For legal professionals looking to grow their business, competitive intelligence can offer a solid foundation of data which can help you make the right moves. There are basically three things you need to do to grow your business, and competitive intelligence can help you do them.
Identify your customer.
If you’re a legal recruiter, competitive intelligence tools such as Leopard Firmscape can help you discover which law firms need your services. For example, law firm Baker Donelson recently added three attorneys to their real estate practice group. If you examine Leopard Firmscape’s practice area history report, you can see that the number of attorneys working in real estate has grown steadily over the past four quarters, from 6220 attorneys in the 3rd quarter of 2013 to 6427 attorneys in the 2nd quarter of 2014. And more specifically, Nashville, along with a few other cities, has seen a steady increase in attorneys working in real estate. For legal recruiters looking to nurture relationships with thriving law firms, it seems that real estate may be a practice area to watch, at least for now.
The same could be said for law firms looking for practice areas that are growing. Leopard Firmscape’s practice area history report offers an important overview of how many attorneys are working in various niches over the course of four quarters. Currently there are at least 10 practice areas that have a growing number of attorneys working in them.
Identify the customer’s problem and offer a solution.
The legal industry is a problem solving one, just like all businesses. So, if you want to grow your business, you’ll need to identify what problems are begging for a solution. Gathering competitive intelligence data from a variety of sources such as Leopard Solutions, you can get an idea of what industries can benefit from your expertise. Baker Donelson has honed in on the growing health care industry as they continue to grow their firm, and they’ve hired an accomplished attorney, Elizabeth C. Sauer, to serve the industry’s real estate legal needs.
Ms. Sauer, who joins as shareholder, focuses her practice on assisting owner-operators, developers, managers and investors, primarily within the health care and senior housing/skilled nursing industries, in a wide variety of real estate transactions. She represents hospital systems, health care REITs, lenders and other public and private companies in the purchase, sale, leaseback, development, management, leasing and financing of raw land and improved assets. (source)
And while Baker Donelson is growing its real estate and finance group, it offers legal solutions to a variety of industries and companies. Donelson has 16 different practice groups and represents at least four major corporations, including Ford Motor Co. according to Leopard Firmscape data.
Identify your competitors.
In the Art of War it is said that if you don’t know yourself or your competitors you will lose almost all of the time. Well, while it may be relatively easy to learn about your own law firm, it can be challenging to learn the truth about your competitors. That’s why using the right competitive intelligence tools is essential to finding out who your competitors really are. Leopard Firmscape offers an easy way to see at a glance who your most important competitors are. According to Firmscape, Baker Donelson has at least 10 major competitors threatening to erode their market share, one of them is Baker Botts, LLP. If you go into Leopard Firmscape’s Law Firm Comparison report, you can get a quick overview comparison of the number of laterals, promotions, new hires etc. at each law firm and how many of their associates work in each practice area.
By digging deeper into the competitive intelligence data on your competitors you can get a better understanding of what you’re facing and how you might move to effectively compete.
Once you identify your customers, solve a problem, and understand your competitors, you’ve given yourself the competitive intelligence data you need to grow your business.