Transworld Capital Group (TCG) provides cross-border strategic advisory and mergers and acquisition assistance to a diverse array of clients in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific Region. TCG also makes direct investments in select opportunities with unique cross-border value creation potential.
Q: In your best relationships with outside counsel, what are three important things other lawyers could learn from them?
A: Timely response. Understand business needs in order to assist business people in making an educated decision. Be conscientious about costs.
Q: And, of course, the follow-up: what are the top three things that lawyers could learn from your least successful relationships with outside counsel over the years?
A: Continuously having too many typos in the documents which show that they are not thorough. Being too argumentative instead of focusing on resolving the problems. The lead partner does not know what is going on when asked, but his/her name keeps showing up on the billing statements.
Q: How has purchasing legal services changed?
A: The business people are a lot smarter about negotiating with law firms and are more conscientious about costs and shop around a lot.
Q: With all the highly qualified lawyers out there, what factors really influence your hiring decisions?
A: Communication skills, expertise in specific areas, cost structure.
Q: Competition is fierce among law firms; what have law firms done effectively to market to you that captured your attention?
A: We usually use, or refer our clients to, some firms that we have previous relationships with. Not sure if any marketing method of law firms has captured our attention.
Q: What law firm trends are you are seeing that you would like to come to a screeching halt?
A: Putting too many attorneys on a matter, paying new associates too much money when they know nothing and trying to pass that cost to clients.
Q: What is your greatest challenge as in-house counsel?
A: Trying to explain to Chinese clients why they have to pay so much money to their US attorneys or to even hire any US attorneys at all.
Q: Lawyers are often worried that seeking client feedback, ascertaining the client’s preferences or learning more about the business will be viewed by the client as an imposition. How would you respond to that concern?
A: Depending on the client and the relationship they have, a client might be willing to provide feedback if the client wants to keep the relationship and feels that they have the kind of relationship with the lawyer to be able to say something. If the client is not interested in continuing to use the lawyer, then the client will feel, “Why bother to provide any feedback?” Also, lawyers should be prepared to hear what they might not want to hear from their clients and should be prepared to respond to the feedback.
Q: Any other advice you would like to give law firms?
A: Understand that a law firm’s relationship with its client is long term, not just to make a killing on one deal and then move on to the next client. So the law firm should understand what the client wants and respond accordingly.