New Legislation and Court Judgments: When Do You Create a New Service Line? As published in Best Lawyers Winter Business Edition 2016

Law firms are quick to post on websites regarding recently passed regulations or court decisions, but they rarely assess whether the situation warrants the creation of a new service line. In order to fully support clients while also strategically growing their law firms, leadership should be prepared to create offerings pursuant to market demands. The following criteria helps determine the viability of a new product:


  • Will the new regulation or court finding place your client in jeopardy?
    If clients are operating in noncompliance of legislation or are in immediate danger of becoming a defendant in a lawsuit, great lawyers will quickly devise an issue/impact statement illustrating how a quick response or proactive audit will mitigate risk and set in motion protective measures.
  • Will the new situation impede on your clients’ business imperatives?
    Perhaps your client is not in violation of recent regulations, but you are aware the new ruling may hinder specific goals the client is trying to achieve. Smart lawyers will create compliant alternatives and will help the client navigate the path to success.
  • Does the new challenge have a significant life cycle?
    The problem should be critical enough to not only concern existing clients but also include ramifications that could open doors to new customers. A savvy firm will spend money on research, development, and marketing when it is clear that responding will be profitable in the long term.
  • Does your firm have existing expertise to handle the new challenge?
    If the change in law is sweeping, a strategic firm will conduct a profit analysis and swiftly bring on laterals to meet market demands. This type of growth can prevent competitors from taking slices of work from existing clients, which would leave the firm vulnerable to loss.

Brenda Pontiff, managing principal of Partner Track Academy, provides coaching to associates in Big Law. She also re-engineers professional services marketing departments with a focus on increasing the sophistication of staff to support business development and client retention. Follow her on Twitter @PartnerTrackA.