The Good, The Bad & The Daft at PM Forum Global Conference

They are here from London, Prague and New York. Marketers from Clifford Chance, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, DLA Piper Rudnick, Grant Thornton, Interface, Lexis, Pinsents and Wragges are convening now at the PM Forum 10th Annual Conference in London, "Developing Profitable Business."

Tim Nightingale of Ninsus Copnsulting in Middlesex blew away the crowd with tales from the front of business development in professional services.


1. A major accounting firm sponsored an art exhibition and dinner and invited executives of a major corporation. Unexpectedly, a woman showed up saying she was the wife of an attendee, who had showed up earlier with his girlfriend. The firm said "give us a minute to find him," the girlfriend was smuggled out, and the client was forever indebted to the firm (all morals aside).

2. A client presented its needs to the Pinsents law firm. The firm returned demonstrating they embraced the corporation's values, and would hold regular team meetings to update everyone concerned. The client retained them, and considered them part of the corporate team.

3. A solicitor (transactional lawyer) knew his client needed a fleet of 100 cars. He introduced them to another of his clients that was a car manufacturer.


1. A firm was doing a pitch at a big auto manufacturer, the kind of company where all employees were expected to drive cars made by the company. At the pitch, an executive asked a lawyer, "what do you know about our company?" The lawyer said, "not much beyond the fact that you make cars, but if we get the job, I'd like to know more." They didn't get the job.

2. The general counsel of a client calls her outside law firm to get a file. One of the attorneys on her matter asks here, "and what's your position with the company?"

3. A firm invited a client to a tennis match. Not only didn't the client like tennis, but the match was sponsored by a competitor, and the client could have been fired for attending the match.

4. A "Magic Circle" (ie, very large) law firm had been paid $1 million pounds to complete a major transaction. Afterwards the client invited the partner to attend the debriefing and review meeting. The partner declined to attend, but reminded the client to pay the firm's bill promptly.


1. A partner was hurriedly driving to his firm for a client meeting. In the parking lot, he almost ran down a woman. The partner stopped and gave her a tongue-lashing. As he entered his offices, he saw the women in the waiting room -- she was a representative from the client company.

2. Co-presenter Geoffrey Timms, the in-house counsel for a company called Legal & General, had just been pitched by a professional firm. He checked his email later and discovered he had been copied (erroneously) on a message from the professional firm saying "Timms is a tough nut to crack, but I believe I've succeeded in impressing him."

3. A client had been invited to a firm to talk about her company. At the end the client asked if there were any questions. Silence. The client asked again if there were any questions. Finally, a partner asked, "is that a new outfit you're wearing?"

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Jerome Shore - September 25, 2005 8:26 PM

Here's another daft one. A firm is pitching one of two firms that are the only competitors in their business. The firm has done all the background research on the prospect but during the pitch discovered they had researched the wrong firm. Amzaingly enough they recovered and still got the account.

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