22% of GCs Unloved: Out of the Loop

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I’m the last to know and have to drive this thing to close. I don’t get all the facts, and everyone is waiting for me. It’s ass backwards.” VP and GC, Large Telecom Company.

The attorney able to show this GC how to change the dynamics and drive the results they want will earn a client for life. And not just this one client.

22% of all GCs feel like they are behind the 8 ball. They want to be out in front of issues; helping to get things done, or even things done faster, but these top legal decision makers feel stymied by their own organization. These GCs say they are excluded from relevant communications from upper management until the last minute. And then they’re playing catch up to deliver the results management expects. This is the biggest obstacle to getting what they want, and need, accomplished. These GCs tell us they can cope with being under appreciated; it’s being put in the position of bottleneck causing their personal frustration.

Law firms are in the unique position of being able to bring in an experienced partner, former GC, or a GC who is a friend of the firm, to help your client get out in front. Teaching these GCs how to anticipate issues, stay ahead, and add to the process creates lifelong friendships—and business.

This is only 1 of 5 obstacles GCs face in meeting their goals. The remaining 4 are:

Time

Unlike their stymied colleagues, these corporate counsel have more demands than time. They triage, prioritize, and delegate where they can. Ultimately, these decision makers focus on the top or urgent issues. They are master jugglers and are skilled in keeping many balls in the air.

This is 1 reason clients get so frustrated when they have to chase down outside counsel for budgets, updates, or key pieces of information. It creates even less time.

You can immediately help. Set up scheduled days and times where you will provide updates on matters and work for clients. Outline progress against the original scope and proactively notify clients of any changes before the scheduled update.

Resources

Resources come down to people and budget—and there just aren’t enough to go around. Like time scarcity above, this means prioritization and finding tactics to extend the budget.

Law firms are well served offering up AFAs, alternative staffing, secondments, or an occasional extra hand to add to the resource base.

Litigation

The growing complexity of litigation is stealing 10% of GCs psychic energy. Risk is growing to the point where it is all-consuming. Litigation attracts more and new litigation, and regulators. GCs have to stop and thoughtfully respond. The potential combined financial exposure from litigation is so large it has to be managed down—immediately.

Law firms who want to help their clients can offer strategic counsel and planning for these situations—both in the heat of battle and before with litigation prone clients.

Outside Counsel

A small but significant 4% of GCs say outside counsel is their biggest obstacle to getting things done. These GCs say their law firms are working towards cross objectives, don’t deal with uncertainty, and are being served by attorneys with no apparent leader. They make no progress and some law firms impede it.

Law firms holding their clients back probably don’t realize they are the obstacle—but these are the firms who do not ask for feedback and don’t provide timely updates. More formal and informal communication with clients is the number 1 way to ensure you are not your client’s biggest challenge.

Each client faces different obstacles. Your job is to understand which clients have what obstacles if you want to create a continuing stream of new business. You have many vehicles to ask clients about what holds them back, or BTI can ask for you. Your client’s obstacles are your opportunities. All you have to do is ask, and act.

MBR

(Based on more than 350 in-depth interviews with top legal decision makers conducted between September 2018 and January 2019 conducted by The BTI Consulting Group.) 

13 Words to Grow Your Law Firm

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Pick a word. Not just any word—a meaty, provocative word. Select the kind of word proven to evoke new thinking and gain new perspective. Think about your word every day for at least 30 days. Then think about using these words to drive improved performance. Here are 13 The Mad Clientist suggests.

  1. Invert – Invert your thinking. Take one thought or perception and turn it upside down—what if your perception was completely different? Just pretending improve outcomes, thinking, and empathy.

  2. Purge – Recognize the good, bad, or lack of benefit of your decision—and move on.

  3. Hundreds – There are hundreds of reasons not to do things. Find your reason to do things—or ignore the hundreds.

  4. Decide – Decide to overcome the obstacles.

  5. Move – Some competitor somewhere wants to crush you like a bug. Avoid this by always moving forward. Stagnate and you are crushed.

  6. Ask – Get out of your own head. Ask your clients what they think, and why they think it.

  7. Activity – Activity begets activity. Good activity begets good activity. Start making things happen and watch how many other good things happen.

  8. Bill – Build business development and client service into your legal service delivery to create even more billable hours.

  9. Control – The power to act is within your control.

  10. Share – Tell others about your ideas and use them to build better ones.

  11. Engage – Engage in one activity you don’t have time for and don’t feel comfortable doing. Just one.

  12. Stop – The time for thinking is done, at least for a moment. It’s time to act.

  13. One – Start with one behavior to improve or change. One client and one change at time drives many changes when all are engaged.

Each word represents a behavior or issue standing in the way of change. We recommend taking on one word at a time. This works out to different word every month. 30 days is sufficient to put you in a position where you think about how you want to change—and make it happen.

Just picking one word a month makes an impact. Each impact is enough for every one of your clients to see a difference and will put you in a position to grab some of the new business coming into the market before anyone else—and make you feel better about your performance while doing it.

Here’s to the power of words.

MBR

Largest Clients Ramp Up RFPs

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The next RFP is likely to be a big one. RFPs among the largest clients are on the rise. While only 38% of clients plan to issue RFPs through 2019—they are the largest legal spenders. Here’s why this group is moving to RFPs while others silently interview and select their law firms on a less visible basis.

  1. Clients consistently tell BTI they learn one new compelling insight, idea, or suggestion from the process—making the entire, and admittedly, grueling process worth it.

  2. Large clients are experiencing a faster rise in complex matters and increased financial exposure than their smaller spending counterparts.

  3. The number of individuals new to the top legal decision maker role is growing—they want to ensure they are getting the best service and counsel they can.

  4. Clients want law firms who will relish the opportunity to step up to help with the new complexity.

  5. Clients want more consistency from their law firms in terms of client service and levels of aggressiveness—these clients are using law firm pitches as a proxy by asking to meet with partner teams and observing how they do.

  6. Some law firms fall out of favor—often by inaction—RFPs are a politically correct tool to clean house.

  7. Clients always want more from their law firms. When client expectations get ahead of even the high performers, they will start to look around.

Clients plan to issue the most RFPs primarily for litigation, labor, less complex IP and cybersecurity—one of the areas where clients are most eager to learn. The complex work, especially in litigation and M&A, is still awarded with minimal, if any, bidding—and when it is—it’s in quiet and private negotiations with the best performing firms.

Clients Place RFP Winners in the Warm Up Lane

Winning an RFP is the beginning—not the end. Clients add several new firms to their roster and expect to give them medium risk work. Not the big, super complex work just yet. You are now invited to the proving grounds to see if you can you deliver.

But, for existing firms, this is your chance. Firms who get the RFP are always at some degree of risk (unless you wrote the RFP.) Take the RFP process and turn it on its head. Use it to explore goals, assess and manage risk, and treat it like a strategy session, so you can get the highest risk work—and the segment growing fastest.

It’s All in Your Control

You control almost all the reasons clients go to RFP. Here is how you can prevent and/or win the pitch:

  • Be the law firm who delivers the new insights client haven’t heard yet. Remember, this is the number one client benefit of the RFP process. Brainstorm with a group of your partners and ask the partners to brainstorm with clients. This could be the best defense against RFPs.

  • Talk to clients about the changes in the case load. Help clients locate the risks early and often. There are few more powerful tools than talking to clients.

  • Practice, train, and be consistent when you pitch. Clients know only the consistent firms can scale up to solve the big problems.

  • Reread BTI’s Unspoken Criteria Clients Use to Evaluate Your RFP.

We will be discussing clients’ new expectations and needs in our upcoming (and rescheduled) webinar. We will be discussing these issues and much more during our annual webinar BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2019 on January 30, 2019 at noon Eastern Time. Register now as space is filling up fast.

MBR

Hurry, While You Still Have A Rare Second Chance

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With luck your client’s budget is approved. After all, your client submitted their first draft last summer. The budget got worked, changed, adjusted, and reconfigured. Now it’s real. So, what is your client focusing on as the New Year starts? Those who know the answer are in the minority—but clearly have an edge.

Time to hightail it to your top clients to find out—even if you think you know. You now have a rare second chance to confirm where clients are headed and why—and these second chances don’t come often.

Call or go visit your clients while the year is still fresh. Be the first to understand how your client is thinking about:

  • Changes to cybersecurity since the Marriott incident

  • How tariffs are impacting sales

  • What tariffs are doing to supply chain agreements

  • New goals and priorities

  • Surprise initiatives introduced by management

  • Changes in their litigation settlement rates—they are plunging overall

  • New matters coming up this year

  • What kind of complexity your clients face

  • Most pressing needs and priorities

  • Resources they have and need for the year

  • What informal things you can do to help

You will learn the direct route to getting new business and position yourself as the one who cares more than anybody else—the most influential factor in getting hired. The second chance doesn’t last long—because someone else just might get there first.

We will be discussing these issues and much more during our annual webinar BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2019 on January 17, 2019 at noon Eastern Time. Register now as space is filling up fast.

MBR

Clients have 2 big sources of insomnia. Law firms only cause 1.

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Top legal officers are questioning themselves and their strategies. Something they don’t often do. And it’s keeping them up at night. The decision makers are unnerved by their law firms’ behavior—as they are now relying on their outside counsel more than ever before.

Almost 30% of corporate counsel are unnerved because of the following experiences with their primary law firms:

  • Partner turnover—lateral movement is making clients less confident in their firm’s ability to deliver without gaps and turnover. Clients are also concerned about the loss of institutional memory and the additional labor and elapsed time required to bring a new partner up to speed.
     
  • Partner retirements—clients know when key partners at their primary law firms are nearing retirement—but clients believe their firms just passively react to the departures and let things take their course. These clients believe there is no formal plan or thought as to how their matters will be managed going forward. This has the same negative impact as partner turnover.
     
  • Loss of associates—just as clients are getting to know associates working on their cases, these associates seem to disappear. Clients are fully aware of the high associate turnover rate—but believe their firms will be figuring out how to retain their best associates—which, of course, is any associate your client really likes.
     
  • No support—clients are discovering their law firms just want to do the work. These firms have no apparent interest in helping their client think through new issues, initiate and carry on conversations to help clients sort out their thoughts, and engage at a level beyond the scope of work. Clients believe this type of dialogue is not only helpful but also crucial to understanding client goals and sensitivities.
     
  • No team—many attorneys are doing the work, and clients don’t see 1 single attorney as being in charge or accountable. Clients perceive the finger pointing among partners when things don’t go according to plan as evasiveness.
     
  • Inconsistency—clients experience superstars, mediocrity, and embarrassments all from the same firm. These corporate counsel openly worry the performance will sink to the lowest level delivered.

Virtually each of these behaviors is fixable and unintended—but are on their way to ruining a client relationship just as clients have cut their law firm rosters to the smallest number ever and are ramping up spending with the firms who remain.

The 2nd biggest source of GC insomnia is making sure the work gets done. And done right. Clients are not convinced their law firms will deliver. GCs have stopped adding to staff and are experiencing attrition within their ranks. The search for the right formula prevents 13% from sleeping soundly.

General Counsel report litigation, increased transaction activity, data privacy, compliance, and cost control round out the sources of insomnia—but pale in comparison to the 2 above.

Every law firm and every partner can help clients sleep better. Be the partner who always delivers, never leaves a seed of doubt, and is proud to be accountable—even when things go wrong. Offer secondments and thoughts on how clients can prioritize their workload. Maybe even suggest a few strategies where you can help get things done. You can only be this partner if you are talking to your client. And, these ongoing conversations will help you, and your client, get the best sleep of all while others toss and turn.

MBR

(Based on BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between March 2017 and February 2018. BTI conducted more than 350 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at companies with $1 billion in revenue or more, each of whom responded.)

Growing the Biggest Portion of Your Client Base

Design a growth strategy for the biggest portion of your client base—no matter the size of your firm. 

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/PYz_7UH7qXs

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 Keys to Winning More Work

Acting as a business advisor sparks conversations and develops relationships before legal issues arise and leads to capturing high-rate legal work from your clients.

Your ability to provide your service in the context of the client’s business will most differentiate you in the eyes of clients. Industry dynamics, current events, emerging regulations, competitor news, and the political landscape are the basis for providing targeted advice to help clients meet their ultimate objectives. Learn more about providing this crucial service to your client’s in my best-selling book, Clientelligence: How Superior Client Relationships Fuel Growth and Profit, available now at www.bticonsulting.com/clientelligence.

MBR

 

Clients Want to Know: Are You Here to Help Me or to Bill Hours

While most attorneys are there to help their clients, they may also be sending loud, unintended messages that derail their client relationships. The Mad Clientist runs through a few scenarios where attorneys are inadvertently telling clients they don't want to work with them. 

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

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.

Business Development Bloopers and Blunders: References

More top legal officers are hiring new law firms than ever. In most cases, clients are hiring firms with whom they have never worked. At the same time the number of law firms CLOs recommend to their peers has declined. The dearth of peer recommendations and lack of experience with the firms are driving these potential clients to check references more than ever before.

Let’s set the stage. You have toiled to prepare the proposal. You have made it through the gauntlet of questions and requests for additional (and often highly detailed) information. You have presented and made your case. You have convinced a potential client you just might be the one. And then…they ask you for references.

Top legal decision makers often share many of their law firm experiences with me as I conduct client feedback interviews and moderate panels. These potential law firm clients tell me they get some pretty remarkable answers from partners when they request references. Decide for yourself below:

“Why?”

“We only give references when we know you are truly going to hire us so we don't bother our clients.”

“We feel our reputation speaks for itself.”

“My work is so sensitive I don’t feel comfortable disclosing who they are.”

“Can it be from a different practice – it will speak to our culture.”

“Can you tell me what you plan to ask them?”

“How much time do I have to get them to you?”

“Frankly, when you reach the status of being a leader in this firm you don't need references.”

Advantages of the Instant Reference

The rainmakers and client-savvy partners always have a list of references at the ready. Instant references show you are prepared, confident, and can anticipate where things might go. Having a set of go-to references also shows you have happy clients who will vouch for you at a moment’s notice. (Of course, you have already asked for permission.)

An answer such as: “Sure, here they are,” or “Can I email these over to you,” or even “Please wait a day before you call them so I can give them a heads-up,” is good with potential clients. Anything else will ensure you don’t get the work. 

MBR

Do You Know How Many Competitors You Really Have?

Your clients are working with way more law firms than most realize—and not only that—clients compare you to each of these competitors every time you work with them. Learn how to change your thinking...and change your client relationships.

You can view the video below, or on YouTube directly here: https://youtu.be/07paOv2zsmc

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.

Highest Rates Clients Pay Hit a Wall

The top hourly rate paid for an attorney just hit a wall.

And, this market-topping rate is exposing a few cracks in the wall, if not the very foundation itself. Clients identify $2,000 as the top rate they pay for outside counsel—identical to 2016. This means the 8% annual growth for the top rate paid for the last 10 years is over.*

Not Meeting Clients’ Heady Highest Rate Expectations

First, the bad news—the inability to deliver at the top rates isn’t just a client disappointment—it’s a deal breaker. There is only one reason clients say these otherwise excellent attorneys aren’t worth it—they don’t meet clients’ lofty expectations. Top legal decision makers tell us:

“At this rate I expect my attorney to walk on water, not get their feet wet, and be thinking only about me while they do it. I only needed to hear ‘you’re next on my list’ once and I knew it was over,” says one CLO at a large global consumer products company.

“I expect this attorney to be thinking about things I haven’t ever thought of and bring the strategies to deal with them before I bring it up,” says another top-level client.

“This attorney is excellent but is a step or 2 from amazing. So we will be parting ways when this is over,” indicates a top legal decision maker at a large financial institution, with some level of resignation in his voice.

When You Are Worth More Than the Top of the Market

But, there is some good news—just about half of the clients paying these top rates think this hourly fee is worthwhile. The half who report receiving the highest value at the highest rates talk about 4 key attributes:

  • Total command of the situation—a deep and penetrating understanding of goals and what needs to be done to get there
  • The top rate earner is backed by a team where every single person is equally impressive—not a weak link to be seen or heard
  • Seemingly never having to ask questions—attorneys at the top end of the market always look ahead, make sure their clients are in the know, and are 2 steps ahead of client questions
  • Timely invoices with updates and explanations of what it’s for and what the next invoice might look like

In the words of a top executive at a global pharmaceutical company, “Our lead attorney has such command of our complicated deal, but he was backed by one of the most impressive collaborative teams. I felt the top rate was worth it to have this team working on this deal. The cost of the top attorney was low despite the high rate.”

Or this description from a CLO at a Fortune 100 company: “This was high stakes, very high. I had updates every morning and he always kept me in a position to field calls from my CEO. You just knew he knew what was needed when and it all just went so smoothly.”

Top Rates Change the Client Expectation Game

Clients always have high expectations, but the rules of the game change at the super-premium end of the market. Clients ratchet what they expect to new unseen heights, and meeting these ever-increasing expectations may be the hardest part of delivering value.

There is no turning back. If you don’t deliver on client expectations at the top of the market—reasonable or not—the relationship is likely toast. But, the most client-savvy attorneys in the world know how to manage client expectations, however high and unreasonable, and end up with the top rates, top value, and the top clients.

MBR

*Based on in-depth BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2016 and April 2017. BTI conducted more than 340 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations.

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.

Law Firms Missing Best Source of Innovation

Innovation has a long and a short game. The long game is the sexy part. Few can argue how the ability to forever change, disrupt or even reinvent an industry isn’t a little exciting. But, as we wait for the long game to play out, we are all forced to play the short game. Today, we face clients who want new and never before seen ideas and approaches. Your clients love the long game, but earn their bonuses in the short game.

In the short game the only clear, constant source of innovation is your ability to bring truly new and original thinking to clients. This means you bring a continuing stream of new approaches to the previously unseen situations your clients currently face.

20% Higher Profits from the Short Game

The innovation short game is a client-by-client process. Each client offers you their own set of unique challenges in which you can invest your time and energy. Outside counsel delivering the newest, most novel and valuable approaches to client problems report 20% higher profits per partner than other firms.

Corporate counsel believe innovation will get them a better outcome. These better outcomes for clients translate into better outcomes for law firms, too, including:

New Business: Innovation is one of the few activities proven to attract new business. New and existing clients will seek you out once they learn you are doing something other firms don’t.

Premium Pricing: Clients are paying premiums for these innovative services. The value of your new approach or offering justifies a higher price tag.

Better Pricing across the Board: Your innovation creates a value umbrella. The innovation makes everything you do worth more to clients.

Clients Changing Definition of Innovation

Our 27 years of carefully listening to client feedback tells us innovation has become dramatically more important to clients than ever before. Today, client education—meaning customized for your specific client’s situation and delivered in person—dominates innovation. The top innovators also design continuing legal education sessions for their clients’ staff and provide tools—both online and offline—for clients to educate themselves. Client appetite for learning relevant information is insatiable.

4 years ago clients crowed about Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs). While still considered innovative, they don’t bring the same bang for the innovation buck as custom education.

Corporate counsel also value technological innovation centering on eDiscovery, document sharing, and project management—but not as much as they value education.

Finding the Best Sources of Innovation

There are few better sources of innovation than your clients—especially for the short game. Clients report the most impressive are client specific and designed for them. This makes talking to your clients one of the high-speed conduits to high-impact innovation. Probing clients for their needs and for the tools they would like to see developed or have developed themselves is a long-proven strategy for finding opportunities to innovate. The best-run firms bring this data together to find trends across the client base and help a large number of partners innovate—and inform their long game.

Industries and professions outside law are well known for reaching out to their customers and clients for sources of innovation. You can find numerous studies and statistics to drive this point home. Two of the more compelling examples include:

1.       A study of 1,193 commercially successful innovations across 9 industries, where 737 (60%) came from customers. (Users as Service Innovators: The Case of Banking Service by Pedro Oliveira and Eric von Hippel)

In their paper, Oliveira and von Hippel explore the histories of 47 functionally novel and important commercial and retail banking services. They find that, in 85% of these cases, users self-provided the service before any bank offered it. For example: “sweep” accounts (automatically transfer money between checking and savings accounts for max interest). Assets in such accounts grew from $20 billion in 1991 to $368 billion in 2005 and allowed banks to reduce their required reserves.

2.       “3M’s poorly performing Medical-Surgical Markets Division was looking for a way to kick start its lackluster innovation record in the 90s. Instead of taking the standard route (relying on internal, employee backed ideas), a separate team was formed to search for breakthrough innovation that consisted of the “lead users” (read: customers).

When the results of these two groups (users vs. employees) were compared side-by-side in terms of revenue generated, the differences were quite drastic:

        User-lead innovations had an average revenue of $146 million dollars (in 5 years).
        Internally generated innovations had an average revenue of $18 million (for the same span of time).

The results were clear: Customers were coming up with the winning ideas more often than not.”
(Courtesy of https://blog.kissmetrics.com/what-customers-want/)

Client feedback will make your short game more potent. Your skill in the short game will drive success in your long game, and reduce the time you need to develop your long game. Your ability to blend your long game and short game demands diligence and practice—just like any other sport. And, the more you and your partners practice, the higher your profits will go. Just ask the law firms getting the 20% premium now.

MBR

 

26 Tips To Boost Client Service on BTI’s 27th Birthday

Today is day one of BTI’s 27th year. I have been lucky enough to help market leaders, market-leaders-to-be, the best-run professional service firms in the world, and all manner of organizations drive growth. The combination of this experience and BTI’s independent research with more than 14,000 top executives provides unmatched insights for our clients.

During BTI’s 25th anniversary, I published a long-form book, Clientelligence: How Superior Client Relationships Fuel Growth and Profits, which has become an Amazon Customer Service Top 30 Best Seller—and a Kirkus Best Book of 2015.

But my clients and friends wanted something more. The advice I got was, “Think short and pithy—focused suggestions on how to immediately boost client service, keep client relationships moving forward, and develop more business without ever using the dreaded sales pitch or hard sell. And make it easy and quick to read.”

You can see the results below, and in my latest book: The Mad Clientist’s ABCs of Client Service. 26 nuggets of insight—each tied to a word and letter of the alphabet. Each nugget, one for each year BTI just completed, tells its own story of how to boost at least one aspect of client service.

Please click each link below for the complete definition and its related illustration (just to reinforce the point):

A is for Action... Your Actions define your clients’ experience... 

B is for Bullet... Take one for your client... 

C is for Commitment to Help... Commitment to Help is the single most influential factor in any relationship... 

D is for Devotion... Devote at least 15 minutes every day to push your understanding of your top client’s industry and business...

E is for Expectations... Clients increase their Expectations with every wonderful act you perform... 

F is for Feedback... You can’t improve without client Feedback... 

G is for Goals... Clients’ Goals drive every aspect of what you do... 

H is for Hot Seat... Your best clients will, at some point, put you in the Hot Seat... 

I is for Inaction... Inaction speaks much louder than words...

J is for Joy... The sensation clients experience when they know the value of your service dwarfs the fee...

K is for Kryptonite... Kryptonite is widely accepted as the only known substance proven to render Superman vulnerable...

L is for Listen Listen Listen... Listen until it hurts...

M is for Motion... Make things happen. Move the mountains. Get it done.... 

N is for No... No drives clients crazy...

O is for Obvious... What is Obvious to you is oblivion to your client...

P is for Process... Process is often more important than the outcome...

Q is for Quality... Quality starts and ends with clients... 

R is for Relationship... Relationships are a state of connectedness... 

S is for Surprises... Clients hate them...

T is for Thousand Days... You improve your client service prowess by practicing for a Thousand Days, not practicing a thousand ways...

U is for Unprompted... The overwhelming majority of C-level executives will hire you based in a single Unprompted recommendation from a peer...  

V is for Value... The point where your client believes they have received substantially more than they pay... 

W is for W.I.T... Whatever It Takes...

X is for X-Factor... The X-Factor is the special quality unique to each and every one of your clients...

Y is for You... You are the most powerful component in delivering superior client service... 

Z is for Zeal... Your fervor and commitment to client service shines through everything you do and every action you take...

and... 

T is for Thank You... I’ll repeat one letter as I take this opportunity to thank all of you: my clients, friends, and colleagues who have taught me these lessons and helped me develop these insights along the way.

Spend just 26 minutes with the ABCs of Client Service and improve your client service immediately. My ABCs of Client Service opens your eyes to a whole new way of providing superior client service to each and every one of your clients—from the client perspective. And offers tactics to drive more business. Click here for more information—and to order your copy today.

And, just to add a bit more celebration to BTI’s birthday, we are giving the first 27 people to subscribe* to The Mad Clientist (in the box at the upper right of your screen) a copy of The Mad Clientist's ABCs of Client Service. As an added bonus you’ll also be included when we launch a brand new subscribers-only feature next week you won't want to miss.

MBR 

*If you're already a subscriber go ahead and add your email address again if you'd like the chance to be gifted a copy of the book.

Large Law Edges Out Mid-Sized Firms for New Work, with Higher Rates

The score is in: large law 60, all others 40.

60% of law firm hires went to larger law firms (650 lawyers or more) in the last year. Clients report hiring large law as a result of increased and more pointed attention—think industry knowledge and more specific discussion of company issues. Think less about your firm statistics and more about the people to whom you are talking.[1]

Rates Are the Red Herring

The winning larger firms are commanding 33.1% more per hour than their mid-sized competitors. We now have more proof clients do not shop for rates unless it’s a politically correct tool to say no. Clients believe they are getting something substantial for this rate premium—value. Large law has been able to develop a higher-calorie billable hour. 

Mid-Sized Firms Facing a Higher Hurdle

The onus is on mid-sized firms to do better. Clients expect mid-sized firms to bring more client focus and more business understanding than large law—but are not always getting what they expect. And, mid‑sized firms have to demonstrate vastly better understanding of their potential clients’ targeted objectives than large law.

Improve Your Win Rate Immediately

Clients consistently tell us they are stunned at the lack of pre-proposal engagement by law firms. You can conduct a more thoughtful interview with your potential client before completing your proposal. Your probes and questions set your baseline for exactly how much you understand your potential client and how much you want to understand—before you ever get hired.

Large law is under pressure to be hungry—and they are. Large law is more aggressive in their pitches and pursuits. These aggressive firms are standing out. Not because they are large, but because they are showing more interest in their potential clients. A place where any firm can shine—just by asking.

MBR

[1] This research is based on 280 in-depth interviews with corporate counsel at companies larger than $750 million in revenue as part of BTI’s ongoing Annual Survey of General Counsel.