Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 11:12 AM

Helping Law Firms Be More Efficient

A recent article in law360.com points to Womble Carlyle's innovation of creating the profession's first sales department eight years ago. The article mentions the fact that buyers of legal services must know and have relationships the lawyers who will serve them. I totally agree. In every sale on which I've assisted, our lawyer always has played the leading role in the sale. But, in my experience, nonlawyer sales forces greatly enhance the efficiency of law firms by handling many of the tasks of sales that do not necessarily require the personal attention of the lawyer -- targeting, initiating contact with inside counsel to arrange meetings, preparing focused research, co-conducting interviews, guiding follow-up of meetings, and helping lawyers maintain and advance relationships after initial meetings. Often, clients and potential clients develop relationships with nonlawyer salespeople (who add value by bringing an additional set of business skills) AND the lawyers who ultimately will handle the legal work. It is not mutually exclusive, and in fact it most often is mutually productive for both types of relationships to co-exist. This sharing of tasks during often-lengthy and complex sales cycles allows lawyers to concentrate most of their time on the most important sales tool of all -- great lawyering and great client service!

- Steve

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