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January 11, 2016

Due diligence and market research post-recession and the threat of missed opportunity.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on.

The New Year is firmly upon us and, with it, the symbiotic conveyor belts of risk and opportunity again whirr into life and move, ever relentlessly, forward. To paraphrase/butcher the words of Omar Khayyám (see top and foot of document), there are no second chances at a first attempt… so the pressure is on!

Back in 2010 the moments of real ‘buzz’ in the Due Diligence research team at Edward Drummond often came about through establishing that a particular client was very likely to follow a potential lateral hire should they move firms or, perhaps even more so, that they categorically would not; ‘we have saved our client a fortune today’ was probably then the most satisfying feeling to go home with. In 2015, when we uncovered BD opportunities for a potential hire not considered in the initial Business Plan, created a clearer view of integration requirements or identified a gap or change in the market which our client could exploit, we went home saying ‘this information will really help our client to grow and to out-compete others’; a different, but equally warm, feeling.

The observations above are reflective of the changing nature of our clients’ focus over the last 6 years and the fact that, through our Due Diligence and broader Market Research work, we have seen the dial of legal practices gradually move further away from risk and more towards opportunity. Where in 2010 the often almost sole focus of a DD report was ‘could this Partner bring a bankable following?’, now our clients are often more interested in the personal and professional characteristics of a given lateral – ‘We know the market is there, we need to understand who has the right personality and relationship capital to potentially work with us to exploit it… and, assuming they do, can you generate information regarding the best way to go about approaching the market together’.

The Due Diligence provision in our business was forged through client led necessity; in the heat of a recession where risk needed to be managed as tightly as possible and firms simply could not afford to get it wrong. This appreciation for and focus on risk will always underpin our value to clients, but the genesis of our research business from that point (across not only Due Diligence but also Benchmarking Exercises, Market Mapping, Feasibility Studies, Competitor Analysis etc..) sees us ever more closely allied with our clients in focusing on data driven opportunity identification – As one Sector Head of a Silver Circle firm recently commented at an 6 monthly review of ED services ‘It’s not really a question of ‘we mustn’t get it wrong’ anymore, in a growing market it’s more a question of one of ‘we need to get it right faster than the competition’… in reality that’s where we see the most value from your reports’.

At ED Consulting we do two things well:

1) Research and understand markets from a structural perspective.

2) Speak to senior people in a credible way to understand the flow of relationship capital which acts across and within these structures.

Generate and Interpret Data. Minimise risk. Maximise Opportunity. We aim to provide our clients with the information they need to minimise risk, and realise opportunity, across senior level hiring initiatives and broader business growth/development projects

2015 saw ED Consulting continue to work across the globe, privileged to count some of the world’s leading legal practices as our clients, delighted to be involved in significant lateral hires and fascinating market research projects. We work with you to generate information to help get it right, first time. 2016 is The Year of Opportunity, let’s make the most of it…

“…nor all thy Piety nor Wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line”

Gareth Ward
Partner
Edward Drummond & Co
g.ward@edwarddrummond.com

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