Client Interviews with Managing Partners only Scratch the Surface

With your competitors out interviewing wide swaths of their clients, firms who stick solely to Managing Partner interviews are missing out on a catalyst for firm-wide change.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/koatZ1Odmvs

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

The Most Underrated Trends in Legal Marketing

The best opportunity for growth lies in getting more business with existing clients. The typical law firm can triple the amount of business they get from a single top client. Yet, this is the least appreciated approach to the market.

Client Development Is Used So Little and Offers So Much

The single biggest underrated trend in legal marketing today is client development—by a factor of more than 2. This dovetails with the large number of CMOs who see broad market outreach as overrated and who want to be more focused in their approach. Client development includes the following key tactics:

  • Systematic objective client feedback
  • Client teams and team activities backed by a budget
  • Developing client-specific CLEs and tools
  • Training clients in key issues
  • Training the client team in client preferences and business issues
  • In-person client visits

These may be viewed as underrated because the best-performing firms (from a revenue and profits standpoint) are using these tactics with great success. But, they are generally flying under the radar at most firms. You can start your client development initiative by finding the partners who believe—every firm has them—and build on your success.

Social Media—Love It or Hate It

Social media is the most polarizing of the trends. 13.1% of CMOs see social media as an underrated trend versus 21% who see it as overrated.

Wondering who is right? Start following the attorneys who blog, tweet, or post videos on a regular and systematic basis—at least weekly. Then watch for those attorneys who are thematic and have a story to tell. If the social media outreach continues over time, then you can be sure some kind of high-quality lead flow is behind it. Social media is too much work for no results.

Many legal marketers (and attorneys) have high expectations for their social media outreach—with more than one CMO expecting overnight success. The instant nature of social media defies the amount of time and effort success actually demands. Those who say social media is underrated have built the infrastructure to support the social media efforts and developed the ecosystem to bring in big-time results—including new clients they didn’t expect to get.

Ultimately, we think a small number of law firms and attorneys will get big results from social media. These social media winners will carve out a differentiated brand, a following, and the most attractive clients—because the best clients make it their business to know who the legal thought leaders are—and want to do business with them.

Where the Most Underrated Trend Is Internally Focused

22% of law firm marketing leaders believe bringing work process redesign to their departments is bringing vastly unrecognized rewards. CMOs have too much work and too many deadlines. With processes in place they are able to unlock new levels of productivity. This, in turn, makes their work life happier and they’re able to find more time to devote to higher-level activities. They are using the time to help practices with their strategies and other client-facing initiatives.

These internal work processes include embracing proposal automation, content management (especially for rankings and directories), embedding experience databases in proposal development tools, and more. Not every firm is willing to invest, but the investors can feel the boost.

Is the Sun Setting on Broad Market Outreach?

CMOs don’t want to rely on broad market outreach as their driving force. They clearly want to focus on clients—and specific clients. This includes strategic account programs, client teams, and industry teams. These tactics include strategic prospecting and much more strategic use of content than is in the market today. And finally, it is hard to see success without social media playing a role.

BTI has been helping firms inside and outside of law develop and implement client-centric programs for 27 years. I welcome the opportunity to help you move the over/under to a winning bet. You can reach me directly at mrynowecer@bticonsulting.com to discuss options for your firm. 

MBR

*This research is based on interviews with more than 180 law firm marketing leaders conducted over the last 12 months.

Post-Matter Follow-Up Plan—Phase 1: BTI's Client Relationship Lab

Business development with your current clients isn't something that only happens when a new matter is on the horizon. Successful business development starts immediately after your current matter closes.

In this month's BTI Client Relationship Lab we share the first part of a 3-phase plan for continuing post-matter follow up with your client, including a detailed agenda to drive your conversation.

You can view the video by clicking the image below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/GuaGo8pncNo

With this series we’ll be taking an in-depth look at a wide range of client relationship best practices. We’ll be releasing Client Relationship Lab webisodes on our blog every month—subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

Surprise: Directories Not the Most Overrated Marketing Tactic

Who knew?

Common wisdom would tell you the annual holiday card and rankings are the bane of a CMO’s existence. Not true. It turns out broad market outreach is the single most overrated and underperforming trend in marketing today. Our research with law firm marketing leaders shows broad market outreach must be especially unproductive as they see this as more overrated than rankings, which come in 2nd, with social media coming in 3rd. Here’s why:

1. Broad Market Outreach

Shouting out to a wide range of potential clients is tiring and deceptively expensive; yet, it’s 43% of the legal marketing budget. CMOs will tell you it has to be done because partners demand it (and it is easy to confuse having a large crowd on a webinar with marketing success). CMOs know this is not success—it is the tip of the iceberg in the work required to actually attract a new, meaningful client.

But let’s not pick on webinars solely. Broad market outreach includes brochures, sponsorships, monographs, and email alerts. If it’s nonspecific outreach it’s in here.

CMOs who have managed to limit their broad market outreach do so in small steps. They’ve found ways to convert practice leaders and partners to their way of thinking—one at time. These law firm marketing leaders keep detailed records on outreach bringing in clients versus outreach generating attendance. They then argue the partner is better off with clients than attendance. It may be a slow approach—but this is the long game which will win. And, once you persuade one partner to convert broad outreach to something more targeted, your 2nd conversion will be less difficult—and the 3rd will be less difficult yet.

2. The Biggest Surprise: Rankings Are Only the 2nd Most Overrated Trend

Rankings will haunt CMOs for their whole career because of the level of preparation required. Partners like to send the listings to clients to help branding. Firm leadership use rankings to show attorneys where they stand and how things may have changed. Attorneys especially relish having rankings in their bios and for proposals—the winners see them as one more point of differentiation.

Rankings can make certain clients feel better about hiring your firm or an attorney; however, rankings will rarely drive the hiring process. A number of clients may check attorney bios after they have made the hiring decision and feel a bit better when they see some sort of distinction. Rankings will increase a client’s confidence before they get to know you, and will also confirm they’re smart once you have the relationship.

3. Social Media

21% of CMOs can’t see a way to break through the clutter of content flying through the legal ether. These CMOs don’t believe clients pay attention to social media. They also don’t believe their attorneys have the discipline to implement the kind of systematic program which can break through the clutter in a meaningful way.

Social media is still the Wild West for attorneys and corporate counsel alike. We also see more small firms embracing social media as a way to gain a big voice.

Overrated Trends Point to New Thinking

These overrated activities reveal new insight into CMO thinking. Law firm marketers are looking for ways to up their game—including finding places with better odds of generating business. A number of CMOs tell us the primary reason these activities are overrated is they play too big a role in their marketing mix. They want to move their firms to embrace more effective, innovative approaches to developing clients and marketing the firm.

On the other side of the coin, law firm marketing leaders share their underrated trends—strategies which don’t get enough airplay but deliver better returns. We will discuss these next week—stay tuned or subscribe now.

MBR

*This research is based on interviews with more than 180 law firm marketing leaders conducted over the last 12 months.

 

Winning the AFA Game

Learn the 6 steps law firms take to win the AFA game in this week's Mad Clientist Minute.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/NO5cIfWOsV4

You can view the first video in our AFA series—Spending Under AFAs Soars, Are Your Clients Using Them?—here: https://youtu.be/-fTAcgjdMjw

And the second video—The Benefits of AFAs for Bet-the-Company Work—here: https://youtu.be/5iDtaRm_lTc

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

CLOs to Law Firms: Fix Your Client Service or We’re Leaving

A top legal officer at a Fortune 50 company shared the following with me during a feedback interview:

“I called my law firm, the one I have spent the most money with for years, with a cybersecurity question. My partner told me the firm had just issued an email alert on the topic. Frankly, I expected an offer to meet with the former top government official the firm brought into the practice—which was not forthcoming.”

“This just took the wind right out of my sails,” she went on. “I ended up asking my partner to arrange for a meeting with the new lateral partner but was so disappointed my partner didn’t offer it up. He just wasn’t thinking in a personal way. In my view, he took the lazy route. I was completely unnerved because if this is the attitude he has in my litigation, I am in deep trouble.”

Clients Want to Believe You Will Deliver

Clients turn to their law firms for help. Not just any law firm—but their primary and major law firms—the ones who have the most to gain and the most invested in the relationship. The client service opportunity is there for a primary law firm to lose. And lose they do.

Top legal officers only recommended 32.7% of their primary law firms to a peer in an unprompted manner in 2016, down from 40.1% the year before.* The biggest reason for the drop is their law firms’ inability to, or in some cases a decision not to, help with the new and pressing issues. To be fair, no law firm actually says “I’m not interested in helping you.” But their behavior does.

The challenge in earning your clients’ unprompted recommendation to a peer lies in anticipating needs, educating clients, and acting before clients ask. This is not limited to the big, rock-my-world issues. Clients wonder why their top law firms don’t offer up a budget before being asked, share staffing plans, or offer to introduce new high‑profile laterals. Clients especially wonder why they weren’t offered a customized CLE session like their peer got from their law firm.

Most law firms don’t approach clients to discuss the new complex matters dominating clients’ thoughts. These firms are passively screaming they don’t care—at least not as much as one of the 36 other law firms with whom your clients work.

The solution to these passive behaviors is to engage with clients and think at least 3 steps ahead. Ask your clients what concerns them and when clients ask questions, think of the most forward-looking response.

Regaining the Client Service Upper Hand

A BTI client learned through client feedback they were viewed as one of the passive firms above. This firm took a group of senior partners and asked them to list all major client inquiries and questions for the next 4 months. After the time was up, the group reviewed the client questions and suggested responses and actions which they thought would exceed client expectations. Interestingly, all the partners could suggest vast improvements on the other partners’ responses. So, they knew what to do but could not apply it to their own behaviors. The answer lies in training ourselves to always improve and ask: How can I make my action/response/suggestion/interaction better? Better than all others.

MBR

*Based on in-depth BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2016 and August 2016. BTI conducted more than 330 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations, as well as 200 interviews with law firm leaders.

The Benefits of AFAs for Bet-the-Company Work

Companies with Bet-the-Company work are searching for ways to deal with these matters while not getting any additional budget for them. See how introducing AFAs to your clients can save them money to help cover the Bet-the-Company matters.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/5iDtaRm_lTc

You can also view the first video in our AFA series—Spending Under AFAs Soars, Are Your Clients Using Them?—here: https://youtu.be/-fTAcgjdMjw

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

Why New Work Goes to Other Law Firms and Not to You

BTI Average Number of Law Firms Used 2017.png

CLOs, and their in-house teams, now work with 37 law firms in total—down from 42 in 2015*. This is the 3rd smallest law firm roster clients have used in 16 years. Not only have clients cut 5 firms entirely, they have also replaced another 3.

This is a stark reminder of how competitive life is at large clients. You face at least 26 potential competitors—if not more—at virtually every single client. In the middle market with smaller clients, BTI research shows these decision makers using 9 law firms on their roster—down from 12 firms a short 2 years ago.

Every time you interact with your client—whether you deliver a document, answer a question, return a call—your client compares what you do to one of these other firms. Competition—and the client service separating one law firm from another—does not hit harder than this.

Clients Auditioning New Law Firms

This pattern where clients are replacing firms can only mean one thing: clients are auditioning new law firms for substantive work. This alone is a warning to all law firms—your client has someone in the wings who may just be your understudy.

Clients are making these changes because they are not getting what they want from their current law firms. In some cases clients’ needs change. For example—bet-the-company work has quadrupled over the last 3 years, clients are experiencing bigger class actions, and labor and employment keep growing—not to mention the surge in cybersecurity. Any firm who fails to educate clients about how they can help with these new matters is not considered for the new work—as the most aggressive firms are educating clients before a need arises.

Law firms are often blindsided by client changes in their law firm rosters. Most firms neither conduct client feedback nor track the billing trends. In addition, the “one and done” attitude among lawyers is so pervasive they think it is normal for work to tail off—despite client’s annual budgets ranging from $10 million to hundreds of millions of dollars.

You have 2 strategic options: give up or make this a business development opportunity. Ask clients their goals in reducing their law firm ranks (hint: the most likely answer is the search for more value and the cumbersome nature of managing many law firms), which needs they are trying to meet, and what the underlying factors are making your clients go through all this work.

You can suggest strategies for parceling out the work, organizing client dockets in key practice areas, and offer new ways to group together services. Using clients’ cuts in outside counsel management to develop more business plays right into your client’s hand—they want value, you want their business. 

MBR

*Based on in-depth BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2016 and August 2016. BTI conducted more than 330 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations, as well as 200 interviews with law firm leaders.

Spending Under AFAs Soars, Are Your Clients Using Them?

Clients, by and large, don't want to put the effort into understanding your AFAs, yet spending on AFAs is soaring. See what makes the biggest difference in client's use of AFAs.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/-fTAcgjdMjw

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

The Law Firms Best at Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and data privacy is the fastest growing segment of outside counsel spending. It is also the biggest issue keeping clients awake at night. Clients are placing heavy focus on forward-looking, as well as current, cybersecurity issues.

Law firms have been jockeying for position as the market has developed over the last 5 years. And now, clients see a group emerging as the best.

Leading cybersecurity law firms are proactively taking a ground-up approach. They are starting with hosting client-specific briefings educating clients on the business implications and risks—and then focusing on the legal details. Still other firms are finding their ways to Boards to help them understand their risk and exposure.

The firms with the best understanding of the client, and who communicate cybersecurity risk in business terms, win the work for the counselling—and this is the opening for the rest of the cybersecurity-related work.

Please join us in congratulating the following law firms clients identify as leading the charge in cybersecurity:

Best at Cybersecurity:

Baker McKenzie
Dentons
DLA Piper
Gibson Dunn
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins
Skadden

Cybersecurity Leaders:

BakerHostetler
Cleary Gottlieb
Cooley
Covington
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Dechert
Eversheds Sutherland
Fried Frank
Greenberg Traurig
Hogan Lovells
Hunton & Williams
K&L Gates
Kirkland & Ellis
Locke Lord
McGuireWoods
Paul Hastings
Polsinelli
Reed Smith
Sidley
Sullivan & Cromwell
Weil
White & Case

You can learn more about the law firms corporate counsel name as best in cybersecurity, including the 56 law firms named to the Honor Roll of Cybersecurity Firms—as well as what clients are looking for from their law firms—in our new, complimentary report: BTI Law Firms Best at Cybersecurity 2017: Corporate Counsel Rank the Law Firms Leading the Charge on Change.

Informal vs. Formal Client Communication: BTI Client Relationship Lab

Formal communications MAINTAIN relationships. Informal communications GROW relationships. Not only are the best relationships we have with clients heavily weighted in informal communications, these informal discussions are gateways to new work.  

In this month's BTI Client Relationship Lab we share a case study of successful informal communication, as well as the number one reason clients switch law firms.

You can view the video by clicking the image below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/do4BYox-dPs

With this series we’ll be taking an in-depth look at a wide range of client relationship best practices. We’ll be releasing Client Relationship Lab webisodes on our blog every month—subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

Forget Herding Cats, You Need to Herd Bats

Herding cats is way too easy to describe the challenge of leading a law firm. In fact it is downright deceptive. Cats operate in 2 dimensions. Bats operate in 3—they fly.

Bats travel and feed in colonies. The fly together and rely on echolocation to navigate and get where they want to go. Echolocation relies on each bat sending out chirps and receiving the echo of the chirp back. Multiple bats sending out chirps can play havoc with another bat’s navigation—sending it crashing into a wall, towards a predator, or away from its food source. Law firms whose attorneys get their signals crossed as to direction, expected behavior, or goals can suffer the same fate.

Bats have figured out they can fly in large swarms together by listening to other bats’ chirps. Almost all bats in the colony learned they can listen to the leader’s chirps to get them where they want to go. Most of the bats rely on listening to meet their basic needs.

Clearly, it is in the bat’s vital interests to listen to the leader. The bats who don’t listen end up getting lost—or worse. But the leader helps by sending a reliable and easily understood message. The bats understand they can fly farther and faster and find more food by listening more and chirping less.

Initially, the bats will all chirp as they leave their cave, but the chirps quickly die down as the leaders guide the others.

You can harness the power of your attorneys using the same approach. Gather all the meaningful input you can as you start to develop your plan or journey. Give everyone a chance to chirp and get some level of grounding as to where they are headed. Then, quickly step in and start to communicate your message: where the group is headed, what the benefits are, and how the group is getting there. Repeat this message clearly way more times than you think you need to.

A lead bat will chirp 160 to 200 times a second—this may be overkill in a law firm, but, herding bats will lead to a far more successful firm than continuing to try to herd unherdable cats. 

MBR

Attracting the Best Clients: Must-Have Content

The best clients love original content they can't get anywhere else. This week, The Mad Clientist recommends tactics to help your firm create key content to attract marquee-level clients.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/vVCj250aiv8

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

4 Reasons Clients Are Shelling Out for Law Firms in 2017

The $12 Billion, 10-year trend is about to reverse.

After 10 years of bringing $12 Billion worth of work in-house—top legal decision makers are applying the brakes. BTI research reveals a substantial drop in corporate counsel hiring in-house attorneys. Only 7.7% of General Counsel want to add in-house attorneys to their staffs, down from 23.0% last year.* All because client needs are changing. Right now, today, as you read this. Here is why and what it means for you:

1. More diverse needs

Corporate counsel’s needs are becoming more diverse. Top legal decision makers are preparing for a host of new legal challenges. Clients see growth in such diverse areas as tax, product liability, class action, supply chain, labor and employment, middle market M&A, cybersecurity, and more. Top legal officers know they can’t possibly staff up to cover all these areas. They would rather look to their law firms to find the right attorneys at the right time.

2. Surge in more complex work

The number of companies reporting they face bet-the-company work quadrupled over the last 3 years. This means clients need more attorneys than they have in-house. Clients know they can rely on law firms to mobilize the resources needed to assess these matters quickly, and field a large enough team of high-performing attorneys on a moment’s notice. So, this work goes to law firms.

3. Corporate legal departments are big enough

The typical corporate legal department has grown 33% over the last 5 years by attorney headcount. The departments are now at the point where they are hitting the existing infrastructure limits. Any additions to the in-house attorney ranks will require additions to permanent support staff and related infrastructure—something corporations are loath to take on.

4. Attorneys moving back to law firms

In a more subtle trend, top legal officers are finding it harder to recruit talent out of law firms. In addition, law firm demand for partners who bring experience as a corporate counsel is increasing. Top legal officers no longer have their pick of the litter in pulling partners out of law firms. Both clients and law firms see the value in partners who have walked in corporate counsel shoes—and both are competing for talent. In-house counsel can more easily accept they will access this talent through outside law firms instead of their own staff.

Clients’ overarching needs don’t change every day. But, they do change every 18 to 24 months—like clockwork. The law firms who really want the business will be in dialogue with their clients about their plans for the year, will have in-depth and pointed client feedback, will be planning for the next year with their clients, and hopefully have helped on-board clients’ attorneys over the last 3 years.

You will have used your client feedback and planning sessions to link the right partners with the right need before clients ever ask for help. The only way to make sure your firm gets the business no longer going in-house is to guide your clients on how to solve their problems—while teaching them along the way.

You may not see an opportunity like this for another 2 years. Why wait until you have to steal the business from someone else when you can anticipate needs before other law firms—who lack feedback and insights—figure out what is going on. 

MBR

*Based on in-depth BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2016 and August 2016. BTI conducted more than 330 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations, as well as 200 interviews with law firm leaders.

Change Your Client Relationships with New Matter Triage

Clients are seeing more new, complex matters than they have in the last 5 years. Learn how firms are using new matter triage to earn this new, complex work and change their client relationships.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/YEb6hfGVxNU

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

Half of CMOs on Road to Burnout

In some ways it’s a CMO’s dream—demand exceeds marketing supply. CMOs face a record level of RFPs and now carefully orchestrate between 50 and 500 directory submissions or more—all coming due at the same time. This alone can absorb major capacity—before adding in all the daily tasks of running the department, mentoring, partner requests, events, webinars, sponsorships, web updates, PR, client teams, a string of special projects, strategic initiatives—and life. The CMO cup runneth over.

Unfortunately, the surging demand is taking CMO attention far, far away from ROI. More than 3 times as many CMOs (48%) worry more about getting their work done than showing ROI (14.9%).* Whenever the need to complete daily work exceeds all other priorities—you have all the makings of burnout.

CMO Workload Stunting Growth Too

Another 23% of CMOs also see resource constraints as the 2nd largest obstacle to law firm growth. CMOs have no time for the strategic and proven drivers behind revenue growth (think partner support, client feedback, client teams, industry programs, content marketing)—these law firm marketing leaders are too busy trying to get through the day without dropping any balls.

The Urgent Drains the Strategic

Thought-provoking strategic work provides the fuel to make dealing with the urgent easy. Take away the fuel and all of a sudden you are running on empty. The best CMOs thrive on the energy of making an impact. Focusing on the urgency created by lack of resources sucks the positive energy out of the most enthusiastic person—and leaves them with only a large, laborious to-do list.

Beyond Grousing

C-Level executives never have enough resources—typically, no more than 11% to 15% see this as an obstacle—it’s more a way of life they work around. But, law firms are facing almost half of their CMOs telling them resource constraints are hurting the business—3 times the number you would expect.

Law Firms Facing a Tough Decision

We know law firms spend substantially less on marketing and business development than other professions. Law firms are facing a decision point: the law firms who start adding high-caliber resources can and will develop an advantage over those who don’t.

CMOs will have to take a break from the urgent to develop a strategic pitch for more resources. These CMOs can learn from the top legal marketers who have earned trusted advisor status.

The firms who don’t feed the marketing and business development beast risk falling behind the 52% of law firms who don’t see themselves as resource constrained—and also run the risk of burning out their CMOs.

MBR

*Based on in-depth interviews BTI conducted with more than 150 law firm marketing leaders between June 2016 and September 2016.

How Clients Define Innovation

Clients define innovation by the most advanced technology, right? This week The Mad Clientist shares insights on what kinds of innovation clients are really looking for from their law firms.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/64tY27wYZN4

We’ll be releasing videos here on The Mad Clientist blog every Tuesday. Subscribe today (in the box at the upper right of your screen) and be sure you don't miss a single one.

Innovation Runs Rampant in the Legal World

Innovation is rampant. Top legal decision makers recognize a whopping 40% increase in the number of innovative law firms over last year. This translates into 200 law firms—of the 650 who compete for business from Fortune 1000 and large companies—standing out in a noticeable way, up from 143 last year.

Clients are resetting their expectations and perceptions of innovation as they continue to see more innovative thinking from their law firms. But, 9 firms stand out with the most impressive and impactful innovation. 4 of these firms—Jones Day, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, and Skadden—repeat their Best of the Best performances from last year, while the other 5 are newly recognized.

You’ll find the top Innovators—this year's Movers & Shakers—from the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 at the bottom of this post.

And, don’t miss out on the significant changes in the other 8 branding factors clients rely on to separate one law firm from another, make hiring decisions, and pick and choose who they ultimately work with—and who they don’t:

Big Growth in Firms Making Big Changes to Boost Client Service

Number of Law Firms Worth Premium Rates Continues to Climb

Clients Name More Tech-Savvy Law Firms in 2017

Clients See Fewer Bet-the-Company Law Firms as This Work Surges

Many More Law Firms Delivering More Value

Clients Name the Long Term Law Firm Survivors

Clients Keep Shrinking Their Law Firm Short Lists

A Downward Trend in Law Firms Earning Client Recommendations

Please join us in congratulating the below world-class innovators in the legal world.

The law firms climbing to the top of the Mover & Shaker ranks in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Baker McKenzie
Cooley
Dentons
DLA Piper
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Skadden
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Leaders

BakerHostetler
Bryan Cave
Covington
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Dechert
Gibson Dunn
Greenberg Traurig
Hogan Lovells
K&L Gates
King & Spalding
McDermott Will & Emery
McGuireWoods
Morgan Lewis
Ogletree Deakins
Pillsbury
Polsinelli
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Reed Smith
Ropes & Gray
Sidley
Simpson Thacher
Sullivan & Cromwell
Weil
White & Case

Learn more about how your firm can influence both clients—and competitors—in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

A Downward Trend in Law Firms Earning Client Recommendations

The number of top legal decision makers recommending firms to their peers dropped for the 2nd year in a row. A concerning trend as clients continue to expect more. This is even more concerning when you factor in the shrinking number of law firms clients keep on their short list for hire. We go into 2017 with 13.4% fewer law firms earning client recommendations than in 2015. Client expectations are changing, growing, and only moving up. Law firms who engage in comprehensive client feedback programs earn dramatically more recommendations than those who don’t.

Broad and penetrating client feedback fundamentally drives the delivery of steadily improving client service. Think feedback with at least 45 top clients, if not well more. The firms who gather 3rd party client feedback from a large enough client group see their performance substantially improve. The reason: firms performing client feedback learn about the changes clients are making first, can stay ahead of those changes, and provide the client service clients have come to expect—and tell their peers about.

In a world where it’s harder to deliver the kind of client service earning an unprompted client recommendation, please join us in congratulating the below firms who do.

The law firms climbing the ranks for Client Recommendations in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Cooley
Dentons
DLA Piper
Gibson Dunn
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
Skadden

Leaders

Alston & Bird
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
Baker Botts
Baker McKenzie
BakerHostetler
Boies Schiller & Flexner
Bryan Cave
Cleary Gottlieb
Covington
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Crowell & Moring
Davis Polk
Dechert
Eversheds Sutherland
Faegre Baker Daniels
Fish & Richardson
Greenberg Traurig
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Hart
Holland & Knight
Hunton & Williams
Jackson Lewis
K&L Gates
King & Spalding
Latham & Watkins
Littler
Mayer Brown
McDermott Will & Emery
McGuireWoods
Morgan Lewis
Morrison & Foerster
Norton Rose Fulbright
Ogletree Deakins
Orrick
Paul, Weiss
Pillsbury
Polsinelli
Reed Smith
Ropes & Gray
Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary
Seyfarth Shaw
Sidley
Simpson Thacher
Squire Patton Boggs
Sullivan & Cromwell
Troutman Sanders
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Weil
White & Case
WilmerHale

Learn how your firm can earn client recommendations in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

Clients Keep Shrinking Their Law Firm Short Lists

Clients cut more law firms from their Short Lists for Hire than in any other of the 9 attributes impacting hiring decisions—dropping 21.5% of firms from their 2016 short lists. Top legal decision makers are no longer considering firms who are on the margins of performance. Clients keep wanting more and getting less—and law firms who can’t meet the minimum expectations are simply leaving clients’ consciousness.

Please join us in giving an especially hearty congratulations to the firms below who lead the pack in claiming their place on client short lists.

The law firms enjoying a strong position on client Short Lists in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Baker McKenzie
Dentons
DLA Piper
Hogan Lovells
Jackson Lewis
Jones Day
King & Spalding
Morgan Lewis
Polsinelli
Sidley
Skadden
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Winston & Strawn

Leaders

Allen & Overy
Alston & Bird
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
Cadwalader
Davis Polk
Dechert
Eversheds Sutherland
Fish & Richardson
Gibson Dunn
K&L Gates
Kelley Drye & Warren
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Morrison & Foerster
Parker Poe
Reed Smith
Simpson Thacher
Smith Anderson
Thompson Hine
Troutman Sanders
Vinson & Elkins
Weil
Winstead

Learn how to secure—and continually defend—the position of core law firm in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.