When the economy changes, lawyers must change too. New client demands and new levels of competition are requiring lawyers to rethink the way they develop business.When I wrote the book Legal Business Development: A Step by Step Guide a few years ago, I outlined the steps each lawyer should take to find their unique individual answer to the question, "What should I do today to increase new business?"The fundamentals of marketing have not changed since then, but the world has. In the current economy, every lawyer must focus first on defensive marketing - protecting the clients and referral sources they already have - and on providing clients with more value.If your practice is based in part on repeat business from large clients, you know how strongly law departments are being pressured to cut costs. When I interviewed AmLaw 100 chairmen, senior partners and C-Level executives recently for The LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees, one question I asked was, "There is a lot of price pressure these days, and some say it is leading firms to bid on projects as loss leaders in a way that is not sustainable. Have you seen any examples of this?"Every single participant said they had. As one put it, "Many firms are willing to discount their fees in order to keep people busy. People do what they have to do; it's a jungle out there."
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