Law firms that cut corners on content risk losing business, GC survey finds

Almost half of US and UK GCs won’t use firms that don’t keep them updated on legal developments, according to a Passle study

A majority of GCs consume relevant content via their law firms' websites Shutterstock

Law firms that fail to keep their clients updated on changes to the legal landscape risk losing their business, according to a survey of general counsel in the UK and the US.

The study – conducted by content marketing platform Passle – found that almost half of GCs (48%) would ditch firms that do not keep them informed of relevant legal developments, with 61% of GCs preferring to work with law firms that proactively update them as the legal landscape changes. The survey showed that GCs not only want to be kept informed of those changes, but that they expect law firms to provide insights into what those changes will mean for them.

That is increasingly important given that roughly 90% of GCs say they spend at least five hours a week trying to keep themselves up to date, mostly in their spare time. It is an area where firms are falling short – more than 90% of GCs said legal providers could do better at providing content, adding that it is law firms’ responsibility to do this.

Conner Kinnear, chief marketing officer at Passle, says there are hundreds of thousands of potential clients who may be dismissing firms, even without firms knowing it, simply because they do not have an effective content strategy in place.

He said: “What’s clear is that time-poor general counsel now expect a lot more from the lawyers they employ and are much more likely to want to work with firms that can keep them informed in a way that is both sufficiently detailed but quick and easy to digest.”

Some three-quarters of GCs say their law firm’s website is their main source of information related to legal updates and other relevant content, with just over half (52%) saying they review their firm’s website at least once a week.

GCs say having access to fresh content helps them identify potential business opportunities and keep up to date with case law as well as other market trends and issues.

Adam Wardel, GC and chief people officer at US tech provider nClouds, told Passle: “People in our position are engaged with more than just legal – we deal with HR issues, acquisitions, compliance and more. We’re busy and we want law firms that can tell us the critical information in a concise way.

“Firms need to stop thinking about GCs and CLOs as lawyers and instead approach us as legally-minded business owners, but many just aren’t there yet.”

Passle surveyed 100 GCs at large companies in the UK and the US in sectors including healthcare, financial services, technology and the public sector.

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