“Coopetition” = Cooperating while competing.

I heard a new word today, ‘Coopetition‘.

In an article in Philippine publication Business Mirror, Stephanie Tomampos credits Philippine Science Secretary Fortunato T de la Pena with using the term during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 17th Conference of the Science Council of Asia at the Philippine International Convention Centre on June 14th.

Although not directed at lawyers, but at scientists who cooperate while competing for research funding, I thought the word summed up well the role of the modern law firm; where firms are increasing being asked to cooperate with each other in order to contribute towards inclusive overall development of the client’s business.

Whereas in the past this sort of cooperation may have been limited to unbundling, LPO or labour arbitrage, today cooperation between the various legal service providers of a client extends way, way beyond this.

We see it in the way firms are now required to cooperate with each with the IT platform(s)/environment the client uses. We see it in the way we pitch innovation to clients, where if we work with multiple firms servicing the client we cooperate with each other on innovative ways of doing the job. We see it in the way we are being asked to work with project teams, often with New Law providers such as Lawyers on Demand and Crowd & Co.

Driven largely by a need for cost efficiencies, what we are increasingly seeing is a demand by clients for a cohesive, inclusive, approach to their client experience (CX) from all of their legal service providers.

This means that while we very much remain competitors, in the new world order we need to cooperate with each other in order to be in a position to compete at all!


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