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Law Firms Demonstrate Digital Savvy to Deepen Relationships

By Daniel Reed, Chairman of the Board

“The last thing you want in your team is the belief that digital is someone else’s problem,” said the CEO of Schneider Electric, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, in a recent interview.

Tricoire is not alone. Most CEOs share this sentiment. You are either on board with digital or you are not. And, if you’re not, you are seen as out of step with the rest of the business, especially in the post-pandemic era.

According to a new McKinsey Global Survey of executives, COVID-19 acted as a digital accelerator, revving up internal and external digitization. Businesses accomplished in one year what would have normally taken three to seven.

Forward-thinking GCs are working to keep up with the enterprise’s rampant digital rhythm. Gartner data shows that law departments will increase their technology investments three fold by 2025. But, digital is about much more than adopting technology. It’s about thinking differently and applying a holistic set of capabilities to maximize customer experience.

Digital GCs don’t regard themselves as defenders of the business but as essential drivers of the corporate mission.

Like the law itself, the essence of digital is knowledge. GCs with a digital mindset are eager to understand how their choices about technology, people, and process impact the pace and profitability of the business.

Here’s what they are asking themselves:

  • Do we have the best resources committed to our work, at the best price?
  • Are we continuously improving delivery by driving efficiencies and creating value?
  • Are we getting competitive pricing, and making decisions based on performance data?
  • Are we operating strategically and broadly across the business?
  • Are we recognized by the business as active contributors to revenue generation?

Law firms link arms with law companies to help GCs deliver on their digital obligations.

What happens to GCs cascades down to law firms—and law firms are feeling the pressure. According to recent data from the Digital Legal Exchange, GCs are shifting more work in-house and turning in greater numbers to alternative legal service providers, who have advanced digital capabilities and offer more flexible pricing.

Law firms that don’t want to compete on price alone are finding a competitive edge in demonstrating to GCs they understand digital transformation. These law firms are uniting their deep domain expertise with the advanced analytics, process, and technology capabilities of law companies to provide a digital transformation support system for GCs.

Law firm teams with law company to meet enterprise’s AI needs and locks-in lucrative client relationship.

A law firm’s client wanted to significantly improve the availability and quality of data across all key business units to enable more data-driven decision-making and risk reduction. The client also wanted to avoid reinventing the wheel with respect to documents every time litigation arose and was looking to harness the power of AI to surface insights and boost win rates.

The law firm brought a law company to the table with the data management and AI capabilities to help the GC realize her vision. The digital advisory team included the law firm partner, who then had significantly greater insight into client challenges. Such insight led to a range of substantial opportunities over a multi-year period and involving several practice groups within the firm.

Law firm gains inside track on work coming down the pike by participating in the law firm consolidation process.

The CEO of a major financial institution recently said, “We are constantly consolidating law firms because there is so much overlap and inefficiency.” To be on the winning side of the consolidation trend, one law firm proactively joined forces with a law company, demonstrating a willingness to collaborate in the best interests of the client. The law firm benefited from having visibility of emerging matters and was able to propose higher value solutions for the client across multiple law firm practice areas.

Law firm matches deep domain expertise with law tech to generate significant enterprise

CEOs are increasingly pressing for greater value from their IP portfolio. The synergies between law firms and legal tech make them ideal partners for GCs in this quest. Law firms deliver the deep domain expertise necessary for the development of monetization strategies and legal tech brings the data analytics and engineering capabilities that determine decisions about what to prune and prop up in the portfolio. One partnership produced $1B in previously uncaptured revenue. Clearly, dramatic results are possible when you try to maximize a portfolio’s value.


Law firms that want to gain a competitive advantage are demonstrating to GCs they understand what they need to succeed with digital transformation. Law firms are positioning themselves as trusted digital advisors with access to the information and resources that empower GCs to meet the C-Suite’s digital expectations. In turn, by partnering with law companies that bring significant investment capital and deep digital capability, law firms gain insight into their clients they never thought possible, which makes them better strategic partners and key trusted advisors to the GC and senior in-house lawyers.

Dan Reed is the chief executive officer and founder of UnitedLex.

This story was published on Corporate Counsel. To read more, visit Law Firms Demonstrate Digital Savvy to Deepen Relationships With GCs by Daniel Reed.

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