Just as accountants gave rise to McKinsey, so can the right lawyers create competitive advantage for their clients.
Law schools do not teach anything about business, as opposed to business law. As a result, lawyers learn about business legal forms and contracts, but nothing about finance, marketing, corporate strategy, or anything else about actually running a business.
At the same time the legal environment is fundamental to the business of a company, but business schools generally teach very little about the law, and legal as a function in a company is mostly left out of the strategy development process.
Bring legal expertise into the strategy development process to create significant and unique competitive advantage.
These lawyers give high value, and value-creating, strategic advice about the direction of a business—they have transcended Richard Susskind’s metaphor of lawyers either building a fence at the top of a cliff, or delivering ambulance services at the bottom.
Lets say you are sitting in a strategy meeting at Apple, and you are considering options for the company’s next big strategic move. Sitting at the confluence of the telecoms, media, entertainment, and internet sectors, there are a lot of good ones to consider. Someone is give a report that recommends option 1 because it promises the largest long term revenue stream.
Seems to make sense, says the strategy lawyer, but look at option 2. Option 2 has a significantly smaller revenue stream, but because of its competition law implications… or intellectual property rules, or… the specific sector regulation regime, it has a good chance of locking out competitors or locking in further options for still further new product launches in yet another sector…. In the long run option 2 looks better because it further delays commoditization and creates better opportunities for further investment….