As reported by Dina Wang (@dinaswang) and Firoz Dattu in Harvard Business Review, an increasing number of general counsel in major companies are willing to use non-pedigree law firms, that is firms outside the AmLaw 20.
A recent survey of General Counsel at 88 major companies conducted by AdvanceLaw (an organization founded by Firoz) supports this argument. The results suggest that GCs are increasingly willing to move high-stakes work away from the most pedigreed law firms (think the Cravaths and Skaddens of the world)… if the value equation is right. (Firms surveyed included companies like Lenovo, Vanguard, Shell, Google, NIKE, Walgreens, Dell, eBay, RBC, Panasonic, Nestle, Progressive, Starwood, Intel, and Deutsche Bank.) The results of the two questions the survey asked are below.
The reason they’re open to firms in the AmLaw 150 or AmLaw 200 is price and responsiveness. Such firms can offer general counsel as much as a 30% reduction in fees. Here’s a graph from the survey depicting their willingness to move. For law firms competing for the work from major companies, price and responsiveness are two differentiators. Blogging can be another. Why blogging?
- Publishing a blog on a niche area of the law or niche within an industry will get you noticed by general counsel. Of course your blog is going to need to offer frank and authentic insight and commentary, as opposed to merely legal summaries. Give general counsel an opportunity to get to know you.
- Most lawyers and most law firms do not blog, especially on niche areas. You’ll separate yourself from the pack.
- Legal writing, especially for journals, law reviews, and the like, has historically been viewed as the province of lawyers in more elite law firms. Blogging has knocked those walls down – big time and forever. Not only can any lawyer blog, but blogs are widely read and relied upon by in-house counsel.
- Blogging gets you seen by the influencers and amplifiers (reporters, association leaders, conference coordinators) who will put you in front of general counsel via their publications and conferences.
- It’s infinitely easier and more effective to connect with decision makers such as general counsel via LinkedIn or in-house counsel when you blog. You’re viewed as credible and may already be read by the GC.