Law firms seeking to thrive today must stand out from their competition.  Of course, that is easier said than done, and identifying specific steps to achieve this goal takes careful thought, planning and execution.  Thomson Reuters’ recently released 2020 Dynamic Law Firm Report presents a provocative and instructive glimpse of certain elements found in law firms that have managed to stand out.

The Thomson Reuters Report is commended for your review.  The data is interesting and the analysis worth digesting, especially for firms seeking an edge in the current market.  And while the data and conclusions may not be relevant for all firms, the Report and its lessons should resonate with firms that focus on their clients and the industries they serve. That focus should make firms think about two things in particular:

Investing in Your Client

As the Report suggests, the most successful firms (in its parlance-Dynamic Firms) have strong individual lawyers who understand their client’s (industry) business, with that understanding provide commercial and strategic advice, and lead strong client teams (which likewise understand the client’s business and industry).  But being that kind of law firm can’t be left to luck or happenstance. Realistically, a firm seeking that exalted role must be willing to invest time and money in educating its service professionals, from top to bottom, about the client’s business, its industry, its competition, and the keys to its success. When a marketing dollar spent to promote a non-credible law firm team achieves far less than one spent on promoting a team populated with thought leaders, the rationale for such investment is clear. Adopting an investment plan and strategy could be transformative for your firm.

The Return on Investment

While the investment may seem too distantly related to day-to-day results, the indirect returns can be substantial. Intimately knowing your client’s business and its needs will draw your client closer. It will feel that the hourly rate charged buys it legal expertise delivered by a savvy advisor that understands the big picture.  It will get more from your firm than other firms. A client that thinks of your firm in that way will have less reticence to reach out for your perspective, will begin to think of you as a strategic partner, and ultimately will seek validation of its decisions on a recurring basis.  So positioned, your firm will be busier, more important to the client, and considered for every major engagement for which you have expertise.

Today many clients want more from their law firms than just legal expertise.  Meeting expanded expectations requires an internal investment so that client appreciation is realized. Is your firm ready to invest?