients.
Old methods of law firm marketing pit firms against each other in a crowded marketplace
I read recently about how elite international law firm White & Case was able to advise on the largest-ever foreign direct investment into Africa.
You might be wondering how White & Case might have secured this work. Was it because of their international elite law firm status? Their known brand? Their networking with general counsel on a regular basis? Any thought leadership publishing efforts they may be engaged in surrounding Africa’s economy? Their rankings based on submissions around the practice areas and lawyers that the firm deployed on this transaction? Or perhaps based on a competitive tender?
Well, some or all may indeed have played a role. And these are some of the traditional methods law firms use to secure this high-value type of work.
Becoming a high-value source of information to the C-Suite will singularly distinguish your firm
There is also another way to secure this type of work – which is more time and cost-effective than the methods I’ve detailed above. The methods I’ve detailed above place firms in direct competition with other firms amid a sea of competition. This is a decided disadvantage to most firms that don’t have the pedigree of a White & Case.
Rather than focusing on these methods, therefore – most firms ought to focus on becoming a resource of high-value commercial intelligence sourcing to the C-Suite and general counsel of companies and organizations – where when they act on the intelligence you provide – you are appointed counsel on the transaction(s).
For example, where there are opportunities for companies to make strategic acquisitions in your country (this is one of numerous hypotheticals I could cite) – you should be having high-level conversations with the C-Suite of these companies before individual opportunities arise. Most law firms do not do this – because either they don’t think they can, or they don’t know how to. But most law firms should – because it distinguishes your firm as a rich source of valuable commercial information for companies – who will naturally appoint your firm to act for it in a transaction(s) – where you’ve sourced the information to them. This method also has the effect of allowing smaller or less well-known firms compete for big-ticket legal work against a White & Case or similar firm.
Instead of going up against a White & Case in a competitive tender, you should be having one-on-one conversations with the C-Suite about how you can help them achieve their commercial objectives.
I have regularly done this very type of outreach to the C-Suite of international corporations – as a means by which to begin a discussion around how my law firm clients might help these companies achieve their commercial objectives, while also providing them with the rarefied legal services required to complete such a transaction. Therefore, I know well of what I write. And I’ve helped hundreds of lawyers implement these strategies.
Most importantly, as I mentioned previously – this approach takes you out of the sea of competition with other firms – and places you squarely in the position of serving as a trusted advisor to your ideal prospective clients – which precious few firms do – despite it being what the C-Suite most wants from their lawyers.
If you are not aware of how to effectively reach out to the corporate C-Suite and articulate commercial opportunities they will respond positively to — and would like to learn – contact me via the form below to arrange a time for a discussion about how I might help you to learn this via one-on-one coaching.