The Goblins Ruining Law Firms’ Halloween

A stealth bomber jaggedly progresses along an undetectable path through the night sky. Ultra-sophisticated infrared and other technology map its course through the darkness. An intricate combination of materials, ultra-smooth surfaces and technology shield the remarkable machine from radar detection. Inherently unstable, early stealth aircraft seemed to wobble as they flew. Pilots affectionately called these aircraft Wobblin’ Goblins.

To the naked eye, the F-117 Nighthawk attack aircraft is a non-aerodynamic black mass of jutting plates. Yet to the enemy, the Wobblin’ Goblin is an omnipotent threat—real, unseen and unannounced.

A small, unseen yet just as real group of law firms is almost imperceptibly emerging as the Wobblin’ Goblins of the legal world. This clandestine crowd—using more advanced marketing and business development strategies than others—are picking up new business while few other law firms notice. A couple of examples:

  1. A major NY law firm reviews a client filing covering the announcement of a large restructuring. The restructuring involves divestiture of 7 major facilities. After the filing, a Midwest firm, who also provides meaningful services to the same client, listens in on the analyst call announcing and discussing the company changes.

    Sensing opportunity, the Midwest firm offers poignant insight into new regulations which may impact the sale and—unsolicited and at no cost—delivers a blueprint to navigate the best course of action. This Wobblin’ Goblin usurped $3,000,000 in transactional work from an entrenched competitor. No bidding.
     
  2. The savvy litigation boutique, who astutely analyzes the litigation portfolio of a one-time client. This stealth firm proactively schedules an in-person meeting with the General Counsel, who invites the CFO. At this meeting the firm presents alternative approaches to limit liability and reduce financial exposure. This Wobblin’ Goblin won $1.2 million in litigation fees in 14 months from new cases.

Do you know the Wobblin’ Goblins who are attacking your client base? Your biggest threat may be the one you cannot see.

Despite advanced techniques creating stealth threats, the only known defense is the tried and true tool: client feedback. Asked the right way in the right context—clients are happy to tell you who is trying to steal the business—and how. Your challenge is to put up your defenses before the Wobblin’ Goblins arrive.

MBR