Good cheer and optimism abound. This year The Mad Clientist has examined more than 300 in-depth interviews with corporate counsel and 150 in-depth interviews with law firm marketing leaders. There is one goal: spot the opportunities and trends which will have the most impact on law firms in the new year. The top 14 for 2017 are:
- Clients with bet-the-company work have quadrupled over the last 3 years.
- Top legal decision makers report a bevy of new complex matters coming in the door but almost no new budget to accommodate these bigger, more complex cases.
- Corporate counsel spending at large companies hit a record in 2016 but was driven by in-house spending.
- The largest law firms will continue to spend 1/3 more on client development than other firms and use this tactic as a tool to gain share.
- Employment Litigation, IP Litigation, and Class Actions will get more of the legal budget in 2017 than in prior years.
- Banking, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals have the biggest need for complex work.
- Rates are becoming polarized—clients are paying higher rates for more complex work and putting more price pressure on routine work to help fund the new complex needs.
- The overall flat to sluggish market is masking enormous opportunity in the rise in demand for complex and bet-the-company work.
- Pharmaceuticals shows strong demand in 8 areas of legal practice.
- Corporate counsel are hiring new law firms at a pace not seen in 10 years.
- More law firms will conduct large-scale client feedback initiatives.
- New generation General Counsel will continue to take over for retiring baby boomers and will be more demanding of law firms and less forgiving.
- Banking has strong demand for 7 areas of legal practice.
- Law firm marketing leaders will face unprecedented workloads as RFPs increase, new generation GCs continue to take over, and pressure to drive revenue increases.
The nature of these opportunities is more client specific than prior years. The broad trends are being driven by client behavior instead of economic trends. Success demands more individual understanding of client thinking and less focus on macro trends. The law firms with a client-centric approach will have a clear advantage.
We will be discussing these opportunities and much more in our upcoming Market Outlook and Client Service Review webinar on January 12 at Noon Eastern. You can learn more or register here.