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Not sure you can compete for larger clients’ business? You can.

By Jordan Schuetzle

For decades, there seems to have been an unspoken understanding that the world’s largest corporate clients would only hire the world’s most prestigious law firms to handle their legal needs. There was a certain comfort in the longevity of the relationship and security in having a highly recognizable name behind them in legal proceedings.

Since the end of the Great Recession, however, there has been a fundamental shift in the way corporations source and hire outside counsel firms. Clients’ manner of thinking has turned to get the highest quality work at the best possible rate. Corporate procurement departments are evaluating law firms on specific criteria, including cost, experience, and prior results. The size of the firm, its notoriety, and the length of the relationship no longer carry the weight they once did.

The door is open for midsize firms

But can they compete? The answer is a definite, “Yes!” The only question is how to best position themselves as viable options.

For midsize firms to compete against Biglaw firms, they must be able to deliver the same level of service and quality at a more reasonable cost. One of the most attractive characteristics of smaller firms compared to their Biglaw counterparts is their agility. Clients want accurate answers quickly, and midsize firms have proven themselves to be extremely responsive to these types of requests. Also, the specialized expertise they often bring to the table makes them that much more marketable to the right client.

In many cases, however, firms must prove themselves before a client will trust them with higher value work. To get a foot in the door with a client, firms may have to start with a relatively small portion of a larger matter. If that goes well, successful firms are frequently rewarded with more substantial and profitable work down the road. In many instances, the key is being prepared to accept any task the client offers. If your firm doesn’t typically handle the type of matter being offered, the future of your relationship with the client could depend on you finding a way to get it done.

Getting up to speed…quickly

And, perhaps more importantly, how do you get up to speed to the point where you can deliver the level of quality the client demands? Technology could be the answer. If you want to compete for Biglaw business, arm yourself with the right technology, so you are prepared when the opportunity arises.

Whether the client’s request involves a practice area with which you are unfamiliar or a task you haven’t performed in a while, there are some outstanding solutions on the market that can walk you through nearly any matter—regardless of your level of experience.

Compete for Biglaw business

Read the white paper, “How technology levels the playing field for midsize law firms” from Thomson Reuters, your source for industry-leading information, news, and guidance