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    Thursday
    Apr172014

    4 Innovative Actions to Add Outsized Value Today

    You can start the march to add outsized value and boost client service today. Ok, maybe Monday.

    Start slow and be selective. Focus on your largest clients. You can mix and match where you feel comfortable—but no matter how you move ahead—embrace at least one of these client building strategies:

    1. Offer to sit in on your client’s new product development and planning meetings. 
      Your goal is to spot IP protection opportunities early and look for regulatory issues early in the process to speed time to market.
       
    2. Meet with clients to triage new matters coming in the door on a regular basis. 
      Clients report a jump in new matters. You can help with very early case assessment and streamline the path to reduce cost with better outcomes.
       
    3. Develop individual marketing plans for each of your firm’s largest clients. 
      Large clients are magnets for almost every law firm looking for new business. Protect your flank and lay out your plan to protect your most prized asset.
       
    4. Arm partners with tools to communicate their understanding of the client’s business to the client. 
      Many firms are capturing business intelligence on clients but few partners actively share this understanding. Talk shop with your client early and often. 

    Law firm partners are in the field executing on these tactics now. These approaches are battle-tested and deliver. But they only work if you are the first to offer. All the more reason to start today—ok—Monday.

    MBR

    Thursday
    Apr102014

    2 Law Firms Get 50% of the Budget—45 Fight for the Rest

    The typical large corporation is working with 47 different law firms at any given point in time. The average middle market company works with 8. Meaning, law firms compete with somewhere between 7 and 46 firms every day at a single client. Your competitors want to grow by at least 5% with client budgets growing at 1.9%—the battle for the primary spots are somewhere between intense and brutal.  

    Only 2 law firms earn primary status with clients. For law firms looking to grow, being a primary provider has broad implications:

    1. These 2 primary firms capture between 40%-50% of the client’s legal budget—leaving the others to slug it out for the rest
    2. Becoming a primary provider gives you access to 3 to 5 times the fees you currently bill

    9 firms are in a secondary position with clients. These firms perform substantive work for and have the ear of top decision makers. Secondary firms are serious competitors—vying to be primary and looking to oust you from your primary position with clients.

    The only vehicle to discover your status—and who you are competing against—is  to ask.

    Well-designed client feedback will tell you exactly where you stand and what you have to do to either gain or keep primary status. Corporate counsel’s broad use of law firms suggests the firms with the most robust client plans and teams will win the primary spot and keep it (as long these firms invest in understanding exactly what clients want).

    We discussed tactics to help your firm develop and take advantage of world-class client feedback to gain and keep primary status during our latest webinar. View a recording of the webinar here.

    Wednesday
    Apr022014

    The 7 Stages of Client Relationships

    For most firms, quantity and size come before strength and quality when counting clients. We always want more and bigger. 

    But without core strength or understanding our depth of quality, we know little about what each client relationship can be and how long it may last. Knowing where we stand with clients is the foundation to ultimately securing market position and long-term success. You can look at your client relationships along two dimensions:

    1. The strength of our current relationships—are we the primary, secondary or other firm  
    2. The quality of our current relationships—we know how many clients recommend us in an unprompted manner—no suggestions needed or given

    Ideally, you will have some balance between primary relationships and recommendations—but few firms do. Some law firms are overweighed in primary relationships with fewer recommendations and other firms find the reverse. Both have profound business development implications.  

    In BTI’s newest report, BTI Client Relationship Scorecard, more than 500 corporate counsel rank their relationships with nearly 400 law firms. Law firms fall into 1 of 7 distinct categories:

    1. BTI Power Elite—The firms with the highest number of superior relationships. These firms enjoy the most primary relationships and the most recommendations without prompting.
    2. Power Players—One step removed from the Power Elite, these firms boast more superior relationships than 90% of the market.
    3. Celebrities—Recommended more often than used in a primary role—suggesting upside if these firms can be more aggressive on business development.
    4.  Players—Used as a primary firm more often than recommended—suggesting opportunity through strategic use of client service and business development.
    5. Suitors—Prime candidates for growth, these firms have more superior relationships than 60% of the market.
    6. Contenders—With more client recommendations then primary relationships these firms have the potential to develop new business with aggressive and bold tactics.
    7. Stealth Providers—Firms with primary relationships but little in the way of recommendations or client mind share. Aggressive tactics can make these relationships substantially more robust.

    Your position can inform your marketing and business development strategy moving forward. You can target your resources to change your market position and get more bang for your buck.  

    You can learn where you stand and how corporate counsel view their relationships with nearly 400 firms in over 15 industries in the new BTI Client Relationship Scorecard 2014: Ranking Law Firm Client Relationships.

     

    Wednesday
    Mar262014

    Are Your Client Relationships Good…or Simply Good Enough?

    Unless your firm has robust client feedback in place, you are simply guessing at how good your client relationships are. Clients are the only true judge of the strength for every relationship we hold dear. 

    We brought back the BTI Client Relationship Scorecard, last published in 2009, because law firms were asking for more insight into their market standing. Now you have the ability to learn how high-performing law firms are able to improve their market position—as measured by client relationships—during one of the most demanding markets of the last 20 years.

    BTI’s in-depth research with more than 500 corporate counsel at Fortune 1000 and large companies delineates the 2 criteria corporate counsel use to define the absolute best client relationships:

    1. Strong primary law firm relationships and how close you are to primary status
    2. The vibrancy and enthusiasm of your firm’s client recommendations

    23 law firms boast the largest number of the strongest relationships. These 23 firms—the BTI Power Elite—turn clients into powerful allies and use superior relationships as a competitive advantage.

    The BTI Power Elite almost all have substantial and somewhat mature client initiatives in place—meaning these firms actively invested in client relationships and continue to build these relationships on a regular, systematic basis. These programs include client feedback, client teams, partner training, reorganization to emphasize client-facing activities and more. 

    Please join us in congratulating the BTI Power Elite—the 23 law firms with the best client relationships.

    BTI Power Elite

    1. Jones Day
    2. Morgan Lewis
    3. Skadden
    4. Kirkland & Ellis
    5. Littler Mendelson
    6. Sidley Austin
    7. Hogan Lovells
    8. McGuireWoods
    9. Click to see all 23 BTI Power Elite firms

    Learn where you stand and how corporate counsel view their relationships with nearly 400 firms in over 15 industries in the new BTI Client Relationship Scorecard 2014: Ranking Law Firm Client Relationships.


    Wednesday
    Mar192014

    Law Firms Hyper Focus on Existing Clients: Only 1/3 Mean It

    Fully 92% of law firms are targeting existing clients for growth. Only 33% of these same law firms are funding their client teams to invest in these prized existing clients. While client teams are a proven tool to gain market share in a flat market—unfunded client teams are a bit like firing blanks. These teams quickly lose ground to the fully armed, funded team.

    The funded team can (and does) perform client research, develops client-specific tools and educational platforms, spends more time with clients outside the context of current matters—all key components of a client-centric growth strategy.

    The most powerful ingredient in any client team is your client. Your ability to leverage your client’s needs, objectives, preferences and priorities drives success.

    More than 500 law firms are competing for Fortune 1000 clients. These clients just reduced their law firm rosters. The best armed, best trained and best implementers will defy market conditions and gain share—and clients.

    Click here to learn more on how to use world-class client feedback to drive growth from our most recent webinar.

    MBR/JPD