Michael B. Rynowecer, President and Founder of the BTI Consulting Group, warns law firms that they should consider the appointment of new general counsel at any of their major clients to be a “wake up call.”
He supports this caution with some interesting statistics, which he posted recently on his Mad Clientist blog: within fifteen months of being hired, he says, more than a third of new GCs have started working with at least one new law firm. This statistic becomes even more significant when he adds that about 16% of all large companies have appointed new GCs within the past 15 months. Rynowecer predicts that the rate of GC turnover is likely to surge in the near future.
Rynowecer’s statistics have implications for all law firms that are working with major companies: 1) if you are not pulling your weight, or if you don’t apprise yourself of a new GC’s goals and strategies, you are likely to be gone within 1.5 years of the GC’s arrival; and 2) the arrival of a new GC at a company within your area of expertise may signal a potentially fruitful opportunity for you to pitch the benefits to them of working with your firm.
Rynowecer’s advice to law firms?
Consider any announcement of a new GC a wake up call. Working styles, goals, objectives, and law firm preferences are going to change. The biggest complaint from new GCs: Law firms continue to work in the style their predecessor liked—and the newcomer doesn’t. This does not bode well for leaving a client-focused first impression.
I encourage you to read Michael Rynowecer’s column thoroughly for suggestions on how to ensure that your position on major clients’ law firm panels remains secure.
I also invite you to share your thoughts on this or any other matter, either in the comments section below or by contacting me directly via email.