DLA Piper puts clients at centre of new three-year strategy

DLA Piper has set out a global framework for new client instructions as the firm prepares for a comprehensive review of its client base as part of its latest strategic plan.

All partners were given details of the framework last month as part of a bid to create a cohesive approach to client wins and conflict management.

New clients will have to commit to a minimum annual legal spend with the firm, understood to be around €25,000 (£21,000) in the first year of instruction for clients of DLA Piper International where there is no potential conflict and €100,000 (£86,000) for those where there could be a conflict.

The firm’s US arm is thought likely to implement a minimum billing threshold of $200,000 (£126,000) for all new clients.

In addition, new instructions will need approval from a regional managing partner or a practice and sector head.

It is hoped the move, which is part of DLA Piper’s 2011-14 strategic plan, will help reduce conflicts where the firm has been prevented from taking on large instructions after previously accepting smaller mandates.

The firm will also assess all existing clients over the next three years to ascertain which companies it should target for more work and which it should consider dropping.

European managing partner Andrew Darwin said: “Our client base is a product of our history so we are looking at it in a more thought-out way to reflect where the firm is positioned now. We want a more structured process to taking on new clients and are reviewing our existing client base to be able to act where we can take advantage of our multijurisdictional full-service offering. However, our strong local client base also remains paramount to us.”

Key priorities include bulking up in Asia as well as European jurisdictions such as Germany and London and expanding the corporate and finance practices.