When faced with the crisis, law firms have to demonstrate their added value by showing the effect it has on clients´ balance sheets
Las empresas estan cubriendo sus necesidades internamente y evitan externalizar servicios legales por la presión presupuestaria que tienen, afirma Ignacio Legido, de BDO. Para sobrevivir a la crisis, los despachos deben operar con la misma visión comercial que sus clientes.
Despite the crisis, billing and client numbers have increased at BDO in Madrid more so than anywhere else in Spain, says Ignacio Legido, Managing Partner at BDO Abogados in Madrid, where the office now services around 50 percent of BDO´s Spanish client base. But it is not all good news. “The market is depleting,” says Legido, “as businesses are doing more in-house, thinking much harder before externalising and really negotiating prices with their external law firms”.
In Madrid, medium to large businesses are looking for alternatives to the traditional law firm, says Legido. While four years ago, BDO was at the forefront of bundling legal, tax and financial advice, others have followed suit. “Clients are looking for legal, tax and financial advice all from one provider, and the legal market is having to adapt,“ says Legido. “The big firms will likely reduce their size and convert into big boutiques, while small firms will become extremely specialised.”
The market itself is also obliging law firms to get even closer to their clients and offer additional services, says Legido, for example, BDO is providing free-of-charge in-house training to clients on recent legislative reforms. “Anglo-Saxon firms have already done this and some Spanish firms, like us, are doing the same – it is the road that firms are taking when faced with the crisis.”
For BDO, the coming months will continue to focus on growth and their policy of getting as close to in-house legal departments as possible to understand the needs and the direction of the business. “We have seen the results that this approach and our services have had on businesses’ revenues,” says Legido, “and to survive this crisis, law firms need to operate at the same commercial level as their clients and show the effect of their services on clients´ balance sheets”.