China’s lawyers are gathered this week in Shanghai to learn about trends and best practices in legal technology and marketing. The China International Lawyer Marketing & Technology Summit 2013 (CILMTS2013) takes place at a time when China’s economy continues to grow apace while maintaining a pronounced allure to foreign companies and investors. China’s law firms constitute Asia’s largest and arguably most competitive for local work – but competition for work from both domestic and foreign clients is becoming more fierce, characterized by intense price competition.
To remain competitive and increase the likelihood of future success, China’s lawyers can emulate some of the world’s best law firm business development initiatives – some focused on China already. Two core initiatives are worth emulating:
Make yourself a gateway to the Chinese market
For Chinese lawyers seeking to represent clients from overseas - one of the most effective ways to attract those potential clients – is to become a primary source of information for companies seeking to enter and thrive in the Chinese market. China Law Blog, authored by Dan Harris of Harris & Moure pllc, is a superb example of what you can aspire to.
Establish and maintain a “sales pipeline” business development effort
To make the gateway presence I’ve described above fully successful, Chinese law firms should also establish a “sales pipeline” similar to the award-winning one Baker & McKenzie’s London office maintains. The key components of this effort are the identification of new potential clients and the pursuit of those clients until your firm has been retained by them. This effort requires the adoption of sophisticated market research and sales performed by skilled professionals trained in each discipline I’ve mentioned above. As I’ve written previously, I believe it’s ideal to deploy a hybrid lawyer/business developer in this role.
China’s lawyers can thrive in the increasingly competitive marketplace for legal services in mainland China – if they emulate the sophisticated practices some law firms are already utilizing to great success.
Note: This blogpost will be my last on this blog. After almost 4 years and 202 posts, I plan to focus on other endeavours prospectively. The writing herein constitutes the best of what I’ve learned in my over 12 years in international professional services business development. I’ll leave them online indefinitely as a resource for anyone who might find them useful.