The legal industry is entering a period of rapid transformation, affected by technology development, client demands and their greater access to a competitive market, and varied skill forces of younger workforces. To navigate through this changing landscape, law firms need to be both innovative in its offering and business development approaches. Below are the key quotes and learnings I took away from the annual PSMG Forum on changing world of business development within the legal sector.

''Traditional way of one size fits all business development approach by partners is no longer keeping up with expectations on the client side '' - Key note speaker Helena Samaha drawing her experience as the legal counsel at Liberty Global. 

The four key changes and disruptive forces facing the Legal market, summarised by Laurie Robertson (Baker Mckenzie): 

  1. Client demands and buying patterns. Especially in the emerging younger generation of clients who are more willing to review and switch to different providers. Procurement functions are also more involved in buying process.
  2. Talent demands and demographics in diversity
  3. Competition and new entrants 
  4. Technology and innovation. Clients are comparing beyond legal expertise to who is able to deliver better technologies and efficiencies. 

The quote I took away from the day however was by Isha Chander (Addleshaw Goddard) where she discussed how their firm tapped into the legal FinTech industry by developing a specifically tailored product (AG Elevate Programme). 

“In order to understand this (FinTech) industry, we had to behave like our clients... be nimble, imaginative and inventive relative to their offering."

This particularly struck a chord with me and I thought an extremely useful approach to thinking about business development. Not only do you need to gain a thorough understanding of the client you are working with, but also bringing their voice into your firm's overall strategy. For AG, the bigger bonus is that they are also able to draw in the experiences and networks gained from the FinTech ecosystem to aid their relationships within the wider corporate banks, positioning themselves as the conduit between the two worlds. A win win result.