Lawyers offering a service need to be able to market it effectively and selling their own commercial acumen could be a way to win more business, writes Stuart Applethorpe
Lawyers provide a product/service and, like any business, need to be able to effectively market that product. To a large extent, the lawyer is the product so the issue really lies in the fact that many lawyers are not natural "salesmen". Clients do not miraculously appear despite the best intent of marketing departments.
Good lawyers need to know how to sell themselves as well as their product/service and good law firms have recognised this for a long time. In recognition of this there are many business development courses available to lawyers. It is all about networking so seeking a mentor is also a good solution.
Once lawyers have "talked the talk" and engaged the client, they then need to "walk the commercial walk" and keep the client. Exhibiting commercial acumen is critical.
A good lawyer's job is not simply a matter of imparting legal advice, but to understand the business drivers of the client and provide legal solutions that explain what the client is able to act on, within the law, to achieve their commercial objectives. The lawyer then transcends the gap of being "just a lawyer" to being a valuable business and commercial resource.
Stuart Applethorpe is director of Hudson Legal