First, although the balance of power between law firms and their clients has shifted, they think they still call the shots — when in fact it’s their clients who will be setting the terms of engagement in the future. Second, a lot of their competitors are eating their lunch. They think their phone isn’t ringing because their clients are on an extended summer vacation.
In fact, their clients are being wooed successfully by law firms who understand the new rules of the game: it’s time to build a new kind of lawyer-client relationship…one that emphasizes working together to contain costs, deliver service efficiently, increase predictability and improve communication. Do that, and the client will like you better, trust you more, and send more business your way.
The firms that show they are serious about embracing Alternative Fee Arrangements and implementing Legal Project Management are getting a warm reception from prospective clients. A lot of clients are moving their business, and a lot of traditional firms are getting left out in the cold.
Put differently, this means that Legal Project Management represents a powerful business development lever for the firms ready to use it. It’s a differentiator: it says that you understand your client’s need to find ways to lower legal costs and increase predictability. It says you have a new view of the lawyer-client relationship. It says you are a first-adopter, capable of adjusting and adapting to changing conditions.
One thing though: if you’re going to sell Legal Project Management, be sure you really can deliver Legal Project Management. You can’t just sell the squeak or the sizzle. That client will insist on having the whole hog.
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