Eight suggestions for your department to learn more about your client’s business

Information spillover as an advantage that grows with increasing size of law departments
From my various consulting projects, here are some practices of legal departments, listed in no particular order, that help them keep in touch with their clients’ business activities and legal concerns.

  1. Send a bi-monthly “update” to key clients about what the legal department has done recently. Make it very low key, not in lawyer style, and focused on business activities.

  2. Fund a program so that each lawyer takes a client to lunch – in the corporate cafeteria! – once a month.

  3. For a month, have lawyers track the names of the clients they assist and a breakdown of low, medium and high frequency. It is a step toward creating a map of client contacts — a network analysis — and where are clients missing or over-using the legal department.

  4. Arrange brown-bag lunches within the department to learn about the business and invite a client to “teach” them.

  5. Conduct a client satisfaction survey and ask about business activities that trigger legal issues.

  6. Have practice groups collect nuggets of learning about the business – crib sheets, perhaps – and keep them in SharePoint.

  7. Listen intently to analyst calls and read analysts reports.

  8. Circulate clippings from the trade press about how outsiders explain the company and its products or services and direction.

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