Business clients want their lawyers to help facilitate commercial objectives
A recent article in Forbes magazine by legal services sector management consultant Mark Cohen describes an emerging legal market where business clients increasingly expect lawyers to be a conduit to business success.
As Cohen explains, business leaders are encouraging (or sometimes demanding) that lawyers “operate proactively, predictively, quickly, efficiently, collaboratively, and in data-backed fashion. The expectation is that the legal function will morph from self-contained cost center to collaborative catalyst for enterprise and customer value creation.”
Notably, as Cohen details, 97% of business leaders want their lawyer’s success metrics to be aligned with their business goals. And 74% of business leaders say it is important or extremely important for lawyers to create revenue and new market opportunities.
As Cohen explains, lawyers’ latent value is extracted when they cease to operate in isolation and instead align with their business clients. Here, he notes, is where ultimately lawyers will collaborate with and positively impact numerous units within client businesses – detecting, deterring, mitigating and accelerating solutions to business challenges while also capturing opportunities. Lawyers will, therefore, be a “proactive, positive force in the enterprise, not a reactive, “department of no.””
Lawyers should reorient around client business goals facilitation
Lawyers providing services to business should seek to closely align their services offer with helping make their clients’ businesses more competitive and profitable. For example, IP lawyers can seek opportunities to monetize client IP portfolios, corporate lawyers can seek to be a conduit to M&A opportunities (not just a transaction advisor), government lawyers can seek to help clients secure government contracts, litigation lawyers can seek to help clients avoid litigation risk before conflicts arise.
In addition to reorienting services offers to help facilitate client commercial objectives, lawyers should also seek to establish a thought leadership position around this expertise in each legal specialism where they are deploying this posture. A well thought out blog and a considered business development initiative around engaging the business units around potential client businesses will see firms becoming trusted partners for business growth.
I help lawyers and law firms establish and maintain blogging initiatives which highlight their ability to facilitate commercial opportunities for clients. If you would like to learn more, please contact me.