In a market as competitive as ours, law firms and their ambassadors know to be prepared for the inevitable question: “What makes your firm special or different?” Regardless of firm size, footprint or practice, most responses follow a predictable path: “It’s our people; they’re our biggest asset.” Yet, answering the question and living it are two different things. The statement itself is all-encompassing, but often leans in favor of lawyers, or those that generate revenue, and rarely includes those on the business services side of the firm or support staff.

Typically, “talent” most often references lawyers. Firms contemplate hiring from prestigious schools, offering compensation and benefits that match peer firms, and providing regular training and development opportunities. In most cases, that same level of investment does not apply to the people behind the scenes who indirectly assist in revenue generation. Even more rare is the law firm that correlates the work of that talent to actual business performance. This oversight is a glaring one, particularly at a time when adaptation is more critical than ever. Firms are trying to squeeze more money, innovation and competitive advantage out of every corner of their organizations except for, perhaps, the single most promising one: their business services professionals.

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