Key Client Initiative
WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL THREAT OF ONE OF YOUR SIGNATURE CLIENTS DEFECTING?
We have conducted numerous personal interviews with senior executives and General Counsel at over 100 of the Fortune 1000 companies, across an international landscape. As we compare our findings with those obtained from other research sources, we have been able to draw some interesting conclusions.
Today, the typical Fortune 1000 company is likely to spend somewhere in the area of over $20 million with outside law firms. However, a much larger portion of this increased spending is and will go, to far fewer firms!
Why? Our research discloses that General Counsel of Fortune 1000 companies just aren't too overwhelmed by the level of client service they receive. They claim that far too many of their law firms meet only the minimum requirements. Law firms continue to do enough to just maintain relationships, but nowhere near enough to exceed expectations . . . and General Counsel's are becoming more collectively resolved to only continuing to use and to recommend those firms that exceed their expectations. The disequilibria in law firm performance and General Counsel expectations is now driving remedial steps.
The dictates of a fiercely competitive marketplace have led firms throughout the country to examine constituting Client Teams - - relatively small groups of lawyers formed and linked by a common interest in serving the same client. The motivation for this seems logical and unassailable: in virtually every law firm, 80% of the firm's revenues come from 20% or fewer of its clients.
But unfortunately, many of these noble efforts at forming effective Client Teams are failing to achieve initial expectations.
• Too many law firms have launched far too many teams, far too quickly.
A major Texas-based firm bragged of launching 50 client teams in their first year. Sounds simple. We now know it isn't.
• Too many of these Client Teams invest all of their available time in formulating plans designed only to secure more work.
Client service teams mean much more than marketing. Indeed, the term "service" suggests this should be the primary focus. But all too often we look at our client's situation through the lens of our own offerings and our desire for another sale. Little wonder increasing numbers of General Counsel sense that when your firm talks about "building relationships" it becomes nothing more than a euphemism for "give us more work," while "providing added value" becomes interpreted to mean, "at higher rates!"
While forming client teams remains an exciting and viable concept, questions and management issues abound.
Our key client initiative is a series of action planning meetings, designed to help winning law firms and their Client Teams. These sessions complete with Work Plans and Discussion Materials will help you develop invaluable knowledge about your clients' business, deliver the value-added that clients are looking for and competitors haven't yet thought of, deepen your client relationships, and essentially freeze out competition as you differentiate yourself in ways that are hard for any other firm to replicate, once developed.
Client Team Experience
The following are a sampling of about 30 of the large corporate, law firm client teams that I have had experience working with, either throughout North America or in Europe:
• ABN AMRO
• Blue Cross / Blue Shield
• Boart Longyear
• British American Tobacco
• European Container Terminals
• DSM Chemical
• Fortis Bank
• H & R Block
• HAL Investments
• ING Group
• Intel Corporation
• Lehman Brothers
• Marathon Petroleum
• Nederlandse Spoorwegen
• Nissan Motors
• Pfizer Pharmaceutical
• St. Lawrence Cement
• United Technologies Corporation
Patrick received rave reviews from our attorneys who said he really helped them to understand the tenets of exemplary client service and how this leads to client loyalty. He is professional, a delight to work with, and truly at the top of his game. As a result of his influence and the program he helped us to institute, client service is not a "program" or "initiative" at our firm, it is an intrinsic part of our culture.
• Lynn Catanzaro, Director of Client Development - LOWENSTEIN SANDLER PC
Patrick has helped our firm with a number of projects including establishing several successful "Client Teams". He is extremely knowledgable and works effectively with lawyers because he understands the situations and roadblocks they face.
• Clint Marcham, Director of Business Development – FASKEN MARTINEAU