Passle co-sponsored the LSSO Conference last week, an event which brought together a selection of experts from across the legal, sales and marketing sphere.
As well as a speaking slot on the Thursday, I was fortunate to attend a number of talks across the two days and wanted to share a few highlights from below which broadly fall into two categories. The first was driving new business in a law firm / operating globally and the second was maintaining those key relationships once you get your foot through the door.
WINNING NEW BUSINESS / BUILDING A GLOBAL FOOTPRINT
This excellent talk was led by Jonathan Polin, Partner and Head of International at Howard Kennedy.
Jonathan was formerly at Dentons and made the point that global law firms have such scale that they can squish the smaller ‘mid-market’ law firms, so to compete these smaller firms need to offer something different. A key advantage is the personal way in which they can deliver service at a national level, often delivering a superior experience because of their flexible nature. However, to be truly successful they need to be thinking globally. There were a few key takeaways :
- Regional or national law firms need to think internationally, as this is how your customers will be thinking. This doesn't mean go and set up and office in Singapore, but build this capability and network through 'friend' firms or leveraging international networks like Meritas.
- To win through partnerships and have a successful global footprint you need to really work at all of your relationships: “You have to find ways to interact with them.” And Jonathan thinks the best way is to “give them ‘product’ or information on an ongoing basis which will assist them in their business life.” One can’t just expect good things to come off the back of one or two coffees a year. Add value to their life and be generous with your information and your time, as it will come back to you in the long-run.
- Jonathan saw this as a key part as to how BizDev teams can add value . They are repositories of information who can assist, connect the dots and frame conversations in such a way which allows the Partners to be more efficient and be in the right place at the right time.
STAYING FRONT OF MIND & ADDING VALUE
Another talk which stood out was the GC Panel Q&A moderated by Julianne Hartzell (Partner / Chair, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun) with Jacquelyn Belcastro (VP and General Counsel, Hydro Extrusion North America) and Sylvia A. Stein (VP and General Counsel, Modine Manufacturing Company).
It was all around what your clients want from their legal suppliers. Whilst the sample size is undoubtedly small, the two GCs were in agreement on a number of issues. See them summarised below:
- During normal times, they both loved when their legal suppliers came to visit them, not with the intention of taking them out for a lunch or entertaining them but to build a relationships and, crucially, to better understand their specific needs AND how they can work together. This was a quick win for any legal suppliers.
- Both GCs stated that video was overrated and they wanted pithy, written content focused on either industry specific problems OR something which helps them do their job more efficiently.
- Both read their clients newsletters and blogs, as well as following their clients on LinkedIn and Twitter BUT the most useful communications for them were pertinent insights delivered by their Relationship Partner i.e. their trusted advisor! Interestingly, both GCs had purchased or requested more information on legal services as a result of content published by their client.