In a business world where competition and competitiveness is inevitable, smaller independent law firms often struggle to acquire and retain big corporate and institutional clients and to advise an high-value. Although, at first sight, one would believe that big clients would naturally tend to go to bigger international law firms, practice has shown that many small independent firms manage to acquire and to retain big institutional and corporate clients. How do they manage to do this?
Jade Hamann, business development manager of SEDLO LAW FIRM, lists 5 major skills independent law firms must have to acquire and retain big clients:
Smaller independent law firms must specialise in given practice areas and be renowned for such specialisation. This is not always easy as big international firms generally also have highly skilled lawyers in their departments. Smaller firms have therefore to go the extra-mile in specialisation.
2) Partners’ involvement
In a smaller law firm, partners must actively be involved in all aspects of a deal. Active and high-end involvement of the partners will actually be the major way to compensate efficiently in the eyes of a big client a lower “substance” in terms of number of lawyers. It gives big clients a feeling of safety: they are in the good hands of experienced lawyers!
3) Respond and react very quickly
Too often, law firms show a lack of responsiveness and in these fast and digitalised times, clients tend to accept less and less delayed responses. In general, small independent firms can implement and monitor more easily a “fast-response-policy” given that generally there are less persons in the firm to be managed for this. Take advantage of this fact!
4) Flexibility on fees
Lower and controlled overhead costs, general flexibility on discussions about fees: these are key aspects that can be for smaller firms the decisive argument to be chosen by big clients. Unrealistic or unworkable price dumping should however be avoided. Care about your credibility and reputation!
5) Ensure sufficient insurance coverage
Especially for high-value transactions, a big client must not fear that he is taking a higher risk (due to a supposed lack of financial substance) with a smaller independent firm than with a big international law firm. Therefore, invest in insurance coverage to give big corporate or institutional clients comfort on this aspect!