There have been recent reports on a ghosting trend in the legal industry, both large law firms being ghosted by legal department clients and in-house lawyers being ghosted by recruiters. With Halloween quickly approaching, we thought it would be an apt time to address the former.
An article in Law.com reports, “Some clients have reportedly taken to ‘ghosting’ their outside counsel—meaning they simply stop sending them work without formally ending the relationship. No bad review. No opportunity to make things right. Not even a goodbye.”
Not All Firms Need be Frightened
While the article goes on to say that the issue isn’t widespread, it’s still concerning. According to author Zack Needles, the pandemic hastened the trend of corporate legal departments sending more business to fewer firms to cut costs and build better relationships with outside counsel.
He attributes the trends to a few things:
- Failure of firms to do client satisfaction surveys and interviews
- Firms’ assumptions that client relationships are strong unless they hear otherwise
- In-house leaders not finding firms highly attuned to their needs
But what could spell (Halloween pun intended) trouble for large firms could be a treat for mid-size firms. Andrew Maloney in an article on the same topic on Law.com reported, “That ‘flight to cost-effectiveness’ could be leading to growth in Second Hundred and midsize segments…(as) more and more general counsel are finding that they can get perfectly good legal representation on certain matters from firms in places such as Dallas and Kansas City without having to pay New York or Los Angeles rates.”
So how can mid-size firms be prepared to take advantage of the potential business the ghosting trend could be sending their way?
Optimize lawyers’ business development potential
In research we conducted for “The 2022 State of Marketing and Business Development Teams at Professional Services Firms” industry study, 47% of law firms reported that coaching, whether internal or external, is the most effective business development support they can give lawyers.
We consistently hear from our coaching clients that lawyers that engage with coaches gain more confidence in their business development abilities, uncover more valuable opportunities, collaborate more, and increase their BD performance.
Coaching ensures that lawyers are held accountable for consistent business development activity, so relationships with clients, prospects and referral sources stay strong and important opportunities aren’t missed.
Go a step further
Interestingly, the same percentage – 47% – of the law firm survey respondents reported that the most effective business development support they can give lawyers is a combination of coaching and technology.
Technology provides a convenient way for lawyers to organize their prospects, clients, and referral sources and manage their interactions with them to stay on track with maintaining key relationships and following up on opportunities. Our sales acceleration software, PIPELINEPLUS, also provides lawyers with timely notifications when it’s time to take the next step with a target and a complete library of e-learning videos on every step of the BD process.
Keep the momentum going
It’s no secret that it’s often challenging to get more seasoned lawyers to adopt new technology, and if that’s the case at your firm, it’s best to use your software seats for more willing and eager younger lawyers. Even after coaching engagements end, these up-and-coming business developers can continue using technology to manage the BD activities they’re now performing more consistently and effectively.
But how do you ensure that more seasoned lawyers keep the BD momentum going once their initial coaching engagement is completed? Provide them with more coaching. It’s an investment you won’t regret to keep them prepared to leverage any new, valuable opportunities that arise, whether thanks to the ghosting trend or not.
As you work on 2023 budget planning, ensure that you allocate your dollars to the tools and initiatives that will provide the greatest ROI for your firm. Check out the ROI clients get from PIPELINEPLUS and the results other firms have received with our software and coaching.