Posted on May 26, 2021 by Susan Lambreth
In my recent interviews with speakers for the upcoming Global LPM Summit, a theme emerged. It seems that law firm clients were requesting, but not always receiving, legal project management (LPM) on their matters. There could be many reasons for this, including:
- The lead partner on the matter is unaware that LPM was specifically included in the Request for Proposal (RFP);
- The firm doesn’t have enough trained professionals to provide LPM approaches on the client’s matters; or
- The firm doesn’t actually have LPM services or professionals, despite what they might have put in the RFP response.
While any of these could be the case, I have heard several examples where LPM was not used even though I know the firm has a well-resourced LPM team. Maybe the lead partner doesn’t understand LPM. Or, perhaps they don’t want LPM support on a particular matter. But could there be other reasons? This made me think about the importance of the collaboration and communication between the Business Development (BD) and LPM functions. All parties must understand and support the firm’s LPM objectives and function. This can happen in several ways.
First, after the partner receives an RFP, it typically gets routed to the BD professional. Sophisticated LPM or BD teams have usually developed standard RFP language. This language explains the firm’s LPM approach, its services and may even include successful case studies. No mystery here. This standard language is a customary best practice intended to address common requests.
However, when LPM was a new concept, few clients asked about it. When they did, the BD team would typically engage the LPM team to draft a response. The LPM team would know about each client and what they were requesting. As LPM increased in usage and popularity, a number of firms are responding to a considerable volume of RFPs asking for these services. If the BD team inserts standard LPM language, those responsible for LPM may never discover that clients have requested the approach. Moreover, the LPM team may be unaware that the firm even won the RFP. Without this knowledge, the LPM team may not know to provide the promised LPM services.
The BD team plays an important role in informing the LPM team when RFPs are won, and LPM requested. They are also essential in letting the lead partner or client team know that LPM was a critical component of the RFP so that the partner can follow up with the LPM team for client support.
Second, an essential component to generate LPM buy-in throughout the firm is to demonstrate client demand. There is plenty of interest among law firm clients. One of the best ways to prove the demand that is through metrics. The BD team can track the RFPs that ask for LPM or related efficiency approaches. Further, the team can provide those examples, supported by the exact language used. Some of the examples in recent RFPs are:
- Does your firm have dedicated legal project management (“LPM”) professionals? If ”yes”, please provide their names and titles. Please explain how these individuals work with your lawyers (e.g., scope development, matter analytics, budget development, case and / or task tracking, process improvement initiatives, process development, etc.). If your firm does not have dedicated LPM professionals, please describe how this function is supported within your firm.
- Explain how your firm would add value to this transaction in terms of project management.
- What role do you see project management playing in your engagement?
- What will you do for us in terms of using legal project management and providing LPM training to our lawyers?
The BD team is critical to tracking and sharing this information with the LPM team and those driving strategy and innovation in your firm. That will help the firm understand the importance of LPM to specific clients, how many are requesting it, and the types of approaches they seek.
The success of LPM depends upon connecting the dots between the lead partner, BD, the matter team, and the LPM team. Otherwise, client frustration will surely follow. LPM is essential to the clients who request it. For law firms, it’s the opportunity to meet and exceed client expectations and engender loyalty.
Here’s another example to put a fine point on the issue. The client had selected the law firm in question to be part of a panel. The selection was based, in part, on the firm’s LPM capabilities. But the firm was not receiving much of the work intended for it because it was not providing the LPM services it promised in the RFP response. Unless something changes in its service delivery, the firm will not likely survive the next “panel refresh.”
This firm likely has the capabilities that the client wants. It would be a pity to lose business in this way. Consider, too, whether your firm needs more LPM resources to support the growing demand and how you are doing to get those resources. We have seen professionals in many areas of law firm business move into LPM roles and the Summit will provide great education for anyone involved in these areas or seeking to make a move.
Susan Lambreth has over 25 years of experience as a consultant to the legal profession. Susan assists firms in implementing effective legal project management initiatives and trains legal professionals in LPM skills. Along with a colleague, Ms. Lambreth co-created the first legal project management certification program in 2010 and launched the first online eLearning courses in legal project management (LPM LaunchPadTM course). Susan has also helped implement effective practice group management at almost 100 firms, including nearly half of the largest firms in the U.S. Ms. Lambreth is the author of three books on legal project management, as well as three on practice group management – with two more books in process with the publishers now.
Posted on May 4, 2021 by Silvia Coulter
It’s all about the basics. Here are six essential pointers that will help keep your business development efforts moving forward.
Posted on February 9, 2021 by Silvia Coulter
Client Advisory Boards can help your firm stay on top of changing industry trends and clients' expectations. Advising your strategic account teams on how best to add value is just one of the many benefits the firm will receive from a board of top clients who care about your firm's success as one of their business's legal providers.
Posted on January 26, 2021 by Silvia Coulter
Despite COVID-19’s business interruption, competition continues, and the challenges facing a mature legal industry continue. Challenges historically present new opportunities. One of those opportunities is to examine the firm’s marketing and sales processes. For most firms, the marketing support systems are all in place—web site; public relations, marketing technology, social media, etc. With a bit of ongoing updating, the marketing systems are set, and the firm’s marketing resources do not require frequent and costly overhauls. The new focus must be on building an effective sales team and culture.
Posted on December 24, 2020 by Joseph Lamport
Thought leadership is one of those extremely alluring phrases that has wormed its way into everyday usage in the marketing business, becoming an official part of our professional jargon. In legal marketing it has acquired a particularly powerful appeal, in large part thanks to the Code of Professional Responsibility, which makes lawyers squeamish about branding themselves as experts or specialists, in the absence of any objective basis for doing so. But anyone can be a thought leader really -- all you need is few blog posts and a certificate from the Matchbook School of Thought Leadership Marketing.
Posted on December 9, 2020 by J. David Harvey
Remember the saying “Content is King,” originally coined by Bill Gates? Never has that been more true than in 2020. But there is a paradox: more and more content is being created by firms large and small, but how much of it is connecting with would-be buyers of your services? The answer to that no longer needs to be a guessing game, as that data is now being captured. The real question is whether or not it is being analyzed.
Posted on November 3, 2020 by Silvia Coulter
Being successful with business development in a law firm often comes down to fostering the right positive attitude. Silvia Coulter of LawVision offers some key pointers about how to make that happen in your firm, starting with proactive engagement with your key stakeholders.
Posted on October 6, 2020 by Silvia Coulter
A question for firm leaders: If there were a way to quickly establish relationships with buyers at companies desired as clients, expand work at existing clients, collapse the sales cycle, increase top-line revenue, take some of the pressure off of talented rainmaking lawyers, and add business professionalism at the firm, would you consider making an investment?
Posted on September 14, 2020 by Silvia Coulter
No matter which time of year you choose to conduct a client meeting, it will be welcomed by clients. And, it helps energize members of the firm when they have good meetings with clients. These obviously are not meetings for which you charge a fee, but rather meetings which focus on the relationship with the client or contact. Whether it’s the beginning of a new year to review the last year’s activities, or the end of a year or mid-year to check-in, here are some basic pointers to consider in scheduling your next round of client meetings.
Posted on August 25, 2020 by J. David Harvey
As if defending a marketing budget within the law firm was not already hard enough, now CMOs are doing it within a time of unprecedented uncertainty. How do you move forward with putting together a marketing budget — and defending it — in the current environment? It certainly will not be easy, but there are steps that you, as the head of marketing and business development, can take to answer the challenges of the triple whammy of the pandemic, recession, and financial uncertainty.
Posted on August 17, 2020 by Jay Harrington
While the consequences of being imperfect in your legal work product can be harsh, imperfectionism is something you have to embrace in order to market and build a practice. You must take risks, go out on limbs, and take action without perfect knowledge of the outcome. When you’re practicing law, your job is to de-risk situations for your client. When you’re building a practice, you must act entrepreneurially and take calculated risks on your own behalf.
Posted on August 12, 2020 by Jay Harrington
If I was to offer you $100 today or $120 a week from now, which would you choose? While thought experiments aren’t the same as real-world experiences, if you’re like most people you’d choose the hundred bucks now. That’s the conclusion of a classic study which found that, when it comes to making decisions, most of us opt for immediate gratification.
Posted on July 27, 2020 by J. David Harvey
What does diversity and inclusion have to do with marketing and business development? Quite a bit, as Dave Harvey of LawVision explains in this week's blogpost. Clients have been driving the process of raising awareness about the critical importance of diversity and inclusion. And law firms that are successful in addressing these issues will be better prepared to meet the increasing demands of clients in this arena.
Posted on May 19, 2020 by Joseph Lamport
Now is a great time for law firms to sharpen their digital marketing strategy, according to Robert Schmid, the VP of Zola Media. Among other things, the COVID-19 has triggered major changes in consumer behavior and search patterns, which has created a new landscape of opportunity for law firms in the arena of SEO and PPC advertising.
Posted on January 7, 2020 by Joseph Lamport
As part of a time-honored publishing tradition and service to our readers, here is a list of the most read stories that were featured in the Law Firm Marketing Brief in 2019. What do you suppose it says about our readers and the state of the legal market in general that the top story was about what marketing leaders can do to help foster law firm innovation?
Posted on October 30, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
Posted on October 9, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
We may not become perfect through practice, but we may become more open to necessary change.
Posted on June 5, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
Platformization just may be the next big thing in the legal market.
Posted on May 15, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
Posted on May 1, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
There are only a handful of brief and shining moments in life when the slipcovers get removed and we are permitted to see and sit upon the real fabric with which the universe has been upholstered. In this week’s blogpost I’m going to write about just such a moment that occurred for me as a young man, in fact, only about a decade out of law school, when as luck would have it, I had a chance to attend (in a semi-official capacity as a fly-on-the-wall) a meeting among three titans in the business world.
Posted on April 17, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
Posted on March 27, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
Why is brand activation so damn important for law firms? That’s the question I have set out to answer with this series of blogposts. In the first installment I discussed how, for the most part, law firms have paid next to no attention to brand activation as part of their branding strategy. In this second installment I’m going to explain why that’s such a mistake. Brand activation is a huge overlooked opportunity that can deliver enormous benefits in improving the strength of your law firm brand.
Posted on March 6, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
It’s an oxymoron to speak of something as being on the cutting edge of the legal market. I mean, the legal market tends to be backward leaning to say the least – the cutting edge to us generally looks like what people in many other markets were thinking about 10 to 15 years ago. Case and point being how we are only now waking up to the importance of data-driven marketing, the lifetime value of a client and client-lifecycle management – concepts that were already well in vogue several decades ago in other markets and industries.
Posted on February 21, 2019 by Joseph Lamport
This Is Marketing is Seth Godin’s new book. As you would expect from a great marketer like Godin, the title pretty much nails it. If you want a book that will provide a crash course covering the keys ideas in the field of digital marketing today then this is a great place to start.