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Winning business from a general counsel (for the long term)

Carol Osborne and Chris Emerson discuss the key components in building relationships and securing instructions from a general counsel

11 July 2016

All lawyers want to establish an enduring relationship with a client - one that generates repeat instructions over time. The 'one-off' engagement may have some real value (that one big case or that one big transaction), but gaining multiple instructions over a decade is a much more satisfying outcome. In our view, there are two key components in securing instructions from the general counsel (or other head of legal services): a complete alignment of our experience and skills with the specific work required, and a commitment to partnership with the client on the pricing and active management of the legal services we are providing. These are not complicated concepts, but they are often forgotten.

The first component can be restated as a simple rule: don't bluff. The general counsel knows their business, and if you don't, that will become apparent in the first five minutes of any pitch meeting. But the concept of ali...

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