Replacing Legal Market Trends with Real World Realities
Welcome to the 'new (ab)normal'! When is the last time you were glued to the TV, social ... pick your media to figure out what's next, not only in your own life but with the economy, your own businesses and anything and everything you care about? Oh yeah and there's the working from home 'thing', 24/7, with or without a proper place or space to call your office.
While we are all looking to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and somehow come out stronger on the other side, the reality of what the legal community is going through is as many commentators like to say "fluid", at best. In other words, we have no idea what's next or what we are supposed to do, how we are supposed to act, and how aggressive we should be about business as usual without coming off as annoyingly tone deaf.
I was recently invited by Qorus Software (producers of sales enablement/proposal/RFP automation technology) to address the "how the hell should we market right now, what's our reality and how does this match up with 2020 marketing trends and developments." We decided to host a "10 Marketing Trends and Realities" webinar to drill-down further and provide law firm marketers with some guidance (and a sanity check) as to what they could/should be doing during this crisis.
In addition to the webinar (which in exchange for some contact info you are free to access here), Qorus also produced an easy to follow and practical to use eBook: Adapting to Change: Definitive Guide to Law Firm Marketing in 2020. The eBook includes 8 practical tips on how legal marketers can seize the moment and put their best marketing foot forward. If you don't have time to download the webinar or the eBook, check out the 14-slide PDF (with all ten trends and realities) from the program.
Here are a few of the trends (and realities) that legal marketers should not only acknowledge but consider acting on now:
Client-centric marketing: This might be a no-brainer ... "all marketing should focus on clients", but you'd be surprised how many campaigns miss the mark. Check out any corporate legal survey and you'll quickly realize how much outside counsel DO NOT listen to client challenges and demands. The current crisis gives you a 'do-over' of sorts when it comes to revealing your authentic marketing self. Your clients are swimming with you in the deep end so why not work together to your collective advantage
Strategic content marketing is king: Content marketing is nothing new. Devising a clever strategy of how to leverage and amplify hard earned content is still novel and not the norm in legal marketing circles. Spend some energy on "marketing your marketing" with a 1-4-7 approach. Focus on one concept; develop four related content pieces such as newsletters, webinars, eBooks, and whitepapers; and chose seven distribution channels for your content including online, social, communal and direct.
Community building ... the new black: Acquiring new customers is 6-7 times more expensive than marketing to an existing community base. These days, word-of-mouth means engaging through social platforms, sharing educational resources while introducing clients to your network of subject matter experts and influencers. Legal communities are out there and waiting with open arms. Check out ILTA, LMA, ALA, and ABA Law Practice for starters.
We will be sharing more legal marketing trends and realities in future posts gleaned from legal marketing and business development experts.
Inside Legalweek 2019: State of the Legal Industry
‘Pre’ Legalweek New York began Monday with various premium boot camp-style intensives, but for us, Tuesday’s ‘State of the Industry’ general session at 8:30AM (Grand Ballroom East) marked the official kick-off for Legalweek 2019.
Nicholas Bruch and Erin Hichman, both senior analysts with ALM Intelligence, took some time out of their busy schedules to provide us with some insight into their ‘state of the union’ keynote. Enjoy the Q&A.
IL: Before we dive into some of your findings for 2019, can you tell us a bit more about your research scope/areas of focus for this 'state of legal' presentation?
ALM Legal Intelligence: The State of the Industry presentation is meant to look at the entire legal market. This makes the scope of the presentation and the research process ahead of it quite broad. We look at trends in the law firm space, in the legal department space, and also look at alternative legal service providers (ASPs) and legal tech. The goal is to see how all of these moving parts fit together and what the trends in each space mean for the industry as a whole.
IL: In 2018, you focused much of your presentation on "what the data says" about the future of the legal market. Is this a focus in 2019?
ALM Legal Intelligence: Yes. We feel strongly that any analysis of the legal industry needs to start with the data. For this year’s presentation, we dove deep into the data on the legal industry to understand what the big trends were. We then combined those quantitative findings with some of the qualitative information we gather in interviews or in conversations we have with industry leaders. Those qualitative “data points” add context to the data and help bring it to life. The end goal is to try to create a cohesive narrative, supported by data, which tells us where the industry is going and what different market participants should be aware of in terms of the risks they might face and the opportunities that they should be taking advantage of.
IL: In terms of data, what are the top 3 significant data points, perhaps even ‘wow moments’ you will be sharing during your session?
ALM Legal Intelligence:
- Law firms had a good year: Law firms performed very well in the past fiscal year. They grew revenue by over 5% and 80% of firms saw improvements in profitability. Nearly a quarter of firms grew profitability by 10% or more. By almost any measure this is a great performance. Perhaps most importantly, all of the data we have suggests the year that just ended - the year that law firms are reporting to ALM Intelligence right now - will be even better.
- Law Department Insourcing: Most people know law departments have brought a lot of work in-house in the past decade. What I think most people don’t fully appreciate is the size and speed of the change.
"Our data suggest that law department in-sourcing is the primary driver of disruption in the legal industry right now." ALM Legal Intelligence
- The evolving vendor landscape: We think most people are aware there has been a lot of change in the vendor landscape in the past year in the legal industry. We see ASPs being bought and sold. We see the Big Four entering the legal market in a lot of different areas. In the presentation, we try to show the extent of the change and discuss how that change is going to impact the legal market over the next decade or so.
IL: You mention that based on your data analysis, the legal industry is undergoing a significant, if subtle, shift. What are you seeing in 2019?
ALM Legal Intelligence: 2019 is going to be a year of mixed signals. We are likely to see accelerated growth for ASPs and increased presence by new players like the Big Four. We are also likely to see law firms post their best year in over a decade. The subtle shift we are seeing is related to continued divergence in the law firm market. The law firm market is splitting into two distinct segments, each with differing business models and with differing performance (in terms of financial performance). We believe this divergence is going to continue in 2019 and accelerate, if only slightly.
IL: Of the six major trends you highlighted in 2018 (see below) as impacting the legal industry this year, which ones do you think had/will have the biggest impact? The Big 4. Consolidation. Divergence. Litigation Finance. Law Firm Failures. CLOC Movement
ALM Legal Intelligence: All of these trends are going to be important in 2019. The Big Four had a very busy year in 2018 and we expect that trend to continue. We will see them solidify their position in certain areas of the legal industry and expand, if cautiously, into a few new areas. Litigation Finance will be an interesting space to watch in 2019. It has been growing rapidly over the past several years below the radar. Its impact on the industry has not yet been fully appreciated or understood. We think that may change this year. It is now large enough that we can understand how litigation funders will fit into the broader legal market ecosystem and what impact they will have on supply, demand, pricing, and profitability. The area we are watching most closely is divergence.
As we mentioned above, law firms are looking and acting increasingly different. Some are sticking with a “lawyer centric” model focused on expertise and talent. Others are starting to figure out how to use their scale as a competitive weapon. This model will still require talent but it will also rely on process improvement, technology and scale to deliver legal services in ways never seen before. We suspect the differences between law firms will only accelerate over the next decade or so.
"The legal service provider landscape is going to change significantly over the next decade. That change will create opportunities for some and risks for others. It will also change the way legal services are bought, sold, and consumed." ALM Legal Intelligence
Inside Legalweek 2019: Battle Tested Tips for Conference Survival
If you are looking for basic tradeshow tips such as "wear comfortable shoes", "plot out who you want to meet ahead of time" and "bring business cards", etc. this isn't the post for you. This is a post based on 19 years of attending Legaltech New York and most all other legal events and conferences. We make the joke annually that it's no coincidence that Legaltech is always within a few days of Groundhog Day. Legaltech's timing is unique in that it allows you to kick off the new year with a bang, however it can also make for a brutal week. With the morphing of Legaltech into Legalweek, this is even more so the case. Here are some Legalweek 2019 'coping' tips which will hopefully have you looking back at the week ahead with enthusiasm not vitriol.
1. There is no ‘cone of silence’!
You wouldn’t believe the things we’ve heard in the common areas of the Hilton over our 19 years attending Legaltech. Realize that the property is a ‘hot’ spot and that you never know who is at the table beside you in the restaurant or sharing the elevator with you, so be discreet! Update: I'm going to extend this tip out two blocks in all directions. If you are at the Warwick or the Starbucks or the corner pub, it can still be full of Legalweek attendees or your competitors!
There is a lot to take advantage of at Legalweek, so often plans for the event begin and end with working your booth. To maximize your investment, take advantage of all the opportunities available to network and/or promote your brand including connecting with partners, media, bloggers but also take time to meet with legal associations on-site such as ILTA , ARMA, AALL or AECDS.
3. "Social" networking
The first word in social networking is SOCIAL. In an industry with the staying power of legal - no one ever leaves, they just change companies/firms - it is just as valuable to make social connections with peers and contacts. During social events, stay social! Don’t start listing the bullet points for your product or bust out a laptop/tablet for a ‘quick demo’. Seriously… it happens all the time! Also bring your manners to the Twitter-verse and don't hog the hashtag. There are many people that participate in the Legalweek social media world so be respectful and don't hog the hashtag! If you are including the #Legalweek19 hashtag (which you should), don't send tweets from multiple company/employee accounts multiple times in a row. There are always a few people/companies that decide that social media success is based on the number of tweets they post. In fact, often those people are ridiculed and avoided, so don't be one of them!
4. Meeting space hell
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges at Legalweek is finding a space to meet on-site, so prepare accordingly. All major events should provide ample space for their attendees to sit and network, but unfortunately, the main common area for meetings during the day is now rented out by ALM to vendors for their meetings during the day, so it's been closed off. We suggest you book a separate meeting space, locate a few off-site meeting options beforehand or just direct all meeting traffic to your booth to collectively find appropriate space. We have managed to find a few choice places to meet, but then again, you don't expect us to publish those, do you? :-)
However, we've found a couple of creative ideas from the suspended glass box meeting room above to the "portable chair" to the right (try at your own risk!). Next year, someone should give them away in the exhibit hall!
5. Beware of the 'convenience' of the coat check
In the past, recovering from hypothermia because I walked to the Hilton without my coat was less annoying than standing in the coat check line. Seriously. (OK, obviously the photo is an exaggeration but you get the idea!)
6. Measure up the competition
If you are a technology vendor/Legaltech exhibitor in town for the week, this is the perfect time to 'compare and contrast'. What are companies in your application area promoting this week? How visible are they? How is their exhibit floor/booth traffic? What are they doing that you might be able to pull off better? Did you know there is a full schedule of demos and product pitches happening throughout the week? And, there's a new Legaltech Product Innovation showcase and award to check out and vote on via the app. Don't come to town solely focused on booth duty and the 'wine and dine'. Be aware, take notes, and share it when you get home.
A variation from a post originally published January 20, 2015
Inside Legalweek 2019: Legaltech Agenda Word Cloud - Nine Years and Counting
Starting next week, we will join thousands at what will be our 20th edition of Legaltech New York
(LTNY). 2019 will mark the third year that LTNY is part of an expanded Legalweek
format, with almost four full days of exhibitions, networking and legal sessions.
If you've attended LTNY before, you may be familiar with our annual Legaltech NY Agenda Word Clouds that provide a visual display of the words/themes from the Legaltech event's educational agenda and session lineup. If you aren't familiar with word clouds (you'd be surprised!), the larger words/phrases are the ones most often referenced in the agenda text and so on.
Let's take a look at InsideLegal's 9th annual Legaltech NY Agenda Word Cloud. To allow for comparison of this year's visual with the trends from past years, we've also included below the word clouds we created in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Take a look, click on the images to enlarge and compare for yourself.
For this post, we'll leave the commentary and word cloud "interpretation" to you all, but I must say, it sure is nice to see topics other than eDiscovery trending ...
Remember: Click on images to enlarge
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for timely updates.
The word cloud was pulled from the agenda located at www.LegalTechShow.com.
Inside Legalweek 2019: Rewarding Legal Technology Innovation
In July, 2015, ALM’s Legaltech News last unveiled the winners of the LTN Innovation Awards, an annual recognition of the best legal technology leaders, products and projects in the legal community. Three and a half years have passed and now it's time to once again recognize industry leaders in legal technology innovation. The 2019 Legaltech Product Innovation Competition is underway with 7 finalists having been named in early January.
Erin Hichman, Senior Analyst with ALM Intelligence, is charged with organizing the 2019 innovation competition. We wanted to learn more ... how did this come about? how will the judging work? who applied? and who made the final cut. Let's find out.
IL: What is the genesis of the award? Why launch this now?
EH: Over the past year we’ve really witnessed the continued “explosion” of legal technology, but, more importantly, and interestingly, we are starting to see a new level of sophistication and innovation in product development. The legal technology market and landscape is changing so quickly - and is becoming crowded. We decided to launch the Product Innovation Competition this year at Legaltech to provide a platform for those that are using technology to improve the legal industry and approach traditional challenges and goals in a new way. It’s also a great way to help the consumer and user of legal technology understand what is available to them.
In most firms and legal departments, there are multiple stakeholders who must review and evaluate new technology, and many of those are in NYC the last week of January attending Legalweek. Given the depth and breadth of attendees, including many in-house legal professionals, we wanted to provide a platform for companies to launch new products with maximum exposure.
IL: Please walk us through the judging and evaluation process?
EH: There will be two awards given out - one from the panel of judges we have, and one from the conference attendees (“People’s Choice Awards”). We have a fantastic panel of judges including Catherine Krow of Digitory Legal; Haley Altman of Doxly; Silvia Hodges Silverstein of Buying Legal; Richard Tromans of Tromans Consulting, and Ryan McClead of Sente Advisors. They will all speak with the finalists at their booths, and also take part in the demos or “pitches” each finalist makes. All of the conference attendees are encouraged to check out the finalists and interact with them as well. The judges will evaluate on six criteria, using a scale of one to five:
1. Is the solution distinctive or fundamentally different from existing products?
2. Does the solution enhance efficiency and/or productivity?
3. If there a clear market need?
Conference attendees will be able to vote via the event mobile app (for iOS devices), on the following criteria:
1. Does the product enhance efficiency and/or productivity?
3. Overall Functionality
IL: What are the judges looking for in a finalist/winner?
EH: Ultimately the judges are looking for products that are unique and differentiated from existing products in the legal industry that solve a particular challenge, and/or take a new approach to something that has been fairly static historically.
IL: Can you touch on the application field, the recently announced finalists and the award ceremony?
EH: There was a broad range of products, 25 in total, who entered the competition, from smaller newer entrants to the legal field to large and well-known names. Some key themes we saw reflected across many entrants was using AI and creating a more integrated, seamless and collaborative experience for the end-user.
Seven finalists were identified after an initial round of scoring by the judges:
The Award Ceremony will be held at 10:40 on January 31 on the Legaltech LITE Stage, which is accessible to everyone at the entire Legalweek event. We encourage everyone to attend!
IL: What does the future hold for the Legalweek Product Innovation competition?
EH: We are very excited about this new addition to Legaltech. The response to the competition has been really good. We had 25 very interesting products enter, and after some close scoring, ended up with seven finalists. We think that this type of competition is the perfect fit for Legaltech and the overall Legalweek event, and are already making plans to include it next year.