Where to Find Your Best Opportunities for Business in 2016

The legal market may be flat-lining in terms of growth, but under the surface is a dynamic, fast-changing environment. The hot industries and practice areas from last year have disappeared. In their place are new opportunities for growth. Only the law firms able to bring a quick and flexible approach to targeting these fleeting opportunities will see growth in 2016.

Law firms can take 3 steps, starting today, to ensure they reach these opportunities before competitors.

Step 1: Find the Best Opportunities for Business in 2016

BTI’s Industry Opportunity Matrix (based on more than 300 interviews with General Counsel) identifies, by practice and industry, exactly where clients—and which ones—will be spending their legal dollars in 2016.  

Step 2: Focus Your Firm to Target Growth Areas

There are many strategies to grow a law firm, but only a handful can be executed with the speed and efficiency to make next year a growth year for your firm. Using the opportunity zone chart above, choose a strategy most aligned with your firm’s current relationships and capabilities:

  • Focus first on client development plans on building lucrative relationships with the clients positioned to grow in 2016

A client development plan is a tool to help law firms zero in on the clients with the highest potential in terms of profit and access to work. By using the BTI Opportunity Matrix above, target your firm’s existing clients with the most “Hot Zones” (in green) to see outsized growth in 2016.

  • Assemble industry SWAT teams to quickly move on this year’s opportunities

Most growth opportunities are based on industry trends. Firms don’t need to completely realign their structure to enjoy the benefits of an industry (rather than practice) focused approach. Assemble smaller industry-focused SWAT teams to provide a custom suite of practices (hint: use the above BTI Opportunity Matrix to group together the most in-demand services) to targeted clients and prospects.

  • Increase your win rate in growth areas with targeted business development plans

The hardest part of developing business isn’t talking to clients about their business or being able to explain what services the firm offers, it’s how to start and steer the conversation. Use the BTI Opportunity Matrix to prepare yourself to discuss top needs and priorities—remove the guess work.

Step 3: Grow!

Firms who learn how to find growth in down markets will outperform all others. The hunt for the less obvious opportunities is on. You have to find them, and grab them before anyone else.

Every firm can improve its strategy by locating and assessing the growth opportunities and pressure points to guide your own efforts to grab the new dollars coming into the market. Fortunately for you BTI has just released the most comprehensive analysis of client growth and spending plans in BTI Business Development Opportunity Zones: How to Grow by Industry and Practice in 2016. BTI’s newest report provides step-by-step guides and tools for the 3 strategies above—plus 2 more—to exploit your best growth opportunities. Learn more.



To Boldly Grow Where No Legal Market Has Grown Before

You can find opportunity in every market—up, down or flat—the only question is which of the many strategies will work. The legal market has reached the point where each market opportunity demands a different strategy. BTI’s new research, based on 330 interviews with corporate counsel, reveals corporate counsel have hit the reset button. New spending is now popping up as new priorities and new trends (the good and the bad) take hold.

  1. To Grow Where No Legal Market Has Grown Before
    After shrinking in 2013, the US market for outside counsel services grows in 2014. And the good news continues: this is expected to last through 2015. Expect growth for all but 2 practice areas. Corporate counsel tell us they are planning to increase spending in 15 of 17 practice areas; sparking growth (admittedly some will grow imperceptibly) in 2015. The 2 noted exceptions: real estate and litigation will see declines. However, 8 practices are considered to offer above-average market growth and access to premium rates.

    Cybersecurity/Data Privacy emerges as a major market opportunity with spending on cybersecurity-related issues crossing the billion-dollar threshold. This quickly growing area promises 2 to 4 mega-cases each year and an abundance of large, complex matters.

    Strategy impact: The gateway for law firms looking to capture clients’ big-ticket spending is through smaller assignments focused on assessing risk and compliance. Be prepared to provide a side of counseling while you work for the larger matter.

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US spending by global companies is soaring—and 75% of their US law firm hires are outside the Am Law 50.

Global company spending now accounts for 40% of US corporate legal spending, up from 30% in 2010. We find global companies are more active in developing markets, building sales channels, and creating and filling product pipelines while investing in infrastructure and talent. The global companies operating in the US have become a market unto themselves.

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Under the streets of London, a veritable maze of closed-door rooms became the hub of Britain’s military planning during World War II. While the earth shook above them, Churchill’s top officials waged war, gathering intelligence and clandestinely directing thousands of tactical maneuvers. The war room buzzed.

Similarly, behind closed doors and amidst a seemingly endless stream of disappointing economic prognostication, corporate leadership are plotting their own course for a better, brighter 2013.

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Litigation Got You Down?

If the tug-of-war of litigation is getting you down, you’re not alone. This year, spending cuts, fee caps, resolution mandates and other aggressive tactics are bringing down not just litigation dollars, but the entire legal market. With a projected growth rate of -1.6% (yes, that is negative), the market for outside counsel services in litigation is putting a damper on the outlook for 2012...
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Leap. Duck. Swerve.

Many of us spend our Sunday afternoons at this time of year marveling at the deft tactical maneuvers and well-timed evasions of our favorite receivers and running backs. Running head on into a fray of beefy opponents intent on squashing any efforts at forward progress, these players display agility and practiced skill. They leap over fallen teammates, duck beneath barreling chests and swerve around hulking obstacles. “Leap. Duck. Swerve.” is BTI’s new mantra for the 2012 legal market.
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Gateway Practices Promise Premium Rates for 2011 – and More

Gateway Practices are a law firm’s exclusive invitation into an elite club. They not only provide intimate insights into a client’s most sensitive, high-value needs, but also offer priority access to new business opportunities in other areas (such as high-rate, high-growth opportunities). BTI Premium Practices Forecast 2011, based on input from more than 250 corporate counsel, predicts there are 4 Gateway Practices for 2011. These are...
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A Whac-A-Mole Market?

Practice area trends of 2010 and 2011 have been anything but expected. Contrary to historical ebbs and flows, such as litigation spikes in downturns, today’s legal market is bucking the trend. In everything from corporate work to bet-the-company litigation, periods of growth and decline are sporadic, short-lived and, at times, unanticipated. Envision the age-old arcade favorite, Whac-A-Mole...
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