Law firms are the worst performers when it comes to business development and it's the individuality of partners and their unwillingness to change that's to blame.
A global survey of professional services firms by business development consultancy Pace Partners has revealed that the legal profession lags behind the business development efforts of other professional services including accountancy, engineering and property firms.
According to the 2010 Pace report, Planning and Managing Business Development in Professional Services Firm, only two thirds of fee earners who should be involved in business development are actually involved, and of those involved, only one third were rated as "good" to "excellent".
"Law firms expect many more of their people to be involved but there is a very steep decline as we move through involvement to capability, which results in only about a fifth (21 per cent) of those who are expected to be involved in proactive business development being good or better at the activity," the report said.
While many firms have introduced effective business development processes, one of the key barriers to implementing new processes and ways of managing business development, according to the survey, was the individuality of partners and their unwillingness to change.
Respondents to the survey, which included senior individuals who could portray the picture of the whole firm, cited issues such as "managing 200 individual partners who like to do their own thing" or a "culture of individualism" as barriers to business development processes.
Other barriers included the complex nature of multi-practice firms, a lack of strong leadership - including a lack of commitment from the top - and the lack of particular skills in the fee earners and/or the business development teams.
To see the full report visit: http://www.pacepartnership.com/news/441-pace-november-survey-2010