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So many trends on so many fronts. But they all have the same impact—opportunity.

Clients are spending more with outside counsel—mostly at higher rates. And, increased complexity drives clients to develop new expectations for client service. We discussed this evolving trend and at least 17 others with more than 1,200 law firm leaders as part of our annual market outlook webinar. Here are the compelling key takeaways:

Client Hiring and Firing

  • Clients hire law firms at clear, predictable, and precise times in their careers:

    – 2 years in their current role

    – 3 to 5 years in their current role

    – 5 years in the role marks a steady flow of gradual hiring and replacement

½ of all top legal decision makers at large companies are approaching the 2- and 5-year mark— meaning we are at the beginning of a law firm hiring spree

  • A stunning 77% of all clients hired a new law firm in the last 12 months—more than ½ made a no-bid award (meaning there was no RFP and the law firms used their client feedback and business development skills to win this work before any other law firm even knew about the client need)

  • 47% of all law firms hired small to midsize law firms for their complex, high-risk work—proving midsize firms can and do compete for serious work

Legal Spending

  • Spending on outside counsel is growing faster than the total legal budget—suggesting pricing will come under pressure

  • High tech companies plan to increase spending and pay higher rates in 6 key practices

  • Pharma expects big increases in 6 practice areas

  • Cybersecurity is the fasting growing practice with 7 industries expecting big increases and almost none planning for a decline

  • Financial services clients expect increased spending and to pay higher rates in 7 practice areas

  • 7 industries are expecting their litigation budgets to grow substantially

Changed Client Expectations Tripping Up Law Firms

  • Clients have 2 new, highly influential service expectations as a result of the growth in complex, high-stakes work in the last 2 years:

– Dealing with Complexity

– Uniformity of Service

  • These 2 new factors help explain why clients report 55% of law firms’ client service performance declined over the last year

  • The BTI Client Service 30 are using these trends to their advantage through the use of more transformative client feedback and are unrelenting in continuous improvement—as are the midsize firms winning the complex work

Cross-check these trends against your practice plans, business development plans, and strategic plans. The firms actively using them to their advantage stand a much higher chance of keeping clients, gaining new ones, and driving their law firm forward—positioning it for future higher-rate growth.

Contact me to learn how innovative client feedback (like the BTI Client Service 30 use) readies your law firm for 2020 and beyond. It will drive new business, build the most robust, resilient client relationships, and position the firm to take advantage of every trend.

ICYMI or want to see it again, you can see the full recording of the webinar here.

Best in the market ahead.

MBR