Bernero & Press, the law firm consulting firm, announced this week the launch of The Red Team, a service that provides high-quality, experienced marketing, communications, and business development professionals to law firms on a project basis or to fill temporary needs. [Read more…]
Recommending that law firms seek client feedback has become so commonplace and widespread in the industry that the advice is almost clichéd. That being said, it continues to surprise me that many law firms do not take advantage of the opportunity to seek routine, reliable input from the consumers of their services. In my experience as a law firm leader and consultant, asking clients to provide candid comments about the services that a law firm provides can be essential to developing successful strategies as well as deepening relationships. In almost every other service industry where expensive, expert services are provided, there is a premium placed on the consumer’s views about the state of the relationship and the value received for the money spent.
At the annual Legal Marketing Association conference in Austin, a vendor conducted a survey that asked attendees what their “highest-priority growth initiatives” were for this year. The leading answer was “improve cross-selling.” I don’t doubt the accuracy of the survey results; they are the conventional wisdom in the flesh. But there is a serious problem with that strategy: For too many firms, cross-selling puts the focus on what the client can do for the firm (Buy more services!) rather than on what the firm can do for the client (Solve more problems!). Simply put, clients don’t want to be cross-sold.
I start from the premise, reinforced by 20 years in large law firm management, that only by developing a collaborative culture can law firms realize their full economic potential by expanding client relationships. Law firms often are plagued by deeply embedded behaviors that create silos of service in a firm. These practice silos act as barriers to fully developing deeper client relationships. Most law firm leaders understand that the easiest path to success in creating more legal work is to devise the means to tap into existing clients to introduce new product lines and talent.
With the litigation market soft and the deal market at least momentarily out of breath, there may be more lawyers finding themselves leaving their firms sooner than they had planned. Law firm managers have started using the dreaded O word again—O for overcapacity—and such talk is often a prelude to firings and other forced departures. The law firm market long ago lost its shock over such maneuvers. But as HR directors reach again for their sharpening stones, it’s worth remembering that a firm’s goal during these episodes is to reduce its head count, not make new enemies.