As a law firm, you know that corporate legal departments are evolving entities and require legal advisers to understand not only the legal challenges, but the strategic goals that the department faces as a function within the business. Ensuring that your advice considers the wider business context will give you the edge on competitors.
Recently, Thomson Reuters hosted a webinar that resulted in a lively discussion as they considered the relationship between law firms and their clients. The panellists offered their insights, from both the law firm and in-house perspectives, as they discussed:
- What tools do you have at your disposal that could provide an edge for your clients?
- How can you understand your clients’ needs within their business context?
- Might collaboration with panel firms give you the advantage?
- What should you consider when adapting to new clients’ expectations?
- How is the COVID-19 situation impacting this relationship?
- Samantha Steer, Director Large Law Strategy, Thomson Reuters
- Dan Kayne, General Counsel (Regions), Network Rail
- Kate Stanfield, Director of Knowledge Management, Collas Crill
- Rebecca Rogers, Global Legal Knowledge and Training Lawyer, HSBC
The webinar began with an introduction from Samantha Steer, Director of Large Law Strategy at Thomson Reuters. Steer noted that the set of three webinars are focusing on culture, client and technology. This second webinar focuses on the relationship between law firms and clients and, importantly, the need to understand that advice cannot be given in isolation and without consideration of the legal departments’ strategic goals within the business.
Kate Stanfield, Collas Crill, shared how that client relationship has maintained its importance throughout her career as a key feature of firm success and strategy.
Dan Kayne, Network Rail, referenced the ‘O-shaped lawyer programme’ and his desire for lawyers to be relationship focused and act with authenticity. By doing so, Kayne indicates this will create value to the client’s business above and beyond the legal advice being offered. Stanfield went further and reminded the panel that lawyers should ‘learn properly’ from each transaction, ‘ask awkward questions’ and gain the client’s perspective of ‘how did it go?’.
There was consensus that the COVID-19 situation has almost triggered a ‘back-to-basics’ approach, Stanfield noting that use of Dealrooms, current awareness, and Docusign is on the rise. It is was agreed that in-house teams seem fairly well-equipped in remote-working and progressive in their own technology.
The discussion turned to panel firm collaboration and Rebecca Rogers, HSBC, noted how HSBC makes the most of those relationships, before turning back to the law firm angle with Stanfield highlighting just how invaluable it is to have access to in-house departments and panel firms.
Rogers also talked about her relationship with firms who recently offered more than just tools and really added value.
In closing, the discussion turns to the key question: what behaviours would you like to see continuing post COVID-19? Kayne was quick to note that there are opportunities and we should not be so quick to return to the “old ways” —identify those positive behaviours trigged by COVID-19 and stick with them.
To listen to the webinar, click here.
Samantha Steer, Director Large Law Strategy, Thomson Reuters
Dan Kayne, General Counsel (Regions), Network Rail
Rebecca Rogers, Global Legal Knowledge and Training Lawyer, HSBC
Kate Stanfield, Director of Knowledge Management, Collas Crill
This webinar is part of HighQ’s SmartLaw Series. To find out more about SmartLaw, click here.