New study reveals best ways for law firms to communicate with in-house counsel

Patrick Smith writing in Law.com – detailed a new study conducted by legal services sector advisors Greentarget and Zeughauser Group – which found simple, direct communications of substance between private practice lawyers and in-house counsel – is what will generate interest in further discussions.

In-house counsel top 3 preferred methods of communication

  1. Phone call: “Relevant, timely, novel and useful…simple phone call[s]…are the “number one preferred method [of communication]”…according to 84% of GC respondents.
  2. Email: “88% of GCs had been contacted by outside counsel via a personal email (one that is not part of a blast), and this was the second-favorite method of outreach…”
  3. Text message: “The third-most-preferred method was a text message, but only 39% of respondents said they had received texts from outside counsel.” 

In-house counsel prefer substantive communications

Notably, “the survey found that while [current external legal counsel] certainly have an advantage in retaining their clients, there remained an opportunity for “challenger” firms, looking to connect with a new client” — and that: “outside counsel would have an advantage in the response rate [where outreach]…was substantive, topical or provided actionable guidance.” Specifically: Communications which contained “substantive legal or business information”, or that “covered a highly topical issue”, or “provides actionable guidance” – was found to be more likely to produce positive results for the private practice lawyers seeking to secure a conversation with in-house counsel.

What isn’t securing the attention of in-house counsel

As Smith details: “…The survey found that, as much as everyone has enjoyed producing virtual happy hours, cooking classes, wine tastings and the like, the reality is that most GCs don’t choose to engage with their law firms this way.”

In term of content, in-house counsel noted an increasing preference for podcast-format publishing by law firms, in addition to other forms of substantive content including blogs.

“…The overall theme was that messaging, regardless of how it is delivered, can be impactful if it has relevance, urgency, novelty and utility.”  Hence, relevance which contains actionable commercial intelligence, will be much favored over generic, social outreach.

I’ve written a great deal about the best methods lawyers can use to reach out to new prospective clients, and it wholly aligns with the results of this new study.  Here are a few of my blogposts which address this issue in particular:

If you would like to discuss how I might help you hone your ability to create messages which will result in discussions with the general counsel and other potential clients – please complete the form below to arrange a discussion.

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