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Does your firm have a ‘relationship’ problem?

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I read with interest about the recently launched Tinder style app for the legal industry that aims to connect the right client to the right lawyer and vice versa to ensure the ‘right fit’. It reminded me of the dotcom boom in the early 2000s when online entrepreneurs had merely a few minutes to ‘sell’ their idea to investors and secure investment in the business.

According to research, buyers of legal services are keen to know that the law firm has the domain expertise in the relevant field and, of course that the quality of the work delivered is of a high standard on instruction. A demonstration of this criteria typically gets the law firm ‘in the door’. However, what really sets a firm apart is its understanding of the buyer’s industry and business – and this only comes from an entrenched and close firm-client relationship. In this scenario, will this app-led approach be suitable for all types of law firms and clients?

Competition in the global legal market is cut throat today and many corporates are shrinking the size of their legal panels to get a better handle on expenditure. Consequently, there is an ever-growing need for law firms to know exactly who their prospects are so that they can invest in understanding the clients’ business, develop the right relationships and indeed propose a service that best meets customer needs. At LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions, we call it ‘extreme targeting’ – i.e. identifying the firm’s truly top prospects based on ‘extreme qualification’ – i.e. organisations in which the firm has the strongest and widest number of contacts at the right levels, across geographies, who engage via all types of communications from end to end and present the possibility of the best/most profitable type of work. This attitude not only facilitates a better use of the firm’s resources, but also offers a much higher probability of success in winning the work.

Similarly, clients too must undertake a great deal of due diligence to ensure that they appoint law firms that are the best fit possible for their business, especially due to the complexity of the issues they have to deal with pertaining to compliance, mergers and acquisitions and so on. Cutting corners on due diligence is indeed risky.

In reality a law firm must never really need a matchmaking style app for securing new business. And if it does, perhaps it’s a sign that the firm does not have healthy relationships with clients and prospects which allow it to develop and nurture its new business pipeline. Furthermore, this approach encourages a ‘legal services supplier’ mentality. Rather law firms should see themselves as partners of their clients’ businesses and even an extension of those organisations.

Dare I say it, if your law firm needs a Tinder style app to connect with clients, the firm may have a relationship problem!

Tags: InterAction
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