The Changing Landscape – Law Firm Sales

Sounds of the rainforest may have set the theme for LSSO‘s first annual “Raindance Conference” in Boston today, but the 100 attendees from across the country sounded a drumbeat of change for the legal services industry.

In introductory remarks, Doug Hoover of FindLaw said to attendees who traveled from cities such as Akron, L.A., Boise, Charlotte and Toronto, “You’re here because your law firms are not afraid of the changing landscape.” In this room titles such as Director of Sales and Director of Business Development were common. These attendees represent the leading edge of a changing industry where, as Mike O’Horo of Sales Results, Inc. put it, “firms are establishing a sales function with compensation, structure and all the things that grown-up companies do.”

The conference got underway with Ann Marie Sabath of At Ease, Inc. who trains and coaches lawyers in improving their sales odds by improving their techniques… basically, business ettiquette — the little things that when added up make a big difference, or as Ann Marie likes to call it, the 200 1/2 percents that add up to 100 percent.

Next, John O. Cunningham of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly put the changing legal landscape in perspective juxtaposed to other industries that have have experienced deregulation, consolidation and adopted quality and service programs… making the prospect of lawyer/salesman seem like an evolutionary inevitability. Here’s a link to John’s full introductory remarks (PDF) to the general counsel panel discussion: The Future of Law Firms — Where Is All This Heading? … but in a nutshell, (based on other industries — “what’s past is prologue”) his prediction is that by 2014 firms will have a full-time CEOs and by 2019 will have institutionalized service initiatives.

That’s where, regretfully, I had to duck out. See Larry Bodine’s Professional Marketing blog for commentary on the general counsel panel.

See also Notes from Day 2.

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Posted in Law Firm Marketing