Skip to content
Featured Image
Client Feedback, Service & Teams
3 minute read | 3 weeks ago

40 Tips for Client & Industry Team Success (Part 1)

Photo of Tara Weintritt By: Tara Weintritt

Almost every law firm we work with today has client and/or industry teams. Some are in the early stages, but most firms have had them for years or even decades. Many are on a second, third or fourth iteration of client and industry teams after initial failed attempts, dwindling enthusiasm or fading engagement.

We are advocates of client and industry teams. Clients align themselves by industry, and speaking their language is important. (In 2023, 39% of WPG client feedback participants said understanding their business and industry was the top criteria for selecting a firm or lawyer.) Additionally, clients benefit when law firm teams are led and integrated well—lawyers provide better client service from shared insights and integration. Yet most law firms are struggling with how to meaningfully launch, manage or sustain client and industry teams.

WPG has partnered with law firms to evaluate, train, run and relaunch many client and industry team programs over the last decade. We have systems, documents, toolkits, trainings and years of feedback related to what clients want and expect from client teams. We have found most law firm client and industry teams are struggling for one of two reasons:

1) Poor Leadership (firm leadership failing to communicate importance and/or assigned industry/client leaders not demonstrating proper leadership)

2) Lack of Clarity of Success, Expectations and Roles

If your client or industry teams are struggling, make sure these two pillars are in place before you offer more tools, training or resources. If you feel you have good leadership and clarity of success and expectations, below are a few additional tips and best practices for success.

We broke our tips down into four categories: What, Why, Who, How. We are starting with the “What” today and will be sharing the full list of tips for successful client and industry teams in future posts.


What

  • Nothing speaks louder (and turns the proverbial submarine, a.k.a. lawyers and firms) than the voice of the client. Obtain it!
    • What are you doing well? What needs to improve? What are the key priorities and how are those different from last year? Where are clients underserved, frustrated or overwhelmed?
    • Establish a process and timeline to conduct client service reviews on a regular basis for all clients with teams and other key clients. Share the feedback with the team!
  • People support that which they help create. Engage lawyers in the process of developing a plan on how to make meetings more effective.
  • Involve the client (or clients for industry teams) in the process. Invite clients to present or share client insights, priorities, goals and challenges to the full team and showcase to the client you are invested in them as a firm.
  • Enlist management from on high. With competing demands and financial rewards for billable hours, lawyers need to understand this initiative is viewed and valued by the top. Team programs must be run by the firm, not by marketing or by the partner.
  • Clarity of success, expectations and roles for everyone involved is important and drives purpose and engagement.
  • Understand what motivates your buyer—value, partnership, cost, result—and share per individual and with the full team to adapt messaging and deliverables to meet expectations.
  • Gather fellow team leaders to share best practices, cross-selling opportunities and success stories.
  • Outline selection criteria for new client teams based on opportunity, geography, industry, revenue, etc.
  • Consider tiering support for client and industry teams based on involvement, integration and success. Provide a resource center for small, informal and ad-hoc teams as well as new client opportunities.