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    The Mad Clientist Takes a Vacation

    It’s vacation time for The Mad Clientist and he’ll be kicking back on the deck with a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other.

    The top choice this vacation:

    Life by Keith Richards

    Whatever you’re planning, both BTI and The Mad Clientist hope your summer includes some time for yourself to pick up a book, catch a movie, enjoy a round of golf, sail or just unwind.

    Have a happy 4th of July.

    See you next week.


    The Most Recommended Law Firms

    Last week we shared why only 33.3% of corporate counsel recommend their primary law firm to a peer—a task they do not take lightly. Recommendations are personal statements about the recommender as much as they are about a law firm’s client service, quality and commitment.

    With clients always expecting more, law firms often have to work double time to earn the coveted recommendation given by one corporate counsel to another. Only 25 firms earn an unprompted recommendation 5 years in a row. You can see all 96 firms earning multi-year recommendations in our newest report: BTI Most Recommended Law Firms 2015. View the report below or download the complimentary report here.




    Client Service Suffers Second Biggest Drop — Here’s Why

    Clients want more. And don’t stop wanting more. Ever.

    Only 33.3% of corporate counsel recommend their primary law firm to a peer—a substantial drop from the 40.1% who recommended their primary law firms last year. This marks the second biggest drop in 15 years. Credit one reasonThe Client Expectation Gap.

    Whatever you just did, no matter how great or unexpected, your client will treat this as your new minimum performance standard. Clients are not ungrateful; they want to improve their own performance and are under intense pressure to do so. You are a key part of this equation.

    The better your client service the better your client performs. The best client service creates time and knowledge for clients. So client expectations of you and your firm just grow and grow because your clients never have enough time or knowledge. The Client Expectation Gap appears when a firm falls short of these ever-increasing expectations.

    Each year the acts of client service change—gaining in value and sophistication and becoming a little harder to replicate. And every year, a group of law firms figures out how to up their game, leap frog client expectations and leave the other law firms behind. More importantly, these acts of client service differentiate these firms on a continuing basisproviding more firepower in a world where the winners will eventually take all.

    Next week we'll share a 5-year analysis of the law firms most recommended by corporate counselstay tuned. 



    Every Firm Can Beat the Spike In Attorney Resistance to Change

    The more things change the more we resist. 54.1% of law firm marketing leaders report partner resistance to change as their most vexing problem—more than doubling from the 22.5% reported in 2005. Back then, corporate legal spending was soaring while law firms worried only about capacity to meet demand. Fast forward 10 years—clients cut law firm rosters to a new low, squeezing every drop of law firm value out of their spending while demanding ever more from law firms—and twice as many partners oppose doing things differently.

    Click to read more ...


    The Great Revenue Deception

    Revenue is so deceptive. As long as we have growth it's all good. But, it hides so many sins and can be so misleading. It can also mask great success. Too bad it sits right up at the top of the income statement for all to see.

    Hiding the Truth

    Revenue growth has this nasty habit of hiding the truth. Not for all firms but more than half. Missing the truth can be devastating.

    Growth in the top line rarely causes a firm to go examine their individual client's year-over-year revenue trends for the last 3 to 5 years. Lack of growth does.

    Click to read more ...


    Clients Drop 11 More Law Firms — Hitting 15-Year Low

    Clients have the smallest law firm panels in 15 years. A typical large company now relies on 36 law firms—down from 47 firms last year. This marks the second year in a row of the shrinking law firm panel. Despite the new low, corporate counsel report no plans to stop trimming their law firm rosters. Larger companies dropped 2 major law firms—and 9 smaller players—from their rosters.

    Cherry Picking Is The New Beauty Pageant

    Corporate counsel have shrinking time and inclination to watch a group of law firms strut their stuff. As a result, we hear little of the beauty pageants so prevalent 10 short years ago. Clients are basing hiring decisions on their daily experiences with these firms; meaning hiring decisions are based on your ongoing behavior instead of your qualifications and pitch.

    Click to read more ...


    Highest Rates Clients Pay Jump to $1600, Top Rates up 8%

    Clients pay $1,600 an hour after any discount as the highest rate in the market—a new all-time high for the top rate. And, this is not an isolated rate—more than a few clients report paying $1,600 per hour.

    4 Figure Hourly Rates Officially Part of the Legal Landscape

    38% corporate counsel report paying a top rate of $1,000 an hour or higher. The 4 figure HRP is clearly embedded in the legal landscape. The largest 30 law firms, including the Magic Circle firms, lay claim to 54% of clients paying the highest rates.

    Clients say new and extreme risks make the top rates worth paying. Think monster transactions, global complexity, large scale FCPA and similar enterprise-level risk. 

    Click to read more ...


    5 Trends Clients Want You To Jump On

    Early seeds of change often present the best new opportunities. BTI’s new research has uncovered 5 emerging trends—2 are client driven while 3 originate from law firms. Each presents new tactics, or in some cases a new and much better version of an old tactic. But none of these are in widespread use—yet. 

    1. Ratcheting Up Client Retention

    Law firms large and small are working to turn “my clients” into firm clients. Law firms are developing truly robust client teams and taking deep dives to understand a broad set of client needs and how clients want their law firms to change and improve. These newly energized client teams are led by senior partners with budgets to fund them. Clients are noting these client service improvements—and the firms choosing not to make these investments—and awarding work accordingly.

    Click to read more ...


    The 9 Roads to Premium Rates

    Brand isn’t about one thing. Your brand is about everything you do. Every action, interaction, the technology your firm uses, the client service your firm provides, or the value a client believes they get from using your firm—these all contribute to the imprint in a client’s mind; an impression which drives hiring decisions—and the rates clients think you are worth.

    Strong brands influence client loyalty, hiring, and rates—especially, premium rates. BTI assessed which activities were most important to legal decision makers’ when:

    • Making hiring decisions—both consideration and ultimate hiring of law firms
    • Bestowing law firm recommendations to peers
    • Awarding premium-rate work

    Subtle changes in law firm behavior greatly affect how legal decision makers perceive the firm’s overall brand. This year’s in-depth research uncovered 9 significant changes, all of which impact hiring and pricing for every law firm. These are:

    Click to read more ...


    Clients Short Lists Get a Little Longer

    Clients’ lists of go-to law firms just got a little longer. This means more law firms will have to fight harder to even be considered for hire for a new matter. As the number of top recommend firms shrinks corporate counsel are considering at least a few new firms to hire. One more sign of the marketing value of developing and investing in relationships as clients consider a longer list of competitors. 

    Click to read more ...