It’s a question I often ask law firm partners:
How much are you charging for that value add?
And nearly always the response I get is the same:- *shocked face look*.
Why, well because in my experience lawyers are willing to give something of real value away for free to a client in the hope that same client will then given them their legal work.
But it rarely works like that.
And, more importantly, it shouldn’t work like that in today’s world (if it ever really did).
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a cost of doing business component to our profession. CPDs/CLEs for in-house counsel would, in my opinion, sit in this category (but not all L&D activity) [tip: if you do this, open a ‘value account’ for your client and put a nominal value, say A$200 per 1 hour session per attendee, again this to try and show the client (in $$$ terms) the value you are providing here].
Rarely though do lawyers give thought to the ramifications of when they offer their clients something of real value, that really differentiates their firm, and then they give the IP away for free in the hope of getting the “more profitable” legal work.
Case in point is the following comment attributed to DHL Supply Chain Americas GC Mark Smolik in an article in yesterday’s The American Lawyer by Gina Passarella Cipriani [‘GCs Are Offering Work on a Silver Platter—and Law Firms Aren’t Taking It’]
“On the matter side, DHL Supply Chain Americas GC Mark Smolik gave an example of what he wishes law firms would do—and it’s something none of his firms ever has. He suggested a firm might want to look at, say, all of the employment cases emanating out of his California warehouses. Maybe they find that 50 percent of the cases are coming from one warehouse, and one person is the culprit. The GC can then take that information to its business units and work out a solution. It makes the GC look good and it makes the law firm look good to provide that kind of actionable intelligence. Other GCs echoed similar requests during Legalweek’s Business of Law Forum.”
Getting down to the bare bones of my point though:- Mark doesn’t suggest this be done for free. And, in my opinion, done right, there is every chance Mark will pay for this value add.
But that’s just my take – as always, would be interested in your thoughts, views, feedback.