Growth depends on business development. In addition to bringing in new clients, the retention of existing clients is an important aspect of the growth of a law firm. Firms continually strive to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace. It is a given that law firms strive to provide excellent client service. Law firms are also looking at competitors’ services, pricing, and position in the marketplace.

Clients are looking at firms for the services they need in a particular area and no longer follow the one-stop shopping model. It is important for partners to stay in touch with existing clients and reach out to potential clients. Relationships are critical to continual business development.

To understand a clients’ strategic goals, firms can put into place a formal plan to monitor and track developments and issues. Staying up-to-date on an existing client’s needs as well as prepping for a meeting with a new client involve tracking client industry trends and market scans. Investing in resources to follow news stories, litigation alerts, legislation monitoring, and economic growth patterns are important.

Some law firms are subscribing to databases that assist with monitoring and creating alerts such as Courtlink and BNA Convergence. Other tools allow a firm to use analytics such as Lex Machina and Monitor Suite. According to an article by Dan Steiner, Data Analytics and Your Law Firm, investing in legal analytics can make a big difference in a firm’s success rates.

While databases are important, the true value comes from business development professionals and research specialists compiling, synthesizing, and packaging information which will provide talking points and direction for future growth opportunities.