Five steps to becoming the ultimate business lawyer
By CMS Academy 2017 participants Danielle Rumens, Kishan Mathy, Ciara Berry, Grainne Duffy, Melissa Laurie.
The world is changing, but stay “CALMR”.
- Communication is key.
Stay clear and concise. Replace legal jargon with practical advice, and make sure you keep clients informed.
Understanding some basic concepts of neuroscience helps us understand what drives individuals. It tells us that control is important to us all, and an absence of control can lead the brain to perceive a threat. The ultimate business lawyer helps their client feel in control. This begins with asking clients how they prefer communication, be it phone calls, email, or face to face contact. Personalising how we interact with different clients leads to a more effective working relationship.
- Added Value
In today’s economy, clients expect more for their money, and providing legal knowledge is simply not enough. The legal market is consolidating, and is experiencing a “middle market squeeze”. This has resulted in heightened competition between law firms. Business lawyers must provide tailor-made advice and consider a client’s individual business and strategy, rather than a “one size fits all” approach.
- Legal expertise
Knowledge of the law is vital and all clients automatically expect this. The ultimate business lawyer is also able to apply this knowledge based on their understanding of the client’s business.
- Market knowledge
Sector awareness ensures the delivery of high quality advice in the context of an organisation’s business. High competition in the legal profession requires more than an in depth knowledge of legal issues; lawyers should keep up to date with current affairs, technological developments and sector trends. In addition to knowing your client’s world, the ultimate business lawyer anticipates future challenges and opportunities. Clients are not just living in the present, and nor should you.
Law is a people business and building a rapport with your clients delivers success. Trust is a vital part of this and the ultimate business lawyer will build trust through organisation and honesty. Client trust is lost through empty promises, and failure to admit to error or ignorance.
There is an undeniable relationship between business and law, and competition amongst law firms is fierce. Businesses need lawyers and want business advisors. Beat the crowd and be both!