A Fresh Perspective from General Counsel

I think I’ve heard it all when it comes to what General Counsel says works and doesn’t in terms of getting their attention. From getting marketing materials in front of them to cross-selling, no matter the industry or size of the legal department, they all emphasize similar points.

The Los Angeles Chapter of Legal Marketing Association hosted a panel of GCs from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beats Electronics, LLC, Yahoo!, The Tennis Channel, NBCUniversal Media, Inc. and Toyota Financial Services. Panel members had the following to say:

• They act in a business advisory role rather than as just legal counsel. Given the fact that they have to keep costs down, their role has expanded from working strictly within the legal department to advising the company as a whole. Outside counsel who can help them from both a business and legal perspective will have the upper hand.

• Diversity is heavily weighted when hiring outside counsel. A firm that can bring different races, languages, education, etc., to the table will have a strong advantage over firms that cannot. Firms that are women-owned are also considered more desirable. Bottom line: firms that don’t embrace diversity will be left behind.

• Sorry to say, but this panel of GCs does not read any marketing materials or look at Chambers because they simply don’t have the time. If they need a recommendation for outside counsel, they typically ask their GC colleagues for one.

• If you get the opportunity to pitch your firm, make it all about them! Don’t talk about how great your firm is and that all of your lawyers went to prestigious schools. Instead, listen and ask questions. Also, do your research ahead of time so that you are prepared. Don’t ask questions that you could have answered with a quick Google search.

• The most effective cross-sell as agreed on by all the panelists is a CLE presentation. However, don’t even consider cross-selling if you aren’t “killing” it in the one area you are already providing service in.

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