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.

Clients Name the Long Term Law Firm Survivors

The pace ebbs and flows, but every client knows the legal industry is steadily consolidating. Clients want to work with the survivors. Every time top legal decision makers hire a law firm for a matter with a potential to last for years, they think about whether the firm will be merged or changed in some way. Clients don’t want the distraction. BTI research reveals a surge in the number of firms clients see as the long-term survivors. Dentons and Latham & Watkins are newcomers to the firms clients see as the Best of the Best of the Long-Term Survivors, and join the firms repeating as Best of the Best Survivors from last year.

Please join us in congratulating the below long-term leaders. And congratulate the 12 firms who clients name as the Leaders of the Surviving Law Firms over the long term.

The Best in Class Future Leaders named in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Baker McKenzie
Dentons
DLA Piper
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins
Skadden

Leaders

Cooley
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Gibson Dunn
Hogan Lovells
K&L Gates
Kirkland & Ellis
Norton Rose Fulbright
Reed Smith
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
White & Case

Learn more about the future market leaders—and how your firm can join them— in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

 

Many More Law Firms Delivering More Value

We can only look at the underlying data and believe there are big changes brewing in the law firm value proposition. This year clients report the number of law firms making changes to deliver more value, at 267, nearly doubled from last year when it was 138. These firms are offering everything from more aggressive use of client facing budgeting tools, alternative staffing, AFAs, new work processes, new pricing strategies, using non lawyers, and a few others. Clients see this as a move in the right direction. 6 of the 8 firms recognized as Best of the Best are new in 2017, joined by 2 repeat firms from last year.

The law firms Driving the most Value with clients in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Cooley
Dentons
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins
McGuireWoods
Reed Smith
Skadden
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Leaders

Alston & Bird
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
Baker McKenzie
BakerHostetler
Bryan Cave
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
DLA Piper
Gibson Dunn
Hogan Lovells
K&L Gates
Ogletree Deakins
Polsinelli
Ropes & Gray
Seyfarth Shaw
Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Learn how to become a value driver in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

6 Tactics for Talking Rates with Clients

The only question you can be sure every client is going to ask prior to hiring you is: How much will this cost? The more you prolong addressing costs the more it becomes the elephant in the room. And it leaves everyone wondering who’s going to force the issue first.

Take control of the conversation as quickly as possible in order to discuss your fees on your terms. In this month’s BTI Client Relationship Lab we’ll give you 6 tactics for proactively steering fee conversations to the points you want to make, instead of having to react to a series of rapid-fire questions about rate sheets.

You can view the video by clicking the image below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/Lc8gVCvpqX0

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.

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

The number of clients reporting they face Bet-the-Company work quadrupled over the last 4 years. But, top legal decision makers at these companies report 17% fewer law firms are equipped to handle these high-risk matters. Clients see 126 law firms able to handle their Bet-the-Company matters—less than 20% of all law firms serving large clients. Clients look to business understanding and the ability to assess risk quickly when looking for Bet-the-Company firms.

Please join us in congratulating the below firms in earning one of the most difficult to achieve branding attributes.

The law firms setting the pace for Bet-the-Company work in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Dentons
DLA Piper
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Sidley
Skadden
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Leaders

Baker McKenzie
Cooley
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Debevoise & Plimpton
Dechert
Gibson Dunn
Hogan Lovells
Morgan Lewis
Paul, Weiss
Perkins Coie
Simpson Thacher
Sutherland
Weil
White & Case

Learn more about why legal decision makers consider fewer than 20% of law firms a sure bet in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

Clients Name More Tech-Savvy Law Firms in 2017

More law firms are upping their client-facing tech savvy. Clients recognize 33 more law firms than last year for Tech Savvy—an impressive 38% increase over last year. Clients are looking for technology which streamlines processes and communication, and enables improved reporting about budget and work to date. Clients name 119 law firms standing out for Tech Savvy.

Please join us in congratulating all the Tech Savvy law firms and especially the 5 Best of the Best and the 15 Leading firms close behind them.

The law firms climbing the Tech-Savvy ranks in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Cooley
Dentons
DLA Piper
Jones Day
Skadden

Leaders

Baker McKenzie
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Dechert
Gibson Dunn
Greenberg Traurig
K&L Gates
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Littler
Morgan Lewis
Polsinelli
Reed Smith
Seyfarth Shaw
Sidley
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

See direct client feedback and learn more about how tech-savvy firms are adding firepower to their client service performance in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

Number of Law Firms Worth Premium Rates Continues to Climb

Top legal decision makers are paying more law firms premium rates than last year. This is a direct result of the surge in Bet-the-Company work and the growing number of law firms delivering more value. BTI research shows 28 law firms gained newly earned status in especially hard to get Premium Worthy recognition in 2017. While the number of Best of the Best Premium-Worthy law firms remains unchanged at 9, the names of the firms did.

Please join us in congratulating the below firms on their ability to gain premium rates in a cost-conscious world.

The Best in Class Premium-Worthy Firms in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Cooley
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Dentons
DLA Piper
Gibson Dunn
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Skadden

Leaders

Allen & Overy
Baker McKenzie
Davis Polk
Dechert
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
Greenberg Traurig
Hogan Lovells
McGuireWoods
Morgan Lewis
Paul Hastings
Paul, Weiss
Pillsbury
Proskauer Rose
Reed Smith
Seyfarth Shaw
Sidley
Simpson Thacher
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Weil
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Winston & Strawn

Learn more about what makes premium rates worthwhile to general counsel in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.


Big Growth in Firms Making Big Changes to Boost Client Service

Clients report a 60% increase in the number of law firms making changes to boost client service. Clients note selective use of client feedback, improved communication, more reaching out for client preferences, increase in firms anticipating needs, and offering proactive advice. And of course, response time is always just what it should be because you and your client agreed on the levels of response. In short, there are as many ways to improve client service as there are law firms who improved. 

The number of Best of the Best law firms making changes to improve client service increased by 1 to 8 in 2017. The Leaders, performing close to the Best of the Best, increased to 17 from 12.

Please join us in congratulating the below firms on their outstanding performance.

The law firms ranking high as Client Service Strategists in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017 are:

Best of the Best

Baker McKenzie
Cooley
Dentons
DLA Piper
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins
Reed Smith
Skadden

Leaders

Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Eversheds Sutherland
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
Gibson Dunn
Jackson Lewis
K&L Gates
Littler
Morgan Lewis
Norton Rose Fulbright
Ogletree Deakins
Paul Hastings
Pillsbury
Polsinelli
Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Weil

Learn how your firm can garner higher profits, rates, and client retention in the new BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now.

Clients See Big Changes in Law Firm Brands—The New BTI Brand Elite 28

Brand defines who you are to clients. Not who you were. Our research reveals 8 firms who boosted their brand enough to find their way onto the BTI Brand Elite 28—which also has the effect of knocking 8 firms off. 

Clients See Changing Brands—Law Firm Brands Become Volatile

Clients rely on 9 attributes to separate one law firm from another, make hiring decisions, and pick and choose who they ultimately work with—and who they don’t. Clients also see brand as volatile. As law firms change and evolve, clients change their views and reset their perceptions of the firm’s brand.

Jones Day Earns Best-Branded Law Firm

The biggest and most notable change is Jones Day taking over as the best-branded law firm. The firm has always been strong but now earns the number-one spot by improving its recognition for client-facing aspects of innovation beyond any other firm. Jones Day earns best-of-the-best in all 9 of the branding attributes which leave the biggest imprint on clients—and their hiring decisions. 

Client rankings vaulted 8 other law firm brands onto the BTI Brand Elite 28: 

  •  Cooley—making its debut appearance on the BTI Brand Elite 28 on the strength of its innovation and unprompted recommendations to corporate counsel peers
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore—last appearing on the BTI Brand Elite 28 in 2012, rejoins the BTI Brand Elite as it improved its recognition for being a premium-worthy firm and for innovation
  • Dechert—debuts on the BTI Brand Elite 28 by becoming more recognized for bet-the-company work and innovation
  • Polsinelli—makes its premiere showing on the BTI Brand Elite 28 for the strength of its dramatic growth in being included on client short lists and earning unprompted recommendations from clients to their peers based on client service
  • Ogletree Deakins—joins the BTI Brand Elite 28 as a result of its innovative client service
  • Simpson Thacher—the firm tops 3 years of steady increases with its 1st appearance on the BTI Brand Elite 28, with a combination of improved innovation and earning more places on corporate counsel short lists of law firms to be hired
  • White & Case—the firm last appeared on the BTI Brand Elite 28 in 2012, with 3-pronged increases in client recommendations to peers, broader recognition for bet-the-company work, and more innovation
  • Pillsbury—earns its 1st trip to the BTI Brand Elite 28 by being recognized in all 9 branding attributes for the first time and particularly for innovation in client service. 

The Brand Elite 28

Please join me in congratulating the top 28 BTI Brand Elite law firms in the just-released BTI Brand Elite 2017. 

Brand Elite 28 2017

Rank

Firm

01

Jones Day

02

Skadden

03

Dentons

04

DLA Piper

05

Baker McKenzie

06

Latham & Watkins

07

Cooley

08

Wachtell Lipton

09

Gibson Dunn

10

Kirkland & Ellis

11

Sidley

12

Reed Smith

13

Cravath

14

Morgan Lewis

15

Davis Polk

16

Sullivan & Cromwell

17

Hogan Lovells

18

K&L Gates

19

Dechert

20

Polsinelli

21

McGuireWoods

22

Ogletree Deakins

23

Greenberg Traurig

24

Simpson Thacher

25

Norton Rose Fulbright

26

White & Case

27

Seyfarth Shaw

28

Pillsbury

 

You can learn about the detailed changes in your firm’s brand with your copy of the BTI Brand Elite 2017: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law Firms, available now. 

Only 20% of CMOs Trusted Advisors

Trusted Advisor-01.png

Advisors bring deep knowledge and insight. Trust means you are relied on. Only 20% of CMOs feel like they are both. The bulk of law firm marketing leaders believe they are supported, respected, and well thought of—but—they have not yet gained the coveted trust.*

CMOs who believe they are relied on for their knowledge act differently. Their advice and counsel to all others aspiring to become trusted advisors includes:

  1. Speak your voice. Don’t wait to be asked—offer your thoughts and opinions.
  2. Be ready—and welcome the chance—to defend your position against the kind of cross-examination only a world-class litigator can deliver.
  3. Be sure to construct your thoughts in a positive manner.
  4. Learn the art of being diplomatic and firm.
  5. Know the lay of the land—don’t argue and present ideas you know everyone is against.
  6. Sell your ideas to key partners individually and get their input before making formal recommendations to a committee.
  7. Say no when asked to engage in low value-added activities.

Most CMOs need time to develop these skills, especially developing their voice. You will gain these skills by observing others who have attained trusted advisor status. You can practice your own skills in your department or smaller-scale meetings. Most of all, the trusted advisors build these behaviors into their daily life. You can start with one behavior or with all of them—but starting and building your skills is the key path to follow.

Getting Close to Trusted Advisor

41.7% of law firm CMOs, twice the trusted advisor rate, describe themselves as respected and supported by the partners in their firms—but have yet not made the leap to trusted advisor. Respect and support are precursors to becoming a trusted advisor. These CMOs have the challenge of converting respect into trust. Respect is hard enough to earn—but successfully transferring this into trust demands more to win over the partners. You can take the advice above and look for ways to spend more face time with partners.

The overworked world of the CMO makes face time a rarity—but face time, dialogue, and helping partners be more successful will help you cross the divide in your favor.

CMOs on the Market?

Just over 1/3rd of law firm CMOs believe their relationship with their firm’s partners is somewhere between tentative to skeptical. These CMOs are fighting an uphill battle and feel like they get little accomplished. Many of these relationships are difficult to convert to a more productive status. Some will fight the good fight to make new friends and influence partners—but some, especially those where partners are skeptical, have one foot out the door.

Law firms who add an element of skepticism or a tentativeness to the CMO relationship mix are putting their revenue streams at risk—if for no other reason than the firms with trusted CMOs are focusing their energy on clients and developing business, while the skeptics question why they should. 

MBR

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