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Law Firms Defining Themselves By Industry Groups

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December 11, 2017

Law firms have begun organizing by industry groups instead of practice areas, in an attempt to differentiate themselves from competitors in a buyer’s market for legal services. Winston & Strawn adopted the strategy two years ago, according to Managing Partner Tom Fitzgerald. The firm assigns attorneys to track developments that affect clients in financial services, energy, telecommunications, life sciences and consumer products. The strategy assumes that businesses in the same industry face similar legal challenges, and clients can benefit from a firm’s accumulated expertise. Twenty-seven percent of law firms have some sort of initiative for organizing around industry groups, says Michael Rynowecer, founder of BTI Consulting Group, who surveyed 160 law firm leaders in August and September. Five years ago, it was about 13 percent, he says.

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