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All posts by Shelby Rogers

We will periodically revisit some of Wicker Park Group’s most popular blog posts. This one, originally posted in June, was one of this year’s most read posts. Last week, a friend of mine here in New Orleans asked me for a referral for a good internal medicine physician. Being a corporate lawyer by training and practice, I […]

How to Lose a Client

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We will periodically revisit some of Wicker Park Group’s most popular blog posts. This one, from October 2015, was one of last year’s most read posts. After twenty years as general counsel of a financial institution and a large medical center, I have heard plenty of complaints from our executives about working with outside counsel. In […]

In my work over the past year with individual associates and partners on client business development, I have noticed several common themes that are worth sharing: 1. In law practice client development, many lawyers are asking for a business development “template” to simply read and follow. To that, I repeat our mantra: “One size fits […]

I began my legal career like the majority of law school graduates—by joining a law firm as a fresh-faced associate. My primary job responsibilities were to represent the firm’s financial institution clients in litigation matters. I had no assigned business development duties other than to keep our clients happy with our legal services. After twelve […]

Last week, a friend of mine here in New Orleans asked me for a referral for a good internal medicine physician. Being a corporate lawyer by training and practice, I don’t know which internal medicine physicians have the best skills and experience. But I do know from personal experience which doctors sincerely care about my […]

In my career, I have had the opportunity to be general counsel for a bank holding company, a large state medical center and a state bar association. Each entity was different in terms of its leadership and operating procedures. However, there were certain common principles that guided outside counsel selection. Keep these mandates in mind […]

Not long after I made the move from law firm practice to general counsel at a Texas financial institution, I observed that the senior executives at our holding company (the key decisionmakers) all had internal people within the bank who served as “coaches.” These coaches were not the ultimate decisionmakers within the bank regarding projects […]

One of the most challenging jobs any general counsel encounters is guiding the company through litigation-related decisions. This process involves determining the company’s goals in the disputed matter, setting any budgeting constraints, choosing outside litigation counsel, assessing how much control and personal involvement in-house counsel and management want in the litigation, keeping company management informed […]

Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are often studied, often debated and only sometimes tried. But with clients becoming more sophisticated in their choice of outside counsel and use of fee arrangements, you need to be prepared to answer this question: “Can we use an alternative fee arrangement rather than hourly billing in the matter your firm […]

I believe many—if not most—lawyers choose to attend law school in part because they hate the idea of having to sell something. They go to law school to learn about the complex system of laws and rules and the subtleties of the practice of law. The thought of selling yourself, your practice group or your […]

How to Lose a Client

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After twenty years as general counsel of a financial institution and a large medical center, I have heard plenty of complaints from our executives about working with outside counsel. In my opinion, some complaints were justified and some were not. Here is a list of the most common (justified) complaints I heard over those two […]

We often hear that business development is a contact sport, and there is validity to that comment. The more face-to-face interaction you have with current and potential clients, the more likely you are to be at the top of their lists when they need legal services. However, when we at Wicker Park Group work with […]

During client interviews and conversations, we often hear about the importance of working with lawyers who are trusted advisors: “I think he is viewed as such a trusted advisor, colleague and partner that he will be very helpful to us as we navigate the changes.” “The firm feels like a trusted advisor. Others, on the […]

It was my second week as the bank holding company’s newly minted general counsel, and I walked into my CEO’s office late in the afternoon with one question: “What type of general counsel do you want me to be for you?” Without missing a beat, my new boss answered quickly with two words: ”No surprises!” […]

As a young lawyer, I (like many others) assumed legal expertise was the fundamental prerequisite to a successful legal career. Certainly, you aren’t going to be considered for selection without it. But as we all now know, there are many, many places to find competent legal work. You must offer a lot more than that […]

Early in my tenure as in-house counsel, I learned that our company possessed eight key decision criteria reflecting our company’s core values. We used those criteria as we began consolidating our outside legal work to fewer law firms.  Those eight key decision criteria were: The firm’s relationship to us (including years of service to our […]

Value is very important to clients, but they do not always understand the bigger picture of your value when looking at a bill. Instead of just providing a bill, you can easily offer your clients some perspective that clearly illustrates the value of your legal services. In any transactional work, when the client asks what […]

Value is in the eye of the beholder. In our legal services world, that means it is the client’s perception of value—not the lawyer’s—that matters. We can only demonstrate the value of our legal services if we understand what is important to our clients and what specifically they deem valuable. Wicker Park’s client feedback interviews […]

Everyone utilizes all three styles of communication—visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Yet more often than not, one communication style is dominant. Repeated studies have found that the general US population is 70% visual, 20% auditory and 10% kinesthetic, whereas lawyers are 20% visual learners, 70% auditory and 10% kinesthetic. Why is this important to us as lawyers? […]

We can all benefit from revisiting the essential expectations clients have of outside counsel. Even though none of this is groundbreaking, it’s too easy for outside counsel to get lost in the weeds of day-to-day work and forget about the most important expectations they must meet. Take a moment to reflect on how well you’d […]

The ABA conducted a study of client concerns and expectations a few years ago and found that the four greatest expectations clients have for outside counsel, in order of importance, are commitment, integrity, competence and fee issues. While none of these factors are surprising, it is worth noting that “commitment” holds the top spot. We […]

5 Key Questions for GCs

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As a former general counsel, I’ve been on the other side of the outside counsel/client relationship and learned a lot about what works and what really doesn’t work. While it should come as no surprise that effective communication is essential to that relationship, it is easy to forget how differently lawyers and C-suite executives tend […]

Lawyers, for reasons of training and otherwise, often use different language than that used by business people and clients. Words are powerful, and you don’t want to put off or frustrate your clients because you’re not speaking the same language. Use these examples as a reminder of how to tweak your word choices to the […]

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