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Business Development
2 minute read | 1 month ago

When Clients Seek Help (and Firms Miss Out)

Photo of Laura Meherg By: Laura Meherg

In 2023 and 2024, 83% of the clients we interviewed said they are willing to consider using their law firms for other legal services beyond the core work. That is a significant increase from 2018 when only 47% of the clients we interviewed were willing to give firms a chance in other areas. Interestingly, at the same time client perceptions about their law firms’ efforts to introduce other expertise has dropped significantly. In 2018, 42% rated their firms as exceeding expectations in this area. In 2023 and 2024, only 20% reported that their firms were doing this very well and 70% of clients reported that they did not have a very good understanding of the firm’s capabilities beyond the core work.

 Clients say their law firms can serve them better in three ways:

  1. Understanding the client’s business, industry and challenges
  2. Being more proactive
  3. Bringing forward issues clients don’t yet see or understand

These three skills are also the critical elements needed to spot opportunities, forecast future and other needs, add more value and expand service offerings. If clients are willing to consider their preferred firms for new work in different areas, there is a great opportunity to cross-sell.  

By demonstrating intellectual curiosity and genuine interest in being helpful, you can better identify clients’ needs and connect them to the best resources in the firm to solve their problems and make their lives easier.

Below are some great questions to get you started.

  • What are your top strategic priorities/goals?
  • What are you spending the most time doing?
  • How do you wish you were spending that time?
  • What does success look like for you/your department/the company?
  • What market opportunities are you most excited about?
  • What are you biggest obstacles or challenges?
  • What criteria are most important in selecting outside counsel?
  • How do you identify new legal talent when needed?
  • What law firms/lawyers do you consider your most successful outside counsel relationships? Why?
  • What do you wish law firms would do differently?
  • In what areas are you underserved?