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All posts tagged Adding Value

For the last decade, we have worked with firms to launch, lead, develop and support client feedback interviews. And in almost every firm, the managing partner or chair is either already conducting relationship visits or planning to do them as soon as possible. They often come to us to discuss how to both train the […]

Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the fourth article in the series. You can find the first article about how to choose clients for feedback here, the second article about the importance of preparation here and the third […]

When clients take the time to offer feedback, they give their lawyers and firms a gift. It is the gift of their time—a gift demonstrating they care about the relationship. But with that gift comes great responsibility. And unlike a traditional gift, you have to do much more than just send a thank you note […]

Make It Easy

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At the beginning of 2015, I was given the great opportunity to become a strategic partner with the Wicker Park Group, the preeminent firm focused on client feedback in the legal industry today. At our first meeting, I asked the group: “After more than 2,000 client feedback interviews, what is it that clients care about […]

The bar is low. Despite tremendous progress in the past 20 years, law firms continue to lag behind their clients’ industries and other professional service firms when it comes to innovation, client experience and client engagement. Again and again, we hear law firm clients say the attorneys and law firms that stand out from the […]

At the end of a client feedback interview last week, the senior in-house counsel I was speaking with summed up the relationship by saying, “At the end of the day, they get all my work because they make me look good.” It is that simple. In an era where competition is greater than ever and […]

Howard Schultz recently announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO and Chair of Starbucks to focus on the company’s plans to build high-end coffee shops that charge as much as $12 per cup of coffee. That makes me think of the top end of the lawyer’s hourly billable rate. The $2,000 hour […]

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 […]

End-of-the-year travels have had me on more airplanes, staying in more hotels, eating in more restaurants and visiting more law firm offices than usual. During my travels, I experienced some of the best and some of the worst hospitality imaginable. On one trip, weather and travel delays typical of the season resulted in missed connections, […]

Many law firms understand how to meet their client’s biggest and most obvious client service preferences. We’ve all laughed about (and learned from) the story of the firm that FedExed its RFP response to UPS and was summarily dismissed from the process as well as the firm that forgot to remove competitor products from the […]

Wicker Park Group recently had the opportunity to speak with Doug Luftman, the Chief Innovation Officer and General Counsel at Lecorpio. He shared insights on what GCs are looking for from outside counsel and how to develop and strengthen those relationships. Luftman said, “The most valuable thing is outside counsel being savvy about my business and having true […]

While I was talking to a law firm partner about one of her most significant clients last week, she said, “Every time we have face time with the client, we walk away with several new projects. But that is so hard because we are so busy just managing the work and their complicated financial reporting […]

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 […]

Wayne Gretzky is famous for being one of the greatest hockey players in history. He is also known for inspiring thousands with his quotes. One of my favorite Gretzky quotes is: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” It is simple but incredibly powerful and exactly […]

I was recently challenged to explore what client service will look like in 2026. The good news is the conversation has already started, but the bad news is law firms have a long way to go. It is great that the idea of “client service” is authentically being explored within law firms, but what many […]

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 recently conducted an interview that reminded me of one of my favorite client feedback interview experiences and the importance of knowing your clients’ legal budgets. As part of the interview process, we always conduct a prep interview with the relationship lawyer and key individuals working with the client. We ask about the history of […]

When discussing client relationships and client service with law firm leaders, we are often asked a question I find surprising: When is the best time to go visit a client? Before delving into the answers to that question, we often set the stage with the lawyers (and the marketing and business development professionals) we are […]

Unsurprisingly, no law firm has had the courage in recent weeks to say, “In light of the unjustified first-year associate salary increases, we are reducing first-year base compensation by $10,000 to better align our business with our clients’ ongoing economic reality and invest in our client relationships.” There is no value to your clients in […]

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 […]

At the recent Client Experience in Professional Services conference in Durham, North Carolina, Stan Phelps shared his insights about winning the hearts of customers and influencing positive word of mouth. Phelps is the author of What’s Your Purple Goldfish?, and his crowd-sourced stories resonated with the audience of engineering, design, architectural, construction, legal and financial […]

“When I select attorneys to handle a matter, I really look for a team. I want the leader to be familiar with the case and giving people direction. I don’t expect him to get in the nitty-gritty from day one, but you do really need a very smart guy to be in the details and […]

As the weather warms, I find myself wanting to do household spring-cleaning chores while also dreading the effort. I long for a day to pack away winter coats and make room for lighter, brighter clothes in the closet, to replace storm windows with screens and to clean outdoor furniture in preparation of porch sitting. Then […]

In some businesses, clients view their lawyers as impediments to making things happen. Those clients often work with outside counsel who throw up roadblocks and tell them why something won’t work instead of seeking a solution to the challenge. The roadblocks can be anything from regulatory hurdles to plain old risk aversion or analysis paralysis. […]

January 17 has been designated Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day because that is about how long most people who make resolutions actually stick with them. According to research conducted by Statistic Brain, only 8% of resolution makers are successful with their resolutions. That’s a pretty sad success rate. According to Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology […]

Clients come in every shape and size, and every client has a different set of expectations from outside counsel. And “every client” means each individual at the same company has a different style and set of needs that needs to be known, hence our mantra: One Size Fits One. While each client will have individual […]

Towards the end of the year, our interview schedules slow down and we spend our days developing new content, cleaning up files and planning for the New Year. It is a great time to reflect and focus. A recent week of events made me realize the value of something we often take for granted: The […]

The bad news is that it may be too late to come up with a gift for your clients that will stand out from the crowd. But that is not the real goal of a gift; the goal of a gift is to create a memory. At the end of the year when you think […]

The following was posted October 26 by Lindsay Griffiths on her blog, Zen and the Art of Legal Networking. Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Director of Global Relationship Management.   If you’re a regular reader of Zen, you’ll know that I love in-house counsel panels. During the recent Legal Marketing Association’s Technology Conference, we had one […]

It is a rare gift for a lawyer who has spent an entire career solving clients’ problems to be able to sit down with a client, truly listen to the client’s assessment of the relationship, get feedback and—most importantly—act on the feedback. As a consequence, law firms often confuse client feedback interviews with “thank you” […]

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 […]

Corporate legal departments have no resources. Seriously. A global head of litigation recently told me: “I would pay my firms faster, but we don’t have the process in place to smartly review the bills. We don’t have the time to figure out how to do it, and we work with so many firms we wouldn’t know where to […]

The following scenario will never, ever happen in a law firm: A client walks into the reception of a major global law firm with a bill in hand and says to whomever happens to be at the reception desk, aggressively, “This bill arrived 90 days after the matter was closed and is 20 percent more […]

In recent decades, many firms have embraced the transition of certain administrative and management duties such as pricing, project management and process improvement from the attorneys to professional staff. Yet there is continued reluctance to the hiring of client-facing business development (i.e. sales) staff. Why does this reluctance to sales support still exist? And how […]

In the process of preparing for client interviews, we often get asked to obtain the opinions, interest or perceived value of the firm’s newsletters. It is a good question and worth asking given how much time your firm, staff and lawyers spend writing articles. To be candid, the answers range. Many interviewees cannot recall if […]

I recently attended a meeting of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) at the new PIRCH store in Atlanta to learn more about how the appliance store has created a customer-centric culture and earned a top 25 spot on the Forbes list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.” Granted, PIRCH offers $48,000 custom French ovens in […]

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 […]

“In every business, there are employees who are the first point of contact with the customers (attendants at airport gates, receptionists at doctors’ offices, bank tellers, executive assistants). Those people can come across either as agents or as gatekeepers. An agent makes things happen for others. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out.” […]

Interview with Sarah Rosen, Associate Legal Counsel Union Square Hospitality Group Union Square Hospitality Group, founded by Danny Meyer, is the parent company to some of New York City’s most beloved restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke and Shake Shack. The company also includes Union Square Events, a catering and events business, and […]

Before I traveled extensively for work, I ignored the pre-flight intercom banter of promotions for those flying as part of the airline’s frequent flyer program. On average, I flew less than a dozen times a year, some for work but mostly for leisure, and I always shopped by price and convenience to the location. Now […]

In its 2014 “Global Trust in Advertising” report, market research giant Nielson Company found that 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations over all other forms of advertising. That is up 18% since 2007. Based on Wicker Park Group’s body of client feedback interviews from the same time period, it is likely that an even higher […]

During the 2015 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, keynote speaker Daniel Pink discussed many themes related to the role sales plays in the lawyer-client relationship. For decades, lawyers have pushed back aggressively that they aren’t in the business of sales. Of course, they are wrong. Sales is not something out of Glengarry Glen Ross (Pink redefines the […]

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 […]

Recently, I interviewed an assistant general counsel for a large global organization, a man who has spent 30 years working both within law firms and as in-house counsel. His range of positions and experiences give him far-reaching perspective on the evolution of the legal industry, current trends and the ways in which firms are (and […]

In the last 100 or so interviews I’ve conducted with general counsel, business executives, staff attorneys and other corporate buyers of legal services, I have heard 100 different answers to the question: How does your organization hire outside counsel? Every organization is different, and every law firm relationship is different. The idea that there is […]

Product Knowledge: One Key to Successful Cross-selling In this multi-part series, we explore the basics of creating an integrated business development training curriculum. Read Part 1 here.  My oldest son Jess is a gifted sales professional. The best advice he shared with me? “Dad, if you want to be successful in sales, you must first know […]

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 […]

Part 1: Intro to the Grid In this multi-part series, we explore the basics of creating an integrated business development training curriculum. We know lawyers are incredibly busy people. And we also know lawyers, like everyone else, each learn differently. These two facts—lack of time and individual learning styles—reinforce the need for firms to create […]

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed quality time with family and friends over the holidays. It is hard to believe it is January 6, 2015. Where does the time go? Whether you are a New Year’s resolution kind of person or simply ready for a fresh beginning, we thought we would share a few […]

Here at WPG, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. It allows for cherished time with friends and family. Most of us, at least in the United States, are able to slow down, take a few days away from the office and be grateful for our many blessings. We overindulge in home-cooked food, embrace family […]

Our partner, Nat Slavin, recently had the privilege of moderating the general counsel panel at the LMA West Legal Marketing Technology Conference for the third time. The panelists were brutally candid in their assessments of how to strengthen relationships with in-house counsel, and we thought it was worth sharing their insights. Panel Kendra Clark, VP, […]

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 […]

In our conversations with in-house counsel about what law firms can do to strengthen and deepen their relationships, we often seek a short and sweet answer to the question. The answer is easy, but following through is very, very hard. The answer: Understand what it means to differentiate from the competition in the eyes of […]

Interview with Jim Hutcherson Chief Legal Officer/ VP Human Resources Bahnson, Inc. — An EMCOR Company Bahnson is one of the largest specialty engineering, manufacturing and mechanical contracting firms in the United States specializing in ultra-low freezers and environmental chambers. They provide infrastructure and construction management services to a variety of clients requiring the highest […]

We spend our days interviewing very smart, interesting people from every business imaginable. And while each interview is unique, almost every client cares deeply about three questions in particular. Positioning yourself to be the answer to these three questions will put you on the path to building trusted, long-lasting partnerships and standing well above the […]

As an active member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and a member of our local ACC Board, I attend many events where participants discuss how to work well with outside counsel. As Wicker Park Group’s own GC, I feel like I am standing on both sides of the fence as a GC for […]

Client Alerts

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There’s an interesting conversation happening on the LinkedIn Legal Marketing group (membership required). Here’s my post to the question on whether firms should eliminate client alerts and generally how to ascertain the value of client alerts: — The answer to the question is: One size fits one. Every client is different and has different needs. […]

In a letter to law firm leadership, Association of Corporate Counsel General Counsel Susan Hackett explains how law firms can access the “satisfaction” survey in-house counsel have been participating in since ACC’s announcement of the initiative last October. The initiative, dubbed “Value Index” is part of the broader ACC Value Challenge. An evolving initiative for in-house counsel and law firm’s […]

At the 2009 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, Laura Meherg of Wicker Park Group and law firm CMO Erin Meszaros presented a workshop on client feedback. Billed as a “live” client feedback interview, the highly interactive program had the underlying goal of spreading the message that while the interview is important, the key components of […]

It should not come as a surprise, but in-house counsel are working harder than ever. In conversations with dozens of in-house counsel in recent weeks, GC’s are shifting work within departments that have historically gone to outside counsel, and working extra hours for the same amount of money. They know this wouldn’t happen at law […]

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