Breaking Down Barriers: Creating a Client-Focused Law Firm Culture


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Breaking Down Barriers: Creating a Client-Focused Law Firm Culture

  1. 1. Breaking down barriers:becoming more clientfocusedAdam L. Stock Allen Matkins
  2. 2. Background22 years in marketing & business development6 years in the legal industryPrimary buyer of outside legal services forseveral companiesDeveloped a formal client service team programand launched 30 teams
  3. 3. “Round up the usual suspects…” Lack of understanding: What is “client focus”? Lack of buy in: Why do it? Lack of urgency: Why do it now? Lack of perspective: What do our clients really want?Lack of resources: How can we do it without $$? Lack of commitment: How can we sustain the effort?
  4. 4. Barrier:Lack of understanding
  5. 5. What is “client focus”?Putting the clients’ interests at the center ofour business decisionsThis plays out in: Information sharing & training Client surveys and teams Quality improvement program
  6. 6. Shift service delivery… from the lawyer
  7. 7. Shift service delivery… to the team
  8. 8. This means…More client contactSharing information internallyRecognizing service beyond good legalworkAsking the client what s/he wants and needsand acting on itEveryone is a “firm ambassador”
  9. 9. Who are our clients? Client information
  10. 10. Who are our clients? Business Trends Competitive Intelligence
  11. 11. What services do we provide? Services we provide
  12. 12. What services do we provide?
  13. 13. What services do we provide?
  14. 14. What services do we provide?
  15. 15. What services do we provide?
  16. 16. Barrier:Lack of buy in
  17. 17. Clients who see their primary law firms as best in client service deliver nearly twice the spending $1.15Million $ $0.59 Spending on Primary Spending on Primary Law Firm Law Firm Client sees as BEST in Client Service BTI Survey of Client Service Performance and Client Needs 2006
  18. 18. Also…30% more profitsWord of mouth recommendationsBuilds morale and productivity
  19. 19. How much buy-in do you reallyneed?Build some successes and people will follow
  20. 20. Barrier:Lack of urgency
  21. 21. Exploit a sense of urgency
  22. 22. Advocate for change Insanitydoing the same thing over andover again and expectingdifferent results Albert Einstein
  23. 23. Barrier:Lack of perspective
  24. 24. What do clients really want?Buy researchAsk them!
  25. 25. How clients define client focus Put the Clients Needs First 29.6%Understand the Clients Business 24.9% Be Responsive 19.6% Deliver Good Value 9.5% Achieve the Clients Goals 5.8% How Clients Hire, Fire and Spend: Landing the Worlds Best Clients 2006, BTI Consulting
  26. 26. There is no substitute for asking yourclientsEvery client has different specific needs:– Responsiveness– Billing detail and formats– Budgets and summaries– Bench strength– Business referrals– Education– Etc. Find out what the needs are and address them
  27. 27. The client review process
  28. 28. Barrier:Lack of resources
  29. 29. Client feedback “on the cheap” Clients invited to our firm to tell us about: – Their business – What they like in law firmsThanks for organizing this event. From – What they don’t like inmy perspective, the presentation was asenjoyable as it was informative. law firmsI cannot think of a better educationregarding client service than to hear it – Their ideas of goodstraight from the client in that fashion. client service– Associate
  30. 30. Barrier:Lack of commitment
  31. 31. How can we sustain the effort?Provide ongoing training & celebratesuccessesInclude the entire firm – show everyone hows/he plays a partBuild a service improvement process andemploy Six Sigma techniques
  32. 32. It takes a “whole firm” to deliversuperior client serviceSample Client Service Improvement Checklist – everyone has a part to play Client action plan Who Introduce another practice group Attorneys Managing partner visit with GC Management Host a client event, Add client to Marketing mailing lists, Perform a client survey Set information alerts Library Provide a customized billing format Billing/Finance Create a Client Extranet IS, Secretaries / Paralegals Improve responsiveness Attorneys, Secretaries
  33. 33. Six Sigma methodology (DMAIC)Define process improvement goals that areconsistent with customer demandsMeasure key aspects of the current process andcollect relevant dataAnalyze the data to verify cause-and-effectrelationshipsImprove or optimize the processControl and continuously monitor the process
  34. 34. Case study: improving our clientpitch processImproving our pitches improves our winrate & businessChallenges to address:Preparation: Insufficient time to prepareCustomization: Not customized to the specificneeds of the clientRelationships & history: poor knowledge ofclient/prospect and important relationshipsResearch: Poor knowledge of prospect prioritiesand which law firms they use
  35. 35. Differentiation is primary incompetitive business presentationsand proposalsLevel 1: Competence – Technical capability of the lawyer or reputation of the firmLevel 2: Comparative performance – Track record on similar matters as compared to other firms and credentials in the industryLevel 3: Differentiation – Creativity on a specific matter, mutually beneficial relationship with buyer and perceived seamless service from the firm Firms spend too much time on levels 1 & 2 and are unprepared to discuss level 3WJF Institute, 2008
  36. 36. When we implement the full processincluding research, pitch developmentand refinement we get the best resultsIdeal pursuit development process Day 1 Day 7 Do research Develop pitch Refine/review materials pitch Identify Review Review Finalize Target Research 1st Draft of Pitch (Atty + BD) (Atty + BD) Pitch Materials (Atty + BD) (Atty + BD)
  37. 37. “K. and I have interviewed patent litigators fromBoston, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Austin,Los Angeles, Denver, the Bay Area, Portland,and Seattle. I can honestly say that your teamwas hands down the most impressive – by amile. Thank you all for being prepared, answeringour questions articulately and thoughtfully, andfor taking the time to meet with us.” – Chief IP Counsel, Fortune 100 company
  38. 38. Results over one yearWin rate up >20%Number of pitch requests has increased >2xAverage advanced notice is >weekRecord level attorney satisfaction
  39. 39. Key to success: seeing beyondthe barrierDon’t focus your energy on the barrier itselfFocus on the solutionEnvision your firm beyond the barrier