For our third installment of our General Counsel Corner, we’ve brought in an In-house Counsel at a leading independent fiduciary services business. 

Our question to him was: 

What is your preference for how a lawyer tries to learn more about you and your business?"

He told us, "Good question. I’d say it’s like any client relationship – get to know me, ask the right questions without being obtrusive or cross-examining me, and certainly without presuming to know my needs.

"In trust, I’m not sure lawyers I come across spend enough time on this – they tend to focus on the transaction or the problem in hand – they get to know that really well, but do they get to know me and my business – not so much!

"There was one firm (actually 2 lawyers in that firm acting on their own initiative) that really did work on building that relationship with me and my colleagues last year. And there is no doubt that they grew the financial value of their relationship with us more or less directly as a result. This personal touch, combined with the more traditional seminar/newsletter approach that you get with other firms made the difference.

"I’m like anyone else in business – I tend to instruct firms – and individuals within firms – that I like. If there isn’t much to choose from in terms of service/competence – and in my line of business, that is often the case – then the ones who I’ve got to know, and who I feel understand me and relate to me and my colleagues are always going to have an edge."

Wow, is there ever some great information for outside counsel in this answer: 

  • Most firms are focused on the issue at hand, and not getting to know their client & their client’s business – so there’s a real opportunity to differentiate yourself here. 
  • Focusing on building the relationship can lead directly to growing the financial return of the relationship for the outside lawyers. 
  • Don’t assume that you know what their needs are already – ask. 
  • Inside counsel do business with those they know, like and trust. 

Take a look at your client relationships today – are you doing as much as you can to get to know them and their business? 

A huge thanks to this month’s GC! 

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.