This post was written by Dave Whiteside, account executive, Large Law Firm segment

Last week I added Charlotte to the list of conferences I’ve attended where a panel of in-house counsel talks about how they hire outside counsel. They discuss the processes and methods they use, and the law firm limbo they often witness when multiple firms attempt to win their business.

One of the panelists last week described a law firm he had fired two years ago and to this day they still did not know it. Another discussed the RFP process and couldn’t believe how many responses he received from firms that had no chance. Through all the explanations, the real message became clear. They are tired of kissing frogs. Their comments and suggestions are always the same on every panel and have been for years.

Here are some of my favorites:
-Know about me before you meet me.
-Know my business.
-Know my industry and my competition.
-Think ahead. Look to the future and tell me what you think are upcoming issues and trends that will impact my business and how. Then, tell me what I should do about it.
-Talk to me about how you have helped other clients with the same problem.
-Help me succeed in my company and career.

No NASA scientists required. The challenge for the attorney is simple, but not easy. You can’t know everyone and you certainly cannot be an expert on every business. The “chase everything” limbo method has proven to be a downfall. So how do you select where to invest your time and energy and which clients or prospects will optimize your return? The good news is that technology and information is available to help you optimize your business development efforts.

Experience Manager from Elite organizes your firm’s collective experience and promotes your past experience solving similar problems with other companies.
Monitor Suite compares how you stack up to the competition doing similar work, so you know where you stand.
ContactNet from Elite will help you manage who you have relationships with that you can leverage.
Peer Monitor & Engage both help you know what work is profitable and ensure that your firm’s staffing is optimized for every matter.

As you head into 2013, vow to be more strategic. The race will be won by the strategic thinkers that utilize the information available to them.

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