Professional Services Blog

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See You Next Week in Vegas!

Our team is excited to attend LMA’s 2017 Annual Conference next week in Las Vegas. 

This year, we’re going digital. You’ll see us active on LMA’s conference app, where you can win great prizes like gift cards and Fitbits. Don’t forget to download the LMA app and turn on notifications to easily win prizes.

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From Good Law to Great Law™ Your Top Questions

Our recent webinar, "From Good Law to Great Law™: Building a Culture of Business Development and Distinctive Client Experience," sparked some great conversation among attendees. How do you build a culture of law that:

  • develops and maintains authentic client relationships;
  • understands and provides counsel in context of the client business;
  • communicates in ways that build trust and loyalty;
  • demonstrate appreciation for clients and their business;
  • seek and act on client feedback;
  • demonstrates care in billing and fees? 
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Moving From Good Law to Great Law™

Law firm leadership is at a proverbial fork in the road. The people running law firms can continue to do business as usual, or they can lead their firms toward a model of business that reflects the new and still evolving client expectations and market demands. 

Business as usual means trying to squeeze modest growth out of reduced expenses, increased billable hours, and hourly rate increases. That is how it has always been done, right?

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10 Tips on How to Transform Into a Great Lawyer

I once saw a poster in a very successful lawyer’s office that I found to be rather motivational. It went something like this: “Every morning, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. So it doesn’t matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion, when the sun comes up, start running!”

Although it may seem like common sense, the 10 behaviors discussed here are not all that common. It takes hard work to be a good lawyer; it takes just a little more work to be a great lawyer. So start running. 

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The Importance of Understanding Your Client's Business

Whenever I conduct a client interview for a law firm, the first question I always ask is “What do you like best about working with the firm?” The answer almost every time is that the primary lawyer “is really responsive and really knows my business.”

Think about this for a moment. In over 175 meetings with clients, that is the answer I get about 90% of the time.  In the face of that data, how can we think that anything is more important to a lawyer’s professional reputation than being responsive and knowing the client’s business?  Individuals and business clients of every shape, size, and industry want the same basic things from their lawyers.

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How to Personalize the Lawyer-Client Connection

A fundamental aspect of great lawyering is recognizing the importance of personalizing the relationship to some degree. In almost every client interview I have ever done, the clients have said that it is important for their lawyers to be “people we like to work with.” They want you to be someone with whom everyone at the client company (or family business or the association) likes to work. Personalizing the relationship does not mean that every client has to be your best friend; it does not mean you have to lavish them with fancy dinners or tickets. But clients make it very clear that “chemistry” matters.

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How to Create a "Value-Added" Client Relationship

There should be a note on every lawyer's desk that says, “What have I done today to make clients and others in my network more successful and more comfortable?" 

One of a client’s best measures of a lawyer is whether or not they add value to the work and the relationship. Value means providing more than the basic legal work for which the client hired you. I have heard the word “value” described in many ways, but for a client working with a lawyer it almost always means: “I get something more than what I paid for." 

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Three Characteristics All Great Lawyers Share

To better understand what makes lawyers successful, I launched my own research project that included gathering qualitative data from lawyers who have a variety of traits. I talked to lawyers who were introverts and extroverts; I talked to high-powered litigators and understated business lawyers. I selected lawyers whose personalities and styles were very different, because I was tired of being told that attracting and growing clients was essentially a “personality contest.” I also checked with clients to make sure that the common characteristics I found in these lawyers were the characteristics that clients truly valued.

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How Law Firms Can Build Better Business Relationships

I define marketing and business development as anything a lawyer or firm does to keep a client's work, grow work from an existing client, get work from a new client, or enhance the firm's reputation in a relevant marketplace. This definition can sound complicated, but if you focus primarily on keeping and growing existing clients, you will actually be taking major steps towards attracting new clients and enhancing the firm's reputation.  Existing clients should be your sales force.  How do you inspire and activate this sales force? It’s not complicated.