Collaboration between attorneys increases exponentially the overall profitability of the firm.
Cross-selling is the trendy word in the market. It basically means to try to sell your clients other departments of your firm. This is indeed good for the firm because you get more people working.
But is this truly collaborating? No it is not. This is just adding work on top of existing work, which will probably demand discounts from the client, so it is not that profitable.
True collaboration means building a relationship within all the lawyers working of the clients in order to achieve solutions to larger more complex problems of the client. Those that keep the clients awake at night.
Law firms are like a music band. Musicians can sounds great alone, but when the band collaborates, emotions take over and they can become greater than themselves.
However, how are attorneys going to focus on collaboration if they have billable hour objectives? How are they going to give away work if under the current structure of firms, doing the most hours is highly rewarded.
Lawyers are supposed to be focused on helping their clients in their business, and collaboration achieves just that. But there needs to be a special change in the retribution focus of the firms (it always comes to that) in order to allow attorneys to truly focus on collaboration and problem-solving.