A recent white paper cites an article that says “in order to correctly anticipate potential risks to clients, firms can implement competitive intelligence (CI) programs.” Later, Future Law Office: Delivering Value-Added Legal Services in Challenging Times (Robert Half Legal 2009) at 8, adds that “A law firm CI program should be alert for any developments, trends or regulations that could affect the client adversely. Counsel can then bring these issues to their clients before there is an actual problem” (See my post of May 6, 2009: data mining by law departments and law firms with 10 references.).
A solid lawyer should be eager to tell a client about something spotted on the horizon. Clients appreciate warnings. If this be competitive intelligence, fine, but the term CI gives a sense of much grander activity. It combines client service, differentiation, and indirect marketing.