EDITOR’S LETTER

Richard Brent|Editor-in-chief, Briefing

Take a squizz at the news any day at the moment, and there seems to be a section with somebody trying to give you a masterclass in negotiation strategy. Never give away your ‘tactics’ – the other side will always ‘run down the clock’ to the final minute, so don’t ‘blink’ first.

It all sounds rather hot-under-the-collar, to be honest.

And kind of the exact opposite of what we hear in our sphere of business management here – that two sides should build up trust as they go back and forth to reach an eventual win-win, where value is relatively clear to all involved.

In this issue we focus on how firms are feeling about the buy-side of legal business – and it’s an intriguing time to be doing so. A 2019 snapshot survey from the Buying Legal Council finds that total legal spend is on the rise again after several years of reductions. Accordingly, cost-conscious big legal spenders are seeing the value in going to the alternative legal provider group, which we know law firms are growing to recognise as compelling competition for their services.

In this issue we focus on how firms are feeling about the buy-side of legal business – and it’s an intriguing time to be doing so

But that’s not quite the whole story. Respondents comprising the research still
spent over 10 times more on so-called ‘traditional’ firms than the other options
available to them – a sharp rise in share.
Could there be an aspect of reassurance that these older, more established brands represent in especially difficult and
uncertain times? And the value of that trumps the temptation to shop around and find a ‘better deal’ elsewhere? Either way, it should certainly be seen as an opportunity for firms to plough effort into keeping such a trend going. Of course, we know some are already exploring a certain ring-fencing of the alternatives they can make available for clients within their own walls. Others are investing in their own legal operations expertise, which may even represent a new revenue stream.

But at the very least, they should probably be taking a long, hard, honest look at whether that ‘trusted’ tag truly applies to communications and relationships in the round.

This article can be found in Briefing’s October edition: Buying signals

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BRIEFING DATABASE: NOVEMBER 2019

This month we turn our attention to work in Australia.

In partnership with Peer Monitor
November 2019