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Litigation Business Pitches: Five Tips

June 13, 2024 (2 min read)


THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES HOW TO MAKE pitches for new litigation business and covers topics such as preparing the presentation, effective communication techniques, and following up after the pitch.

Too many litigators follow the same game plan when offered an opportunity to meet with a potential client to pitch for business. They will assemble a few available partners, and possibly a senior associate, and load the firm’s generic slides on a laptop. The slides will inevitably list the firm’s practice areas, major matters, and a few statistics about the firm. If they can find a few minutes during the ride to the meeting, the pitch team may decide who is going to take the lead. They might even kick around a few ideas on how the firm might handle the matter.

Extra advance time and effort spent appropriately, though, can dramatically improve your chance of landing the potential litigation.

Five Steps

In order to have an effective pitch, there are five essential steps to follow:

  • Gather intelligence
  • Research the client, the attendees, and the potential matter
  • Tailor the presentation
  • Listen and offer a solution
  • Follow up

By following these steps, you can significantly increase your chances of getting retained for the matter. Even if you do not get hired, you may well be invited back in the future to be considered for other opportunities.

Gather Advance Intelligence

Whenever you are invited to pitch for a new matter, you should try to find out from your contact (usually the in-house counsel) the following information:

  • The basic facts concerning the matter you are being asked to handle
  • The status of the matter, and whether the client has been dealing with similar matters
  • What the client’s goals are for the meeting
  • The manner in which the client handles outside counsel (e.g., does the in-house counsel stay deeply involved?)
  • How the potential client believes the matter should be staffed
  • The other parties involved in the matter (so you can run a conflict check in advance, among other things)
  • The identity of the adversary counsel, if any
  • The names and titles of the individuals who will be attending the meeting on behalf of the client
  • Whether the client’s decision maker will be attending the meeting
  • How much time is being allocated to the meeting
  • Whether the room will support a PowerPoint (if you plan to bring one)
  • If at all possible, the other law firms which will be pitching for the business

Gathering as much of this advance intelligence as possible will pay off when preparing for the meeting. Your goal will be to know the client and your audience, understand the assignment, and deliver the information the client is seeking. You will want to connect with the client, let the client know what you plan to do for the client, and convey how your firm’s “special sauce” differentiates your firm from the competitors “special sauce” differentiates your firm from the competitors who have also been invited to pitch.

Ronald J. Levine is counsel at Herrick, Feinstein LLP. He is an accomplished litigator with 35 years of experience advising consumer products companies in complex commercial litigation, with a focus on class actions and other multi-party litigation. A pragmatic advisor who helps clients anticipate, minimize, and resolve the financial and reputational damage arising from litigation, Ron regularly counsels clients on crisis management strategies, social media and privacy issues, and professional responsibility concerns.

To find this article in Practical Guidance, follow this research path:

RESEARCH PATH: Civil Litigation > General Litigation > Practice Notes