So many crises — so little time.
Each new unexpected event brings a flurry of questions about the impact and what to do. As clients continue to manage through each event — their work habits change as do their expectations of law firms. Eventually, this translates into new relationships, outside counsel management strategies, and communication styles. Here are 7 with the most implications in the near term:
1. Ramping up RFPs
53% of clients are going to issue an RFP to law firms. They want law firms who can help with multiple cases — and bring a strategy for reaching this goal.
2. Prefer to Meet Virtually
63% of top legal decision makers prefer to meet with outside counsel virtually. No need to travel or find a conference room. Scheduling a video conference is so much easier.
3. Clients Continue Remote Work
50% of clients plan to work remotely for an average of 2.5 days a week. This is one driver behind a preference for more virtual meetings. Hybrid work often means a more flexible schedule — making client stated deadlines and commitments more important.
4. Higher Expectations From Management
Every change in plans from return to office policies, to vaccines, and sanctions increases the demands on corporate counsel. The law firms who can help answer the question “ What does this mean for us?” from clients first will enjoy higher rates and more work.
5. Speed Matters
The cost of failure has been running high for the last 2 years. Clients need answers quickly. Everyone knows this is new territory — this makes your opinion more valuable than your research. The attorneys sharing and updating their thoughts are providing extraordinary value.
6. Less Patience
The stream and urgency of new events shorten patience levels. Top legal decision makers don’t have the time to wait for explanations, answers, and/or documents. As we discuss above, client management wants and needs answers. Clients now reach out to multiple sources with questions — and observe who responds first. They have learned 4 outreaches get them at least 1 timely response.
7. Know More About Attorneys Before Ever Meeting
The game of musical chairs where attorneys change firms and corporate counsel change jobs is creating a lot of new friends. Clients are doing more due diligence on the attorneys who work on their matters and are quick to search LinkedIn and directories/rankings to see who they are dealing with. They form some pretty strong opinions about their attorneys before they ever meet.
Client relationships are living organisms — they evolve. We are at the beginning of an inflection point in how clients think about law firms. The trends above are just the tip of the iceberg — and the firms taking advantage of these trends will continue to enjoy their outsized performance.
Best in the market ahead.
The Mad Clientist