Anchors Aweigh

Is your firm as agile as it once was? Or are you white-knuckling the wheel to keep the rudder straight. Just as the ACC is reporting that in-house lawyers are gaining the upper hand (Smith, WSJ) in the legal matters of a company, and as the legal industry is waiting and watching what’s happening (Barrett, Bloomberg) with a number of large firms around the country, it’s probably time that large law look inward to regain stability and facilitate growth. On these stormy seas, let’s take a moment and refocus.

I travel to many large law firms, and have trained many attorneys and their assistants on CRM products, and I can’t help but notice that much of the work in large firms feels very compartmentalized. Many professionals aren’t as informed as they’d like to be when it comes to what other practice groups are doing and even what other offices are doing. Successful business development comes not only from the strength and reputation of your firm, but also from full awareness internally by everyone of everything. And as I once heard second hand from a student, “Our clients shouldn’t feel like [our different practices] are in competition with one another.” Your firm should project solidarity not only toward your clients and prospects, but also internally.

One way to help steady the ship is to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all of your firm’s assets when it comes to business development and growth. No matter what’s happening around you, you can maintain an even keel by assessing your firm’s resources, strengths and tools, and using them wisely. Who and what do you already know and have that will keep the ship trudging through what seem to be sluggish waters?

I would think that more strategically utilizing your marketing team and mining centralized CRM intelligence (the CRM I’m keen on) would be a great place to start. You’ve made the investment in these creative people and these sophisticated tools; let’s let their star help to guide us. You can use that intelligence to expand current clients, develop prospects and overall, you can project that firm-wide solidarity that not only looks good to your clients, but boosts morale, as well. It’s easy to let those resources slide when business is all milk and honey, but in leaner times we realize how valuable they can be. We realize that marketing and CRM can be our light through the fog.

So let’s get on it…anchors aweigh, my friends.

Maggie Hepburn