March 2006

Volume 32 Number 2 | PAGE: 14 | BY: Patrick J. McKenna

Law Firm Strategy

Recently, a law firm was practicing for a presentation it planned to give in response to an RFP invitation. The lawyers were going to be interviewing with a business client and were nervous, because they had been less than successful in a number of their recent pitches. They attributed their poor showing to a shift in the marketplace, increased competition, and prospects who were becoming increasingly sophisticated.

First they talked about their firm’s long history in the profession, as well as some of the impressive clients for whom they had worked. Then they discussed their unique process and their wonderful team. Finally, they closed with a number of testimonial comments from other satisfied clients. It was clear the presentation was designed to impress the prospective client (or maybe themselves) about their accomplishments. But it was also clear why they were striking out—and why they were destined to fail again!

The problem. All too frequently, firms pitch the prospect focused only on how they think they differ from their competitors, what unique process they have that the other guy doesn’t, and how successful they’ve been. Nothing in the presentation talks to the specific situation, the needs of the particular client, an understanding of that client’s industry, or what specific rewards the prospect could enjoy as a result of doing business with this firm.

Too many pitches are like that old actor’s joke: “Well, I guess I’ve talked enough about me. Now it’s your turn. So, what do you think of me?”

The solution. Clients want to hear that you’re thinking about them.



Patrick J. McKenna is a principal with Edge International, consults with law firms on competitive strategy, and can be reached at (780) 428-1052.