In the current uncertain times it could said that it is the most important time to keep close to clients to understand what challenges they are facing. Business Development teams are working tirelessly in firms of all sizes to ensure that they stay close to existing clients and build pipelines of new work. However the 2017 PWC report on the Legal sector focuses on internal issues as the most important.
This is concerning as HR, Finance and Risk, whilst important areas of focus for law firms, they do not bring in business. Specialists whose skills are not pinpointed are noted as important but key account management and building business do not factor in the PWC report at all. This is possibly a reflection of how these activities and departments are sometimes viewed within law firms themselves?
It is a vital time for Business Development teams to show their true value to the firms they represent and provide tangible ROI to make their relevance felt by law firm management and beyond. Next year let's hope the researchers at PWC hear more about the key role of BD in the law.
Finance, HR and Risk & Compliance (R&C) continue to be considered the strongest performing functions in 2017, although HR is less likely to be viewed as a strength compared to previous years. The top two priorities for the Business Support functions remain improving the use of technology and standardising and centralising processes. Employing and utilising business services specialists is key to improving Business Support. The survey identified that Top 10 firms now have capabilities in all key areas, with all firms having pricing specialists. ‘Data and analytics’ and ‘digital and emerging technologies’ are identified as important new areas, with 47% and 41% of Top 100 firms having specialists in these areas.