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Managing the Micro in Client Service

Particle physics and astronomy both attempt to understand our universe from two different vantage points: one immediate observations of the infinitesimally small, and the other grand-scale observations of ancient light and energy. Micro versus macro.

On a macro level, quoting from the recent widely-read Open Letter from 25 General Counsel, “leaders of the legal profession have been talking about change and progress: the death of the billable hour, the automation of commodity work, the use of project management principles and more.”

The macro is really important when it comes to understanding the legal universe. But it has nothing to do with the micro of understanding the needs of your customer and providing them with service that wows them.

I have joined Wicker Park Group to bring my experiences as a law firm equity partner, business development director and large company general counsel to bear in helping you appreciate and understand the macro while providing you with tactical, immediate, micro solutions.

I think lawyers and BD staff spend too much time trying to observe and solve for legal ecosystem changes and not enough time understanding how to super please clients.

Three years back, I brought in a large piece of business where my firm served as co-counsel in a major litigation matter that just wrapped up last week. The large national firm recently brought 17 lawyers and staff to Portland, Oregon, for the trial. Rather than have them housed at some nameless, faceless office, I invited them to join us. We had people move offices to accommodate them. They were thrilled, the case settled amicably on the eve of trial and this is what the vice chair of the firm had to say: “Before another day passes, I wanted to once again thank you and your firm for being such gracious and accommodating hosts over the past couple of weeks. We know a lot of your people were inconvenienced in order to make this work. Nevertheless, we felt so welcomed. Thank you again. Looking forward to finding another opportunity to work together.”

What mattered most was not our or their legal prowess—it was our hospitality.

The micro is really simple. What our customers want is quality, responsiveness and value. If you can wrap all that up with a ribbon of great attitude (also known as happiness), your clients will know you care.

 What our customers want is quality, responsiveness and value. If you can wrap all that up with a ribbon of great attitude (also known as happiness), your clients will know you care.

The best way to understand what a client, prospect or source needs is to sit down and have a conversation. I had a conversation with the vice chair and learned a pain point for him was working well with local co-counsel while being housed separately. Micro problem solved.

A maxim my partners at Wicker Park Group often share is “one size fits one.” That is the essence of micro.

Look at the stars, but help your clients by analyzing matters, predicting likely outcomes and presenting options. Look around the corner for them. Take immediate, small actions that make their lives easier.

Macro legal ecosystem solutions may prove elusive, but micro actions are in your total control.

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