A sample lecture from "Law Firm Research" course at Georgetown Law. This lecture covers strategies for identifying and researching niche legal issues and marketing your expertise to potential new clients.
Law Firm Research: Business Development and CI Professors Ryan and Callinan February 5, 2008
Information Environment BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CASE DEVELOPMENT CLIENT ENGAGEMENT ISSUE RESEARCH: STATUTES, REGULATIONS,CASES BACKRGOUND RESEARCH CASE RESOLUTION RESEARCH MANAGEMENT LIFE CYCLE AND RESEARCH MILESTONES OF A CLIENT MATTER PLAN IMPLEMENT EVALUATE
Where We Are Your Information Environment Current Awareness Resources Practitioners’ periodicals Blogs and alerts Your Institutional and Personal Libraries Managing Research Team Members and Tasks UPL and Supervision Corporate Information Common resources, multiple applications Business development, Competitive intelligence, Conflicts, Experts, Case Development
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Recognizing Current Niches Where is the firm getting business now? What special expertise does the firm offer? In which practice areas is the work non-routine and important, i.e., it requires specialized expertise that the firm can offer but other firms do not? What size companies does the firm serve? Best Source : Firm’s client list
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Identifying New Issue Niches What are the hot topics in this area? Have there been new cases, statutes or regulations that require changes in business behavior? Are there political, financial, technological events that may trigger new laws? Best Sources : Current awareness tools , CourtExpress Litigation Trend Report, Legal Trends Today .
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Understanding New Issue Niches What is the legal context for the issue? Is there special terminology or jargon associated with it? What are the related legal issues? Best Sources : Topical secondary sources , such as treatises or looseleaf services; topical electronic resources ; topical research guides ; Findlaw website, ALM Research site.
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Identifying Potential Markets What industries have been affected by change? What trade associations or member groups are associated with the industries? Best Sources : Edgar (for SIC Codes ), LiveEdgar (for research ), Lexis , Standard & Poor , Current awareness tools, association information ( Yahoo list, IPL list, Associations Yellow Book
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Identifying Potential Clients What companies comprise the industry? Which ones might have similar problems? Best Sources : Fortune 500 list, industry surveys, LiveEdgar (annual reports, litigation sections)
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Identifying Competing Law Firms Which law firms currently represent those companies and industries? Sources for law firm information: Martindale Hubbell Lexis and Westlaw directories Law firm associations Surveys of law firms: http://www.law.com/special/professionals/nlj/nlj_clientlist1-50.html http://www.boardmember.com/about_us/release_061004.shtml http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1101738479985
Business Development Research: Key Concepts Identifying Speaking/Writing Opportunities What associations or companies sponsor conferences in legal subject areas? Which legal publishers sponsor conferences and/or seek submissions? Best Sources : Association lists, publishers’ websites, lists of conferences ( MH list, Mealey list, PLI list, Glasser Legal Works list, ATLA list, ABA Marketing Site) Note: Consider using a placement company such as Mondaq
Business Development Research: Tools Requests for Proposals Definition : information that showcases the firm's credentials, work ethic, internal efficiencies and relevant experience in response to a client’s request for advice on a specific issue Elements : Statement of the legal issue with firm’s experience, industry knowledge; ramifications for prospective client of various actions or of taking no action at all; Identification of lead attorney with qualifications for future contact; Description of benefits and advantages over competitors; Plan of action to resolve prospective client’s problem.
Business Development Research: Tools Statement of Qualifications Definition : a document outlining firm’s understanding of issues facing client; not in response to specific problem; part research, part intuition. Sent to inside counsel at potential corporate client. Useful to potential client when important statutes or regulations have changed. Elements : similar to an RFP, but without plan of action. Explains legal issues, impact on client’s industry, and firm’s ideas on addressing the issues. Serves as a starting point for further discussions.
Business Development Research: Tools Compliance Review Definition: An examination to determine whether the company’s operation is in regulatory compliance. Often company is not facing a particular problem or lawsuit, but wants to ensure that policies and procedures are in compliance with relevant law. Elements : Vary by industry and practice area. Common in Government Contracts, Labor, Taxation, Corporate, IP, Banking
Research Concept: Research as a Process Start with a problem . . . Identify the sources of answers . . . Design a search . . . Close the research circle.
Research Concept: Research as a Process Start with the problem . . . What do you already know Maximize the assignment with JUST ASK What do you need to know Apply classic analysis to the case to see the holes Build a vocabulary to describe it
Research Concept: Research as a Process Identify sources . . . What types of sources do you need? Secondary (i.e., journal articles, practice manuals, treatises, etc.) Case finding sources (i.e., digests, annotations, indexes) Primary (i.e., cases, statutes and legislative history, regulatory materials) Where will you find what you need? Online or in print? Full text, abstract or index? Free or fee?
Research Concept: Research as a Process Design a search . . . Use advanced search functions to maximize Boolean effectiveness Take advantage of embedded controlled vocabularies to avoid near misses Understand the limitations of the Invisible Web
Research Concept: Research as a Process Close the circle . . . Have I done enough research ? Quality of tools is good Legal sources are verified as valid What have I missed ? Research circle has closed; cites are repeating – no new tangents revealed When can I stop ? Now – with confidence!
Business Development Research: In-Class Exercise Potential Niche What impact will the arrival of the Millennial wave of ADHD workers have on the workplace? How should companies prepare for this phenomenon?
Business Development Research: In-Class Exercise Please go to the TWEN site and download the exercise on Business Development. We’ll do the first steps as a group brainstorm. The Problem The Sources The Searches
Business Development Research: In-Class Exercise Ask.com Natural language search: What is ADHD ? Advanced search form : http://www.ask.com/webadvanced Top answers: Wikipedia ; CDC Google Natural language search: What is ADHD ? Advanced search form: http://www.google.com/advanced_search Ask Dictionary search : http://www.ask.com/#subject:dic|pg:1 Google Dictionary search : http:www.google.com (define:)
Business Development Research: In-Class Exercise LEXIS BOOLEAN SEARCH STRATEGIES
Business Development Research: In-Class Exercise WESTLAW BOOLEAN SEARCH STRATEGIES
Start Your Homework! Go this “Competitive Intelligence” linked outline http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x14441.xml Using your “client”, work your way through this tool.
Business Development Research: Summary and Next Steps Find a niche and relevant industries Learn the issues and terminology Identify related trade associations and newsletters Find similar companies Identify their law firms and competitors Identify speaking and writing opportunities Write and publish an article on the niche Use the facts of the first case as a hook to engage potential clients!
Business Development Research: The Final Word Business development happens when you least expect it . Read constantly and with an open mind – you never know where the next big idea will come from!