If you’re looking to increase your law firm’s revenue in 2019, specialization is the name of the game.
While the overall legal services market has remained relatively flat since 2010—with a modest 1.3 percent uptick in 2018 following decreases in both 2016 and 2017—there are some trending areas where experts anticipate growth.
Read on to find out which trends are best suited to help you reel in new business and boost revenue this year, and beyond.
1. Outside counsel spend at all-time high
Following a steady increase in demand for the last few years, the outside legal counsel market reached an all-time high of $64.7 billion in 2018. This year is poised to do even better. Decision makers earmarked 2019 for an additional $2 billion for outside legal counsel, with some predicting a year-over-year inrease of as much as $5 billion.
Corporate legal departments are on the hunt for subject-matter experts on topics like litigation, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and alternative dispute resolution. Indeed, demand for litigation services alone grew nearly 2 percent between 2017 and 2018.
Keep in mind, however, that new opportunities aren’t likely to come with flashing neon lights. And while legal decision makers are spending more, they are also taking measures to spend the additional funds wisely and demanding competitive rates.
To find new revenue sources and maintain a healthy margin, your firm needs to work smarter, not harder, and take advantage of new technology, like relationship intelligence automation (RIA).
With RIA, your firm can quickly and easily identify network connections with the power to successfully expand your network and reach within client accounts. And process automation can save your legal team precious time—time they can use to focus on client needs and grow the bottom line.
Related Reading: Intelligence for Law Firms: Why Your Firm Needs AI, BI, CI & RI
2. Cybersecurity’s importance grows
Cyber risk—which is expected to rise 5.6 percent in 2019—now claims sixth place on the list of global threats, ranking above civil conflicts, earthquakes and terrorism.
A cyber attack can threaten not only a business’ reputation, but it’s very solvency. Given potential data breaches, the implications of artificial intelligence, ransomware attacks, and data compliance policies such as GDPR, it’s no wonder more and more companies are attempting a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
That approach includes understanding the legal implications of a possible breach. In fact, while cybersecurity-related spend remains a small fraction of the overall budget—approximately 3 percent—it’s where companies are increasing their spend the most in 2019.
To take advantage of this trend, position your law firm as a trusted advisor. Win new business by educating clients on the business implications of cyber attacks, facilitating one-on-one scenario planning, supporting the development of policies and performing risk analysis. Research shows that this education on new ideas and perspectives is the most important deciding factor when trying to earn new business.
And for steps your firm can take to beef up your own cybersecurity and create a deeper level of trust, check out our post on how to secure your client data.
3. Healthcare, food, banking seek counsel
Cybersecurity, data transparency, ever-increasing regulations, labeling class actions, product recalls, processing issues and even bioterrorism are driving up demand for legal services in specialized industries like food, healthcare and finance.
Your firm can seize on this trend by positioning your team as industry experts. Demonstrate depth of knowledge and experience. If you already have alignment in these industries, you’re ahead of the game. If not, now is a good time to start laying the groundwork for future success.
According to the President and CEO of The Remsen Group, John Remsen, Jr., the most efficient and effective way to become the go-to law firm for a specific industry is to create industry practice groups focused on business development efforts by industry.
“Industry practice groups can get lawyers doing things they enjoy, get them playing off one another, cross-selling and achieving more powerful results than if they worked independently,” he said.
Remsen also suggests a strong leader marshal each group, someone who can jump-start initiatives, inject enthusiasm, and maintain energy over time.
Tap into relationships to grow your client base
Despite a relatively flat legal services market, law firms can seize on several trending opportunities in 2019. But claiming your firm’s piece of the pie will take smarter, more strategic work—and a willingness to highlight different areas of expertise.
To take advantage of this year’s trends, start with getting the most mileage possible out your own network with relationship intelligence automation.
RIA tools like Introhive will help your firm spot new connection opportunities. And, thanks to automation technology, your team can spend less time on mundane data entry tasks and can spend more time working new business deals. (Request a demo for a detailed look at how it works).
And download our legal business development playbook for more insights on how to take your firm’s business development efforts to new heights.