By Debra Baker
“Baseball was theater. But it could not be artful unless its performances could be properly understood. The meaning of these performances depended on the clarity of the statistics that measure them.”
– Michael Lewis, Moneyball
Like baseball, the legal profession is as much art as it is discipline. But if objective measures will provide clarity as to how legal services are defined, what are those measures?
Legal Vertical Strategies analyzes the legal landscape from three perspectives: Demand, Client Base, Competition. Each has its own set of measures that provide insight into the overall market.
Demand identifies what opportunities exist, with whom, and the relative value of those opportunities, informing decisions about:
- Target practices and industry groups;
- Talent development;
- Maximizing marketing and business development investment;
- Aligning resources.
Economic, industry, regulatory and geographic trends all impact demand.
Economic climate. A strong economy contributes to legal needs driven by opportunity – deal flow, investment, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Weak economic confidence stifles deal flow, lowering overall demand for transactional services.
Regulatory environment. The more regulations, the more complexity to running a business. Heavily regulated industries and states created environments increase demand for legal services.
Industry Trends. Industry trends can create or deter demand for legal services within specific sectors.
Geographic Trends. With increased globalization, geographic trends are important to understand even when evaluating the legal services market of a single region. Businesses inside that market do not limit their business to a given reason, so their legal needs bleed into other geographies.
Law firms need to understand the impact of these factors on the markets they serve in order to assess what type of work in their areas of expertise will be in demand. It will assist firms in identifying common characteristics among businesses with specific needs that can be used to more effectively target and market the practice.