3 Social Media essentials for Middle Market advisors

by JohnGrimley

Some Middle-Market deal professionals, from private equity professionals to investment bankers — are actively engaging online with C-suite executives and referral sources.  By doing so – they are, simply put, expanding their deal flow.  If you’re a Middle-Market advisor and considering social media as an option to increase your deal flow, here are 3 essential ingredients for this sort of initiative:

dreamstime_l_23504972 (2)Publish — Some Middle Market advisors have already embraced publishing as a means by which to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded and complex industry.  This can mean publishing investment updates, industry insights or trend pieces on blogs or in industry publications – or even on LinkedIn.  Important statistics to keep in mind are that 7 in 10 consumers prefer to learn about a company through articles, not ads.  That 90% of consumers find custom content useful.  And that social media and blogs account for 23% of all time spent online.

Promote — Lindsay Kolowich (@) outlined in a recent article in HubSpot that:  “Not only do your [articles] need to be well-written, helpful, and relevant to your target audience, but you’ve also got to make sure you’re promoting them correctly so they get in front of people who could become your fans — and maybe even your customers.”  She outlines the importance of sharing your articles on social media to maximize exposure while at the same time understanding your target audience.  In order to do this, Middle Market advisors need to understand there where and how of sharing content produced for online consumption.

Engage – Once published and promoted – it’s vital to engage.  And this can and should take on many forms.  Kolowich outlined ways in which you can utilize published articles to specifically engage key contacts and ideal prospective clients.  They include, beyond online publishing, distributing those articles to a consistently updated email database and sending tailored articles to specific clients.  Overall, consider utilizing these articles as a means by which to open many more doors among ideal potential sources of new deal flow.  But this targeting takes time and a well-thought out approach to execute properly.

Looking forward

As more Middle Market C-Suite executives and decision makers seek knowledge through common social networks, deal professionals with an already-established online presence will reap significantly larger benefits than their slow-to-adopt competitors.

unnamed (2)John Grimley helps mid-market advisors engage key audiences with precision communications services tailored to their unique needs.  To enquire about his services, you can reach him at: Tel: +1 (213) 814-2855, or Email: jg@jgrimley.com or by Skype: JohnGrimley

China trade and investment provides opportunity for EU public affairs advisors

by JohnGrimley

Gordon Orr, Chairman, Asia at McKinsey & Company, published an article this week entitled: How China Can Help Europe Grow.  In that piece, Orr outlined how “Chinese businesses, Chinese capital, Chinese domestic demand and even Chinese international tourists can contribute to re-energizing Europe.”  “China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ outbound investment strategy extends well into Europe”, Orr explained.

dreamstime_l_45530679 (2)A unique opportunity for European Public Affairs advisors

Of particular interest to EU public affairs advisors are some of the specific things that are happening as a result of China’s investment in Europe.  Orr outlined in particular:

  • “The U.K….has contracted with a Chinese infrastructure player for the new tidal power generation facility off the coast of Wales, and is in discussion over nuclear and high speed rail projects. “
  • “Chinese companies have already invested in several ports and shown interest in investing to enhance rail freight transportation.”
  • “sometimes Chinese companies have overreached in their asks leading to a breakdown in negotiations for major projects, but rapid learning is underway, and a few initial failures should be the foundation for many more successful partnerships in the future.”

Orr concludes by encouraging “European leaders [to] embrace the contributions that Chinese capital, businesses and citizens could make to the coming transformation.”

Opportunity to serve a wide range of stakeholders

Among the points I’ve listed above (and they’ll be many more like them) – European public affairs advisors should be able to see the remarkable opportunity they present.  Public affairs advisors in Europe are well positioned to uniquely assist Chinese investors coming to Europe.  But importantly also,  they can help the European private and public sectors themselves in seeking to expand and improve efforts to help facilitate that Chinese trade and investment.

John Grimley

John Grimley

John Grimley helps public affairs professionals generate new business in international markets with custom business development and communications counsel.  He can be reached on +1 (213) 814-2855, or at: jg@jgrimley.com or via Skype: JohnGrimley

Jordan Furlong: “The inevitable evolution of legal marketing is toward legal sales”

by JohnGrimley

A newly published book by HG.org President and Founder Stephen McGarry entitled Leaders in Legal Business has, as the book’s introduction outlines, brought together “Twenty-eight distinguished leaders in legal business [to] discuss the history, development and the future of the services and products they, their firms, companies and associations provide the profession of law.”

dreamstime_m_38860105 (2)Among those contributing to the book is Jordan Furlong, “a lawyer, speaker, and consultant based in Ottawa, Canada.  A partner with the global consulting firm Edge International, a senior consultant with legal web development company Stem Legal Web Enterprises, and the author of Law21: Dispatches from a Legal Profession on the Brink.”

“The inevitable evolution of legal marketing is toward legal sales”

Among Furlong’s prognostications for the future of the business of law, legal marketing and business development, is his prediction that:  “The inevitable evolution of legal marketing is toward legal sales. Sales consulting already takes place now, although it operates under the pseudonym “business development,” because lawyers can’t bear to use such a lowbrow and unsophisticated word as “sales.” The whole point of marketing is to open the door to which business can walk, and business is not even going to approach the door without some direct sales efforts to bring it there. Few other businesses artificially partition “sales and marketing” the way law does, and reunification of these two related elements inevitably will take place in the coming years. Legal marketing and legal business development are going to merge, bringing together two separate yet intimately linked skill sets to the ultimate benefit of the practice of law.” [emphasis added].

What is law firm sales?

Law firm sales refers to the sophisticated discipline merging the research, identification, pursuit and capture of new business for lawyers and law firms.  I’ve written extensively on the subject based on more than 15 years experience in operating law and professional services sales pipelines in international markets.  A link to those writings, on this blog, is located here.  These articles should provide any reader with a comprehensive understanding of what a law firm sales pipeline is, who is currently operating these sales pipelines and what is required to do so.

I would add to Furlong’s assessment:  Traditional legal marketing likely will be in the future subsumed (and thereby streamlined and improved) within legal sales pipelines as a means to augment and support what is, ultimately, the central element of new business generation for lawyers and law firms.

John Grimley

John Grimley

Based on extensive experience with hundreds of lawyer clients from throughout the world, John Grimley counsels law firms, law firm practice groups and individual lawyers on best practices in generating new business in international markets.  You can reach him at: jg@jgrimley.com or on: +1 (213) 814-2855 or on +852 8170 3909 or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

Ford General Counsel advice to law firms: Study our SEC filings to win our business

by JohnGrimley

A recent article in Bloomberg BNA (@BigLawBizmakes it vividly clear what law firms should be doing to win lucrative work from clients.   As Blake Edwards (@BlakeEdwardz) reported:  “David Leitch, Group Vice President and General Counsel at Ford Motor Company suggests lawyers should also dig into a company’s SEC filings” as as a means to win the business of clients.  “There’s a lot of information about the business in there, too” Leitch said, “information about how we think, how we’re organized, and what our risks and challenges are.”

dreamstime_m_43649936 (2)Leitch also told Edwards that: “‘Traditional marketing, like law firm advertisements in various publications that say “We’re different. We create value.”—I think that’s a complete waste of time. I’m never going to hire a law firm based on what I read in an advertisement. Firms that do their homework, and think not just about themselves, but about you, as a prospective client—those firms are going to be much more successful.'”

General Counsel have spoken clearly: Know my business in detail

This is another in a now long line of interviews with GC’s who have all made it clear that law firms need to know a clients business before seeking to provide them with legal services.  Hence, firms need to go beyond pitching to clients as one competitor in a crowded tender field – and research and identify actionable commercial opportunity or danger – or legal risk or opportunity — and seek to provide solutions for achievement of new goals or amelioration of new risks. This is the fundamental means by which firms should interact with clients. As informed, commercially astute market participants, not advertisers.

But how to do this?

Firms can’t deliver this value if they don’t seek to become sophisticated strategic advisors to clients as well as their legal counsel.  They must also put in place a system that capably identifies ideal potential clients they are well suited to serve, then articulates highly specific value propositions to them that meets their unique needs.  Vitally – firms need sophisticated, informed efforts in place that drive this process to the close of new client engagements.  Modern legal practice management, just like law firm generalist marketing promotion, can’t do it alone. Law firms must have what within the sector is known as competitive intelligence and a sales pipeline in order to secure the business – not just the attention – of the discerning corporate C-suite executive.

John Grimley

John Grimley

Based on more than 13 years experience with hundreds of lawyer clients from throughout the world, John Grimley counsels law firms, law firm practice groups and individual lawyers on best practices in generating new business in international markets.  You can reach him at: jg@jgrimley.com or on: +1 (213) 814-2855 or on +852 8170 3909 or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

US law firms not seeking foreign clients are leaving 16% of potential firm revenue on the table

by JohnGrimley

A recent article by Tom Stringer, Global Site Selection and Business Incentives Consultant at US Tax advisory services provider Ryan – provides superb insight for US lawyers seeking to identify and secure specific foreign companies as clients amid profound growth in foreign investment into the US.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Specifically, Stringer cites statistics published by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which outline that “In 2013 alone, international firms invested $236 billion in the U.S. economy, a 35 percent increase from 2012.”  And as the report details: “The United States is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world.”

A veritable roadmap for any US lawyer seeking to build a client base from foreign investment

What’s interesting about Stringer’s article is that combining his expertise with statistics from the US Government – he outlines the prime foreign country sources of this investment, which sectors account for most of this investment, and key state recipients of this investment.  It’s a veritable roadmap for any US lawyer seeking to build a client base from foreign investment.

Notably, Stringer also outlines what specific states are doing to create incentives to attract more foreign investment.  Any lawyer, anywhere in America – can seek to generate a client base from the investors these statistics are based on.  And a final statistic worth pondering is this:  “Foreign direct investment (FDI) in U.S. businesses, measured on a cumulative stock basis, reached $2.7 trillion at the end of 2012, which is equivalent to about 16 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.”  What that means generally is:  If your US law firm is not seeking to generate new business from foreign investment, you are leaving 16% of potential firm revenue on the table.

Going forward

Most US law practices will have not just one but many specialisms of significant value to foreign investors new to doing business in the United States.  Just as much as your US clients need your services, foreign investors may need them more.  A variety of strategies can and should be employed to identify, pursue and capture business from this foreign investment into the US.  But as 16% of the US economy is comprised from foreign investment sources – law firms not focused with a high degree of precision on this already — should now immediately re-orient their focus and strategy to remain competitive in a future that will no doubt see more US GDP coming from foreign investment, not less.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400Based on more than 13 years experience with hundreds of lawyer clients from throughout the world, John Grimley counsels law firms, law firm practice groups and individual lawyers on best practices in generating new business in international markets.  You can reach him at: jg@jgrimley.com or on: +1 (213) 814-2855 or on +852 8170 3909 or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

5 blogging topics that will attract foreign clients

by JohnGrimley

As recent reports reflect, the demand for legal services is continuing to globalize.  Within this development lies opportunity for lawyers to expand their foreign clients base.  One excellent method to help lawyers gain the attention of foreign clients is a law blog.  Any law firm in any jurisdiction in the world can seek to attract and retain foreign clients.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????But what to blog about?  In a nutshell, foreign clients are most apt to seek the services of lawyers with a demonstrated expertise in the legal specialisms they might need in their effort to enter or expand into a particular jurisdiction.

These services can encompass many specialisms.  But more often than not – the specialisms that will be the first a foreign client will use will often revolve around any legal work associated with commercial business activity, assuming your client is a business.  And business owners more often than not seek lawyers who are strategic business advisors to their clients.  Therefore, lawyers seeking to attract the attention of foreign clients would be wise to first seeking to be a conduit to commercial opportunities for clients in your home jurisdiction.

  1. Local government contracting opportunities – In many jurisdictions around the world, government contracting represents a significant percentage of GDP.  Government contracts often represent a very lucrative opportunity for foreign companies.  And whether your law firm maintains a government contracts practice or not, blogging about it will attract foreign clients as it’s information about opportunity in your market.
  2. Trends in local mergers and acquisitions – Many foreign corporations interested in entering or expanding in a foreign jurisdiction are very interested in local mergers, acquisitions or joint-venture partnerships as a means by which to enter a new market.  Seek to be a regular conduit to this information.
  3. Trends in local corporate litigation — One of the most significant concerns any foreign corporate executives have in considering whether to enter a foreign market – is risk.  And in many markets – that risk comes in the form of tort or other litigation risk exposure.  Firms who blog about means by which to ameliorate litigation risk for foreign clients would certainly gain the attention of foreign corporate clients.
  4. News about local trade shows & trade associations – Commercial opportunities showcased by local trade associations and in trade shows and events are an excellent topic to blog about.  This demonstrates to foreign clients via your blog that your law firm maintains up-to-date knowledge of key commercial topics, trade and industry sector leaders and the comprehensive issues surrounding foreign corporate access to your market.
  5. Local legislative or regulatory trends —  Local legislative and regulatory changes, trends and updates are all very valuable information for foreign companies interested in doing business in any jurisdiction.  A law firm demonstrating a knowledge of this sometimes fast-changing dynamic will without question be a law firm foreign companies will seek to know and engage in your jurisdiction.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley advises law firms, lawyers and law firm practice groups on best practices in international legal business development.  He’s help law firms adopt and publish law blogs in the United States, the European Union, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.  If you’d like to adopt or improve a law blog, you can reach him on:  Tel: US +1.213.814.2855, +852 8170 3909 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

5 ways to prepare for a meeting with a potential client

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????by JohnGrimley

A recent article by Jennifer Smith (@SmithJenBK) in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog outlines advice for law firms from Gregory B. Jordan,  former global managing partner of Reed Smith LLP and now general counsel of PNC Financial Services Group Inc – on to secure the attention of clients.  Jordan’s advice includes:

  • “Bone up on your client’s industry, and make sure your partners do too, so you can advise them on what hurdles are lurking around the corner…
  • If you can tell a chief executive how spending $500,000 now will save them from making a $2 million mistake later, that’s value…
  • Anticipate needs [clients] may not know they have yet…
  • Quick, timely updates on regulatory shifts…are useful…Reams of glossy marketing material, not so much.”

With Jordan’s advice in mind, it’s important for lawyers to carefully consider what business clients truly want from their lawyers.  They expect superb legal services.  But what they want in addition to superb legal services – is a lawyer that also understands their business and can provide strategic counsel. Lawyers, therefore, should carefully consider how they prepare for meetings with new prospective clients.   Here’s 5 ways to prepare for meetings with prospective clients that will ensure they know you provide the critical value-add they seek:

  1. Study prospective client company – Prepare a comprehensive backgrounder on your client and his or her business.  What industry sector do they operate in?  What trends are impacting that sector in your jurisdiction where you might provide help? What is their corporate financial picture? Healthy company? Heavily regulated industry? etc… Why are these questions important?  They provide you with a road-map of where you can provide value-add strategic counsel.
  2. Identify commercial opportunities in your market — Perhaps the most valuable information your prospective client can receive from you in any meeting is counsel on what opportunities might exist for them in your market.  Are there any unique acquisition opportunities you are aware of?  Are there any tax or regulatory concessions being provided by national or local governments to foreign companies seeking to do business in your jurisdiction?  There are hundreds of potential examples here.
  3. Identify commercial dangers in your market – As much as opportunities are helpful to potential clients – so are a knowledge of dangers.  In fact, clients may even be more appreciative of your outline of dangers than opportunities.  When clients are considering entering or expanding in your market – knowing of litigation risk, HR legal risk, regulatory and political risk – is extraordinarily valuable to them.  Again, the list is endless.
  4. Seek to identify where your practice areas can help client commercial objectives — When meeting with a prospective client – provide an overview of opportunity and risk in your market specific to the client. Explain how your services can help the client ameliorate those risks and capitalize upon those opportunities — with your help.
  5. Prepare a one-pager on you and your firm for the client — Clients will appreciate brevity in this area – as well as a one-pager that is presented in such a fashion as to make it clear your firm is aware of the potential clients commercial posture and possible goals and concerns in your jurisdiction.  A one-pager organized around these themes will uniquely distinguish your firm among competitors in the client’s mind.

DSCF2250 (3)John Grimley counsels lawyers and law firms on best practices in generating new foreign clients.  His experience spans more than 15 years where, while based in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region, he’s worked closely with hundreds of lawyers to help build their global client base.  To learn more about how he might help you to build your foreign client base, you may reach him on: Email: jg@jgrimley.com, Skype: JohnGrimley, Tel: +1 (213) 814-2855, +852 8170 3909

5 things to do when meeting with prospective clients

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????by JohnGrimley

For business-focused lawyers, the process of winning new business can be made easier if tried-and-tested best practices are adopted and utilized.  As a follow-up to my last post entitled: Lawyers: 5 places to find new foreign clients, I’ve compiled  below a list of 5 things business-focused lawyers truly must do when meeting with prospective clients:

  1. Listen first, speak second — When business-focused lawyers meet with new prospective clients – the most important thing they should do is listen.  Corporate clients are seeking lawyers who are not just excellent legal practitioners – but perhaps more importantly, strategic business advisors.  When meeting to discuss representation and remuneration, clients will often have more than one issue or goal they may need your assistance with.  It’s important to listen first to help potential clients fully outline their needs and goals before you seek to discuss how you might be in a position to help.  Don’t focus much on your biography but instead more on solutions for your prospective client’s needs.
  2. Take notes for multiple uses later – This may sound like an obvious thing to do, but it’s important to remind lawyers of the multiple uses for these notes after a meeting.  Remembering what happened in the meeting.  That’s a given.  But also:  The notes are imperative also as they will serve as the basis for a custom proposal (thereby making the client acquisition process easier).  Also and importantly, take notes because you want to remember what business objectives the client has – so you can follow-up regularly whether they become your client now or not – where you can help the prospective client achieve those commercial objectives with your services.
  3. Seek first to be a conduit to commercial opportunity – The most important thing lawyers can do when seeking to serve the needs of business clients is to be a conduit to commercial opportunity for those clients.  Clients will expect your legal services to be superb.  What distinguishes lawyers and law firms in the business development process is your comprehension of client commercial objectives and your ability to be the most sophisticated counsel to clients in this area.  For international lawyers, being a comprehensive advisor to foreign clients seeking to expand in or enter your market is the single most important thing I can advise any lawyer to become.
  4. Price your services to the market – You are likely to be familiar with the trend in law toward flat-fee pricing of legal services.  Yes, this is an important trend you should be paying close attention to.  But what business clients are most interested in – is fair and reasonable pricing of services, whether those prices are flat-fee or hourly.  What’s more important is pricing your services to the market.  And in this context it’s vital to understand that clients will pay value-based prices for lawyers who are clearly not just lawyers but comprehensive, trusted business advisors.
  5. Ask for the work – It is vital as a part of the process where you’ve taken the time to identify and meet with a prospective client – to not hesitate to ask to be engaged by that client.  Lawyers can often be reticent to ask to be retained.  However, if they are confident they are providing the client with assistance which will help that client achieve vital commercial objectives, that reticence will recede and confidence about asking for the business will ensue.

10410403_538969076205605_1817142706317518592_nJohn Grimley counsels lawyers and law firms on best practices in generating new foreign clients.  His experience spans more than 15 years where, while based in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region, he’s worked closely with hundreds of lawyers to help build their global client base.  To learn more about how he might help you to build your foreign client base, you may reach him on: Email: jg@jgrimley.com, Skype: JohnGrimley, Tel: +1 (213) 814-2855, +852 8170 3909

5 places to find new foreign clients

by JohnGrimley

As recent reports indicate, the demand for legal services is continuing to globalize. And while many of these reports tend to focus on work associated with larger law firms – lawyers in firms of all sizes can benefit from the globalization of legal services.  With this in mind, below I’ve listed 5 basic places lawyers can look to find new foreign clients.  Keep in mind that any business development plan a lawyers is seeking to initiate must be carefully tailored to his or her own practice.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????1. Google Them – This may sound simple.  But it requires an understanding of who and what you want to Google.  Essentially, if you’re working in or running a business-focused law firm anywhere in the world – you want to begin seeking to identify which companies are looking to expand in or enter your market.  Google allows you to search not just news stories but also blogposts and websites which provide this information, and save those searches which can be sent directly to your email address at intervals you choose.

2. Trade Associations & Trade Shows – All around the world trade associations, whether private or governmental, actively seek to help member companies, among other things, expand overseas.  Here I’d suggest first determining what countries represent the largest sources of foreign direct investment into your country – and then seek to identify trade associations in those countries.  This search can be expanded later after this initial first-step.  Too, trade shows in your own country and in neighboring countries, present a cost-effective means by which to get in front of not only foreign but also domestic firms seeking new market share.  Attend those most suited to your ideal prospective client base.

3. Other Professional Services Firms — Seek to identify law firms, investment banks, accounting firms and other professional services firms within those foreign economies that are a main source of inbound investment, and where those firms would appear to be ideal referral partners.  Get to know a good representative group and determine their interest in an active, joint business development effort.  Developing an active bilateral business development effort with foreign services firms can and should be an important focus for any lawyer or law firm seeking to generate business from new foreign markets.

4. International Newspapers and Magazines – Via the internet and in print, newspapers and specialist publications related to the sectors your ideal clients are in – are an excellent way to not only identify new potential clients – but also to learn about the overall commercial context these companies are operating in.  These publications will frequently carry stories related to cross-border trade an investment, which helps provide the all-important bigger picture.

5. Foreign Embassies or Consulates — Wherever you are in the world – it’s likely that many foreign countries that are a source of investment into yours – will have an embassy or consulate representing not just the diplomatic, but also the commercial interests of their country.  Get to know the embassy or consulate staff.  Learn of trade missions and opportunities to meet with foreign companies.

Build a basic effort first then expand it later

The above list is a basic starting point for lawyers to find foreign clients.  Importantly, lawyers should also seek to tailor their practices to make them a conduit to opportunity for foreign clients.  In later posts I’ll delve more deeply into each of these themes and how lawyers can utilize each to build or expand upon an already existing foreign client base.

10410403_538969076205605_1817142706317518592_nJohn Grimley counsels lawyers and law firms on best practices in generating new foreign clients.  His experience spans more than 15 years where, while based in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region, he’s worked closely with hundreds of lawyers to help build their global client base.  To learn more about how he might help you to build your foreign client base, you may reach him on: Email: jg@jgrimley.com, Skype: JohnGrimley, Tel: US: +1 (213) 814-2855. Tel: Hong Kong: + 852 8170 3909

Thailand Infrastructure: A Case Study in Legal Business Development

by JohnGrimley

A recent news article shared by Australia-based legal business development professional Richard Smith (@RWS_01) in the LinkedIn Group Asia Law Portal, highlights a not uncommon occurrence in the world of legal business development:  One government lobbying another government for access to lucrative government contracting opportunities.  The relationship to legal business development revolves around what firms might — but more often — don’t do, don’t consider doing, or don’t know how to do – to secure work around a diplomatic initiative aimed at carving out opportunity for one nations private sector within another nations public sector.

A Thailand infrastructure opportunity

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In the case at hand, as the Bangkok Post reported: UK ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent (@KentBKK) met with Thailand, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong last week “to express UK interest in investing in several projects, including track improvement, Suvarnabhumi airport and deep-sea ports.”  Thailand infrastructure needs are part of a wider Southeast Asia infrastructure boom that McKinsey & Company estimated in 2011 to be worth $8 trillion (USD) during the course of this decade “to remedy historical underinvestment and accommodate the explosion in demand.”  A clearly profound opportunity for law firms seeking to serve the legal needs of those companies who might secure the work associated with this infrastructure boom.

Government initiatives require private sector follow-through

Initiatives like the one Ambassador Kent has undertaken on behalf of the UK are frequently within the portfolio of foreign diplomats seeking to secure opportunity for home-nation industry.  But what is also essential in most of these initiatives — is informed and robust follow-up by the private sector to secure these opportunities, law firms included.

The role for law firms

Many if not most within the legal services sector might see this set of circumstances as a place where global law firms with a footprint in Asia, or UK Magic Circle firms, or local Thai boutiques – would be placing this opportunity in a “to-do” list for future action when and if their existing clients or network of relationships within industries likely to bid – have tendered for and secured this work.  Beyond that – firms might monitor these developments and host seminars associated with the opportunity.  Perhaps even writing articles about them for trade publications or a firm blog with an aim of being thought of when and if UK firms secure tenders.  And while this is a good legal business development focus – it only scratches the surface of what law firms might do to secure work around this and other Southeast Asian infrastructure development.

The backdrop: Asia’s competitive legal services market

As has been widely reported – foreign law firms and regional domestic law firms – as well as alternative legal services providers – are all now competing for work in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.  The opportunity which is the subject of this post – will now possibly be on the radar screen of not only the traditional incumbent competitor law firms I’ve enumerated above – but also the Big4 accounting firms, other consulting practices capable of deploying legal talent to serve corporates competing to secure infrastructure work, and other foreign and regional domestic law firms.

What law firms might do differently to win the business

Given the enormity of  Southeast Asia’s infrastructure opportunity and the competitive pressures being brought to bear by all seeking to secure a piece of the proverbial legal services pie in Asia – law firms might consider a far more sophisticated, scientific and systematic business development effort aimed at securing infrastructure work.  This effort would be characterized by seeking to identify infrastructure opportunities and the companies (whether clients or not) who might seek to bid on the work – then proactively seeking to engage these firms around discussions where, armed with tendering opportunities you’ve identified – your firm essentially becomes a conduit to opportunity, catapulting itself over your law firm competitors and becoming perhaps the sole bearer of newly actionable opportunity in Southeast Asia infrastructure opportunity for your clients and ideal prospective clients.

I have written at some length about this type of process – which would include a law firm establishing a specialized on-the-ground Competitive Intelligence (CI) initiative devoted to Asia infrastructure – sitting within your overall business development effort.  I call this effort Demand Creation for law firms, which I have also written about at length previously.

Match profound opportunity with profound effort

At the end of the day – the opportunity for law firms in Asian infrastructure is profound, but the competitive pressures associated with securing legal work around it are already increasing and bound to increase more. Hence, law firms seeking to secure work around this opportunity would be wise to deploy a sophisticated, informed and proactive effort.  For more information on the details of this type of effort, please see:

John Grimley

John Grimley

John Grimley assists lawyers, law firm practice groups and law firms create and implement custom international business development plans.   To enquire about his services, contact him at Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 Hong Kong: + 852 8170 3909, or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley