Technology As a Business Development Tool

Published in The Bottom Line, February 2012

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A major new force is reshaping legal marketing today and into the future. Technology enables lawyers to do more and better work in less time, but this defines a new service dynamic where clients increasingly see law as a commoditized service. The result will continue to put inexorable profit pressure on all law firms, creating enormous change for a profession where past practice and precedent have long ruled.

But where there is change, there is also opportunity for firms to take advantage of it. If the stock market hits a low, those who have cash and are ready to buy will make money in the long term when the market rises. In the law firm marketplace, as profit pressures increase, those firms that can take advantage of the time savings, efficiency, and commoditization of routine tasks and services afforded by computers and other electronic technology will profit. Such firms will use a marketing strategy emphasizing tools like CRM systems, knowledge management, and e-discovery software, which allow for greater efficiencies that can reduce clients' legal costs, while maintaining or increasing the law firm revenue through higher volumes of work. Being able to maintain and expand billings while becoming more efficient requires yet another marketing innovation— changing the billing system to embrace valuebased, alternative fee arrangements. This is a new business development dynamic, one every firm should understand.

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