The Benefits to the Firm
For a firm, the financial benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration are unambiguous. Simply put, the more disciplines that are involved in a client engagement, the greater the annual average revenue the client generates, my research shows. That’s in part because cross-specialty work is likely to be less subject to price-based competition. Whereas clients view an engagement involving single-specialty expertise (about a basic tax issue, for instance) as a commodity that can be awarded to the lowest bidder, they know that cross-specialty work is complex and harder. As additional practice groups serve a client, the firm can bill a higher amount, and each group earns more, on average. This suggests that the practice groups are collaborating to create additional value, not merely cross-selling discrete services. My research at one global law firm showed rising revenue per client even as five, six, and seven disciplines became involved.