Clients Single Out 61 Law Firms Who Can Cut Through Complexity

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Clients have been on the receiving end of a continuous stream of increasingly complex risk and exposures. This stream of complexity is in its 4th year and shows no signs of abating. And, it’s changing what clients want in their law firms.

With equal parts tenacity, sheer will, smarts, and intuition—combined with confidence, savvy, conviction, and the nerve to go for the jugular—these cutting-edge law firms have the killer instinct clients want right now.

Clients see killer instinct as the secret sauce to get to the right answer faster. Most importantly, clients are willing to pay more for killer instinct because their total cost will be lower.

To be sure—clients want the unrelenting research and piercing analysis—but they see and reward firms with an intuitive (and seasoned) sense of direction about exactly how to reach their goals. Here are some the things separating those firms with killer instinct from everyone else:

  • Develop recommendations which carry more risk but may provide a measurably better outcome
  • Work on multiple strategies simultaneously with the goal of a substantially better outcome
  • Pointed and definitive recommendations
  • Fast follow-up—much faster than other firms
  • Willing to make decisions with less data than others

This has been a long time coming—but inevitable. Clients want better results and want value. Killer instinct solves this problem—and more.

Overall, clients identify 61 firms who display this killer instinct. Top legal decision makers single out 2 firms with the most killer instinct:

  • Latham & Watkins
  • Skadden

These top clients point to 6 firms who bring more killer instinct than most:

  • Cooley
  • DLA Piper
  • Greenberg Traurig
  • Jones Day
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • White & Case

You can study the entire group of killer instinct firms and all those who stand out for traditional and new aspects of client service in the just released BTI Client Service A-Team 2018: Survey of Client Service Performance for Law Firms.

To some killer instinct comes naturally while others learn to develop it. Clients want it from you now—and they are paying premiums to get it.

MBR

Clients Add 8 New Firms to BTI Client Service 30

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It’s so easy to fall behind in client service. All you have to do is stay the same. But, 30 firms overcome the odds and perform 9 times better at client service than everyone else. These firms are The BTI Client Service 30 for 2018. While all firms in this elite group stand out for superior client service, the following firms are especially impressive:

  • Jones Day is ranked number 1—absolutely best with their 10th appearance in the top spot

  • Skadden—ranked at number 2—makes their 16th appearance in The BTI Client Service 30

  • Dentons, at number 3, continues to be as aggressive with client service as they are with growth

  • Latham moves up to number 4 by improving the value delivered to clients to best-in-class levels

We also note the 4 firms above are the only law firms corporate counsel rank Best of the Best in all 17 activities driving client service. Jones Day and Dentons have delivered on all 17 best-in-class cylinders for 2 years in a row.

  • Jones Day, Morgan Lewis, and Sidley show unmatched commitment—and success—in continually improving client service. These 3 are the only firms to land a coveted spot on The BTI Client Service 30 in all 17 years BTI has been conducting the research.

  • 8 law firms have been improving performance and rejoin The BTI Client Service 30:

    • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

    • Davis Polk

    • Pillsbury

    • Littler

    • Mayer Brown

    • King & Spalding

    • McDermott Will & Emery

    • O’Melveny

What Clients See in the Best Performers

Every firm on The BTI Client Service 30 has been here before—for an average of 8 times. They all have ongoing client service programs, as compared to so many firms who start a client service initiative and then change to a new initiative after a year is up. Superior performance demands client service improvement be a permanent part of daily life.

This year, top legal decision makers report superior client service is all about client-facing programs. We heard about dedicated client teams, law firms seeking out client feedback, industry knowledge, and deeply customized educational tools and sessions. We also heard how firms in The BTI Client Service 30 have become much more sensitive to the need for budget certainty—and are delivering.

You can learn the client service strategies and tactics used by The BTI Client Service 30 and see where your firm stands by ordering your copy of the BTI Client Service A-Team: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance, which includes a custom comparison of your firm with up to 8 competitors of your choice. This report is the only place you can learn exactly where your firm improved and where a competitor may have improved more—and recommends exactly what to do about it.

BTI has been helping our clients design and implement the most effective client service and business development programs in the world. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how to improve your performance.

Please join me in congratulating The BTI Client Service 30 for 2018.

MBR

4 Reasons Law Firms Lose Their Coveted Spot on The BTI Client Service 30

“How could we have changed? We have done so much.”

“Our score dropped and we haven’t changed a single thing in our program.”

“What made our score drop, we have made client service a real priority?”

2017 saw 53% of The BTI Client Service 30 drop off the list and be replaced by other firms who are on the rise. This change—the biggest in 10 years—prompted a wave of questions from law firms (see the samples above) to BTI when we released The 2017 BTI Client Service 30 along with the BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. These firms want to know how their performance, or any client service performance, can change when they have been working so hard to develop a client service culture at their firms. The answers come in 4 major categories:

Changing Client Needs

Your clients’ needs change every 18 to 24 months—like clockwork. Law firms fall in and out of alignment with client goals on a regular basis. The law firms who align themselves with and support client goals will see client service improve. Law firms who don’t align themselves see their client service performance decline when client goals change and the law firm becomes out of step. The only tool available to learn clients’ ever-changing goals is to ask once and confirm often.

Competitor Behavior

Competitor law firms have a large impact on your client service ranking and performance. Numerous law firms serving your clients will initiate and invest in client service programs. These investments tend to boost scores and rankings for the firm making the changes and push rankings of competitors down. However, many law firms will not maintain this investment and will see their scores drop when the client service program loses steam—therefore leading a new round of competitors to rank higher.

Sporadic versus Enduring Client Service Initiatives

A select number of law firms start client service initiatives every year. They treat these programs as annual initiatives instead of an ongoing part of the business. This temporary investment results in surges in client service which garner high rankings in the year implemented and much lower rankings when the program ends and firm partners no longer show the same enthusiasm for client service.

Rising Client Expectations—The Better You Get the More Clients Expect

Clients have high expectations for law firm client service. And, they only get higher. Once a client experiences their law firm’s improved client service they expect improvement to accelerate. Law firms who do not continually improve their client service delivery will see their rankings drop as they no longer meet client expectations. This makes you look like your performance has dropped and makes competitors look better by comparison.

You can increase your client service strength through well-designed client feedback. “Feel good” client feedback where firms ask how they are doing won’t give you a clue. The feedback which probes performance against competitors—both quantitatively and qualitatively—will tell you exactly where you stand, what you need to do, and brings the added benefit of motivating the daylights out of attorneys. You will also be using the same type of feedback used by the long-term best-performing firms.

We discussed how and why client service changes and what the long-term leaders do differently during our annual webinar—BTI’s Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2017—which you can view here: https://youtu.be/GLFliIZhGtk. If you would like to discuss how to integrate this kind of high-powered client feedback into your firm to drive new business and improve client service contact me here.

MBR

The BTI Client Service A-Team: Your 2017 Client Service Leaders

Relationship Bliss: also known as your law firm’s goal for every client relationship. Relationship Bliss is also created by the 4 client service activities most important to corporate counsel, while providing the highest levels of differentiation for your firm.

BTI’s research shows the law firms able to deliver best-in-class levels of service in these 4 activities will outpace competitors not performing at peak levels with:

  • 30% higher profits
  • 7% rate premiums across all staffing levels
  • Double the fees from a single client
  • 35% higher client retention

The BTI Client Service A-Team 2017 includes the law firms best at these 4 Relationship Bliss Activities:

While the 4 activities above have the strongest statistical correlation to financial benefit, every one of the 17 Activities has a crucial role in the development, maintenance, and ultimate growth of your client relationships.

Price of Admission: Without these 6 activities—including Legal Skills—clients won’t even consider hiring you. These activities are of high importance but are also widely available. Clients expect you to deliver these activities in order to win work, but they are not the sole deciding factor.

The BTI Client Service A-Team 2017 includes the law firms best at the following Price of Admission Activity:

Business Magnets: These 2 activities are an anomaly. They are of lower importance and are less differentiating with most clients. BUT—and this is an important but— these activities attract the type of work most law firms are seeking:  the largest-spending, least price-sensitive clients with a large number of complex needs.

These activities attract new business and new clients. However, once a legal decision maker finds a firm excelling in these activities, the ongoing relationship is driven by the firm’s performance in the Relationship Bliss activities.

The BTI Client Service A-Team 2017 includes the law firms best at the Business Magnet Activities:

You can learn about all of the 17 Activities, including the 10 not mentioned above, which drive client service—as well as where your firm stands and how you can improve in each of the 17 Activities—by ordering your copy of the BTI Client Service A-Team 2017: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance. Your order includes a custom comparison of your firm’s performance in each of the 17 Activities with up to 8 competitors of your choice. 

The 17 Activities are also discussed in greater detail in Michael’s book: Clientelligence: How Superior Client Relationships Fuel Growth and Profits. Based on 14,000 in-depth interviews with clients, this consistent and systematic approach to developing superior client service skills gives you unparalleled access to your clients' most complex—and premium-rate—work.

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Innovative Approaches

Innovation doesn’t come from technology. It comes from being able to bring new, creative thinking to solve your clients’ issues and in ways others don’t—and add substantial value. If technology is involved, it is an enabler to innovation—not the source.

Leading legal decision makers report the top sources of innovation from law firms include:

  • Scenario planning with clients for upcoming or large matters
  • Developing customizable risk evaluation tools
  • Delivering in-depth, client-specific CLE sessions onsite with multiple partners

Corporate counsel rank the following firms with the best Innovative Approaches in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Innovative Approaches:

  • Jones Day

Leaders in Innovative Approaches:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Cooley
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • Dechert
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • McGuireWoods
  • Polsinelli
  • Reed Smith
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Anticipating the Client’s Needs

Look 180 feet ahead instead of 90 feet ahead, and embrace proactive communication as a way of life. Anticipating Needs is all about staying one step—or more—ahead of your client.

In small doses over time you can: visualize, articulate, and share the range of client outcomes; bring out emerging and undefined needs; and provide answers to questions you know the clients will ask—before they ask. In doing so you ensure your client knows what to anticipate and when to anticipate it.

Corporate counsel rank the following firms as best at Anticipating the Client’s Needs in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Anticipating the Client’s Needs:

  • Cooley
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Jones Day
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Leaders in Anticipating the Client’s Needs:

  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • Polsinelli
  • Reed Smith
  • Sidley Austin
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Delivering the Best Legal Skills

Your Legal Skills are only interesting to clients if you can apply those skills to their unique situations and needs. Whether pitching a new client or responding to RFPs for new matters, talk about your skills in a client-focused manner by discussing key issues your client faces.

And don’t just demonstrate your Legal Skills. Show how your skills will drive value for the client and how your understanding of the client’s business makes your services far superior to competitors’.

Corporate counsel rank the following firms as delivering the best Legal Skills in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Delivering Legal Skills:

  • Dentons
  • Jones Day
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Leaders in Delivering Legal Skills:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Bryan Cave
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Cooley
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • DLA Piper
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Paul, Weiss
  • Sidley Austin
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Providing Value for the Dollar

Value is murky and often hard for top legal decision makers to spot. Or it is tremendously easy to see when clear, obvious, and well-articulated by the law firm delivering service. This phenomenon explains why firms delivering the best value talk to their clients more than others, include clients in their discussions about strategy, clearly outline the different directions a matter may take, and explain the solutions they have developed and deliver them in plain English. These firms have also made their clients’ lives easier.

Corporate counsel rank the following firms as best at Providing Value for the Dollar in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Providing Value for the Dollar:

  • Cooley
  • Dentons
  • Jones Day
  • Reed Smith
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Leaders in Providing Value for the Dollar:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • BakerHostetler
  • Bryan Cave
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • DLA Piper
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • K&L Gates
  • Latham & Watkins
  • McGuireWoods
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • O’Melveny & Myers
  • Polsinelli

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Understanding the Client’s Business

Your ability to understand your client’s business is the single best differentiator in the legal market today. This understanding is also the single biggest reason clients pay a premium rate. Clients receive substantially more value when law firms see the risk and the issues from the client’s point of view.

Your firm also benefits from building a comprehensive understanding of your client’s business. A deep understanding positions you to be the first to tackle the defining issues your client faces, and provide more pointed, targeted, and relevant advice than competitors.

Corporate counsel rank the following law firms as best at Understanding Your Client’s Business in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Understanding the Client’s Business

  • Cooley
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Jones Day
  • Reed Smith
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Leaders in Understanding the Client’s Business:

  • BakerHostetler
  • Bryan Cave
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • Dechert
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Hogan Lovells
  • K&L Gates
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • Paul Hastings
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  • Sidley Austin
  • Thompson Coburn
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • WilmerHale

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Client Focus

15 years ago, Client Focus was about returning phone calls and getting documents back to clients. Those days are long gone. Top legal decision makers define Client Focus as the ability to understand their overall objectives, as well as the different objectives for each individual matter.

Corporate counsel report law firms can speak about the overall objectives but a select few work towards the different objectives needed for each individual matter.

Corporate counsel rank the following firms as best at Client Focus in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Client Focus:

  • Cooley
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Jones Day
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Reed Smith
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Leaders in Client Focus:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • BakerHostetler
  • Covington & Burling
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Dechert
  • K&L Gates
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • McGuireWoods
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • Paul, Weiss
  • Polsinelli
  • Seyfarth Shaw
  • Sidley Austin
  • Thompson Coburn
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • White & Case

BTI Client Service A-Team: The Law Firms Best at Showing Commitment to Help

Commitment to Help is the most influential aspect of your client relationship. Clients judge your commitment based on their highly personal, subjective judgment of your effort and investment in the relationship. Commitment to Help is all about your behavior. You have to be the most committed to helping your client more so than the 41 other firms serving them.

Corporate counsel rank the following firms as best at showing Commitment to Help in the just-released BTI Client Service A-Team 2017. Please join us congratulating these firms on this well-earned honor:

Best of the Best in Commitment to Help:

  • Cooley
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Jones Day
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Reed Smith
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Leaders in Commitment to Help:

  • Baker & McKenzie
  • BakerHostetler
  • Bryan Cave
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • K&L Gates
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • McGuireWoods
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • Polsinelli
  • Sidley Austin
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Global Firms and Prestige Brands Upset the Client Service Apple Cart

We saw the first clue pop up in 2014. BTI client interviews revealed global firms investing more in improving their client service performance. Next we found large law budgeting 1/3rd more in client development than other law firms. Now, we see global and prestige brands claiming more than their fair share of the elite BTI Client Service 30.

In each of the last 16 years The BTI Consulting Group conducted more than 300 in-depth interviews with top legal decision makers to probe all aspects of law firm client service. We designed one line of questioning and probes to identify the law firm absolutely best at each of the 17 activities driving superior client service. We provide no prompts, lists or suggestions—nor do we accept self-nominations or referrals. We heard about 295 law firms in total—45% of the law firms serving large companies (with more than $1B in revenue in the US). Of these 295: 30 standout as best—performing 5 to 15 times better than the typical law firm.

While all firms in The BTI Client Service 30 standout for superior client service the following performances warrant especially close attention:

  • Jones Day reclaims the number 1 spot in client service—becoming the only law firm ever to be ranked best of the best in all 17 activities driving superior client service. Jones Day is now making its 9th appearance in the top spot—3 times more often than any other law firm.
  • Dentons moves up to grab the number 2 position. The firm is being as aggressive with client service as it is with growth.
  • Cooley returns to The BTI Client Service 30 in the number 4 spot after a more than 10-year hiatus—leveraging widely respected Innovation into high-powered client service performance. 
  • Wachtell Lipton is ranked number 7 as top legal decision makers credit the firm’s ability to deliver the best value, while anticipating change and understanding their clients’ business.
  • Cravath, Cleary Gottlieb, Paul, Weiss, and Simpson Thacher all rejoined The BTI Client Service 30 this year as top legal decision makers tell us each firm improved their value proposition and was able to become more client-centric in their approach.

New to The BTI Client Service 30

Paul Hastings leveraged a new and deeper understanding of their client’s business while White & Case leveraged improved client focus to drive their inaugural showings in The BTI Client Service 30.

3 Firms Where Client Service Is Part of the Fabric of the Firm

Jones Day, Morgan Lewis, and Sidley Austin have been able to deliver superior client service in each of the 16 years BTI has conducted this analysis. Client service runs through the very fabric—and is embedded deep into the culture—of each firm.

The emergence of these global giants as client service goliaths demands all other law firms up their client service game. The race for clients and new business is far from over and almost any law firm has time to step up to the starting line. The most important step any firm can take is to boost client service with existing clients. The new (and returning) firms have all developed skills in execution and implementation. They bring no structural advantage—but instead bring executional advantage. There is no reason a law firm can’t find a way to execute. It's not easy, but can be done—which is how the next generation of leaders will ultimately emerge.

You can learn the client service strategies and tactics used by The BTI Client Service 30 here. You can see where your firm stands by ordering your copy of the BTI Client Service A-Team 2017: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance, which includes a custom comparison of your firm with up to 8 competitors of your choice. 

8 Factors Driving Superior Client Service: How Law Firms Climb the BTI Client Service A-Team

Corporate counsel recognized fewer law firms in 2015 for superior client service than 2014. Despite the more demanding environment a few savvy and disciplined law firms buck the trend. These firms climbed the ranks or managed to stay on The BTI Client Service 30 while 11 firms dropped off this elite list.

8 trends stand out among the firms making dramatic jumps or keeping themselves at the top:

1.  Planning to Stay Ahead of Client Expectations as a Way of Life

Clients always expect more. Always.

The better your performance the more clients expect from you. You wouldn’t want it any other way. Clients won’t have it any other way. The law firms climbing the client service ranks are both managing client expectations (using strategically designed client feedback to learn client expectations) and delivering more. This is an ongoing effort, not a one-time event.

2.  Measuring Themselves 6 Ways to Sunday

Metrics can move mountains and propel law firms to move up the client service rankings. These law firms set goals for the number of key actions and behaviors in which a partner will engage. And track partner activity to make sure it happens on a timely basis.

3.  Training and Tools

A cousin to measuring—the top performers provide tools and training to help their partners meet their goals. The training focuses on client service skills and the tools include templates, checklists, and questions to use to ensure each partner knows what superior client service looks like. The very best training programs run mock client discussions and sessions to help prepare for real-life conditions.

4.  Always Moving Ahead

Top client service performers don’t rest or stop to admire their shots. While they may relish their top-tier ranking, the immediate question becomes: “What do we do to get better?” The top performers find answers to this question and adopt the answers throughout the firm.

5.  Accountability Rules

Partners are accountable for client service actions. As discussed above, partners are fully expected to meet their client service objectives throughout the year. Leadership partners are swift and precise in letting partners know they may have missed a planned commitment and offer help in delivering on this commitment—quickly. Partners are reminded of the importance their commitment has to the firm.

6.  Client Feedback Tells Them How They Are Doing so They Can Be the Best

Few tools are more powerful than client feedback. Asked properly, clients will tell you exactly what they want and expect from you. Clients will also tell you about your weaknesses and points of frustration. This feedback is your road map to superior client service. Without feedback you are guessing. The top performers boast some of the most well designed and robust client feedback programs. These firms know the way you ask the question is just as important as asking itself—because it is so easy to get irrelevant answers which don’t help client service and leave attorneys skeptical of client feedback.

7.  It’s a Priority

The BTI Client Service 30 give client service top billing. Client service is a discussion point in almost every part of the firm: at partner meetings, at practice meetings, and partners discuss their client service objectives in their annual goals.

8.  It Starts with the Partners

The top performers start with the partners. Everyone in a law firm knows the partners influence the rest of the firm in their behaviors—and are on the front line of client service. These firms only introduce client service training and activities to staff and associates after the partners are fully trained and metrics developed. This partner-first system is designed to support partner behavior instead of operating independent of their behavior.

You can view our annual BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review Webinar, which covered this topic and much more here. 

MBR

The 30 Best Law Firms for Client Service: The Three-peat Champ, the High-Fliers, and the Newcomers

Clients have spoken, voted and ranked.

Skadden is best at client service for 3 years in a row. Hogan Lovells soars as does McGuireWoods and BakerHostetler. The client service race is on and new players are mixing up the game.

In each of the last 15 years The BTI Consulting Group conducted more than 300 in-depth interviews with general counsel to probe all aspects of law firm client service. One particular line of questioning asks each of these top legal decision makers to identify who is absolutely best at each of the 17 activities driving superior client service. We provide no prompts, lists or suggestionsnor do we accept self-nominations or referrals.

For 2016 the client service world looks like this:

322 law firms deliver better client service than the 328 firms clients do not identify as delivering any aspect of outstanding client service. Half of all law major law firms are behind. But, 30 firms truly stand out—standing head and shoulders above all other firms—these are The BTI Client Service 30—the best of the best, as determined solely by clients.

The 2016 Top 3:

1.       Skadden
Skadden continues to deliver the best client service. Clients credit increased accountability and a culture of always improving performance to stay ahead of their expectations. Corporate counsel rank Skadden best at client service for the 3rd year in a row.

2.       Jones Day
Jones Day—in its 15th year (of 15) in The BTI Client Service 30—lands at number 2. The firm is adding to its already strong client service DNA by beefing up client service infrastructure and accountability.

3.       Hogan Lovells
Hogan Lovells soars 22 spots to land at number 3 this year. Clients report a growing thought leadership and client education program with insights other firms don’t bring. Clients point to the firm’s thinking in cybersecurity, litigation and international issues as standing out from other firms.

2 Law Firms Make Their BTI Client Service 30 Debut:

Holland & Hart
After 3 years of steady improvement in performance, Holland & Hart is able to convert its best in class understanding of client’s business and superior value into superior client service. Clients also note Holland & Hart’s leadership on communication around matters and issues—noting the proactive nature of the communication.

Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary
This 80 attorney newcomer specializes in transportation and illustrates the power of understanding your client’s business. Scopelitis also stands out in innovation and commitment to providing client with predictability as well as deep business understanding. Scopelitis makes its BTI Client Service 30 debut at number 28 after years of rising through the client service ranks.

9 Firms Return to the Client Service 30 After a Multi-Year Absence:

Dentons
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Baker Botts
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
Ropes & Gray
Sullivan & Cromwell
Sutherland
Weil, Gotshal & Manges


The BTI Client Service 30 perform 5 times better than all other law firms. Leading legal decision makers have a pool of 650 law firms to choose from when awarding legal work. Corporate counsel pay close attention (and give their work) to firms who continually improve their approach to client service delivery.

You can find at least 1 insight—if not more—into superior client service from each of The BTI Client Service 30. The common themes revolve around a commitment to improve in the activities which make a real difference to clients (we’ll be covering these in greater detail next week).

The 15th annual BTI Client Service A-Team report shows which firms are currently winning the client service race—and details exactly what they are doing to outpace the competition.

Learn how you can too in the new BTI Client Service A-Team 2016—your tool for developing superior client service to drive superior profits and growth. 

7 Lessons from the Client Service A-Team

Corporate counsel have identified the 30 law firms delivering the absolute best client service. The BTI Client Service 30 outperforms more than 650 other firms by a factor of 6 to land among the client service elite.

It’s easy to dismiss client service as a nice-to-have soft skill. However, research shows the firms performing at best-in-class levels of service enjoy:

  • 30% higher profits
  • 7% rate premiums across all staffing levels
  • Double the fees from a single client
  • 35% higher client retention

The BTI Client Service 30 all manage and think about client service differently than other firms. We found 7 profound differences:

1. More Change for the Buck
Changing attorney behavior is the single biggest hurdle BTI hears about when discussing how to boost client service performance. Few attorneys are willing (or more likely know how) to make the specific changes necessary to drive a best-in-class performance. 

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