Last week the Passle caravan headed to New Orleans to the LMA, a spring in our step and hope in our hearts. Six hours of jet lag and a rest-over in Chicago knocked that on the head pretty hard but I did see some excellent sessions.
Not least was "Pushing Through the Noise — What Gets the Attention of General Counsel and Business Executives" and, from the other side of the table, "Unicorns No More – How Law Firm Sales Professionals Are Game Changers in a Flat Market".
There were a couple of key take-aways:
Diversity & Inclusion is key
I heard this in both sessions but particularly from Peter Barr (GC of Rack Room Shoes) in discussion with Mary Hicks (Director of Client Development, Goodwin Procter), Neel Lilani (Managing Director, Orrick) and Stephanie Hinrichs (Director of Client Service, Womble Bond Dickinson).
The problem seems to be that, when going for the Big Pitch and when the process is run by lawyers - i.e. the BD team is being 'Pulled' rather than 'Pushing' - then often you end up with all the biggest, oldest cheeses in the room to impress the client.
Not a bad plan you might think. But the outcome is that you end up with whole bunch of very similar, probably white, probably middle-aged, probably men in the room (*). And for the client it feels really uncomfortable (I paraphrase a bit - but a little 'these are not the good guys'). It is also boring and it feels really expensive.
Diversity then is not just a key part of winning new business, but also of attracting the best & brightest future leaders to your firm. Being proactive in this manner will only add value to your firm and value proposition.
Deliver 'snackable', authentic content that is timely and relevant
At the end of the other GC panel Ashraf Lakhani (Director of Business Development and Marketing, Porter Hedges) ran through his key takeaways - one of which was word-for-word the quote above. I know this as I asked to photograph his list!
For us at Passle, this is just the best thing to hear. It is exactly what we enable the lawyers to produce, it chimes precisely with the Edelman & LinkedIn findings from last year (see the image below) and what's most important: it is common sense.
When going to a meeting to demonstrate your knowledge, you are as concise and relevant as it is possible to be. This demonstrates a mastery of your topic and, frankly, it sounds cheaper than someone crashing on for hours on issues of little import.
With content then, if you wouldn't do it in a meeting, don't do it on-line!
* I am all these things...