Peer to Peer Magazine

Fall 2018

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

Issue link: http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1048931

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10 simultaneously losing revenue and ceding control over the ultimate outcome for the client. It is rare that client needs are addressed fully by legal services. Perhaps they have had a cyber breach and need help addressing technical vulnerabilities. Perhaps they are developing financial products and seek consulting on how to generate a regulatory compliance program. Or, perhaps they want to launch a communications campaign associated with a proposed merger under government review. In all these instances, who is better positioned to understand and serve the client than their law firm? The Challenge Successfully developing a non-legal offering is much harder than just identifying the market opportunity. The legal world is rife with failed attempts at expanding services outside of legal. The many challenges that firms encounter when developing a new offering include: • Developing a bold vision – offerings frequently begin as modest, low-risk, incremental additions of one or two people. Those can provide incremental revenue but fail to seize the true opportunity and rarely endure. • Understanding of the market, the buyers, and buyer values – the person at the client responsible for procuring your non-legal service may not be the same person with whom you have a relationship, and your law firm brand may not carry the same cachet with non-legal buyers. I n July of this year, on a roof deck overlooking the National Mall, at an event headlined by Senators from both parties, a large global firm launched its Strategic Communications team. The latest of several non-legal market offerings, the Strategic Communications initiative positioned the firm to more fully serve the needs of its clients while capturing revenue that had previously been spent elsewhere. Unbeknownst to most attendees enjoying finger food and casually networking, this launch was the culmination of months of strate, planning, organization, and collaboration. It represented the triumph of innovation over the forces of inertia and risk aversion. How did we get to this point while avoiding the many pitfalls experienced by firms attempting to innovate by stepping outside of their traditional legal practice areas? The Opportunity When I consulted with a global hotel chain years ago, we sought to maximize "share of wallet" – the percentage of a customer's vacation dollar that was spent at their property. The same concept applies to law firms and their clients. They occupy a position that other professional services would kill for - possessing trusted relationships with clients who come to them precisely at their time of need. They understand their clients' business needs and priorities, and they have a relationship of privilege that protects many of their interactions. Firms have grown tired of referring non- legal work to other professional services firms, Developing, Launching, and Growing Non-Legal Market Offerings B E S T P R A C T I C E S B Y M I C H A E L L O W E Who is better positioned to understand and serve the client than their law firm?

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