Darkness falls fast in Mark Herrmann's weekly column on Abovethelaw. Currently he is an in-house lawyer at Aon and former partner at Jones Day law firm.
Herrmann makes two points:
- It's hard to even be invited to pitch for a new account. Most businesses stay with the law firm which has served them well in the past and are serving them well in the present.
- After being invited to participate in a pitch - known as a "beauty contest" - there are three common and fatal mistakes. They are to leverage your results on a current account which sends the message that you won't pay enough attention to a new client; assign exactly the wrong lawyer to deliver the pitch; and not invest enough thought and time in the pitch presentation.
Clearly, the odds are against landing new accounts in this flat marketplace. But, as we know, it can be done. The factors which bring home the gold range from unique positioning as often do midsized firms to accommodating prospects on what they consider a fair fee.
Of course, the ideal situation is having prospects come to you cold to find out what you can offer. That does happen if your marketing front lines have built you into the right brand for this marketplace.
An example of a law firm being in that situation may be Jones Day. It got there - e.g. dominating the legal business of the Trump Administration - by taking a significant risk. That was to have two of its partners represent the Make America Great Again campaign.
Therefore, one takeaway might be for the marketing heads at law firms to figure out bold initiatives the law firm can take. That will differentiate the firm in ways that create a pull force. Prospects will come to them. That is, put in play the Law of Attraction.
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