There are obvious steps that you take to keep your law firm clients happy. Such as always putting forth your best legal skills and promptly returning their calls. However, here are some other ways to ensure that your clients stay satisfied:
1. BILLING THAT MAKES SENSE
This includes billing at an hourly rate that seems reasonable. Likewise, work with your clients to offer project-based rates and other flexible billing arrangements where appropriate. If you have a client who is balking at billing rate increases, see if you can make arrangements with firm management to grandfather them in at the old rate instead of risking losing their business. Or maybe it’s possible to have more junior attorneys do some of the work. Or, offer a project rate to keep the total bill a bit lower. You should try to find a way to get creative so you don’t risk alienating a good client.
2. HAVE ALL THE PRACTICE AREAS THEY NEED
Clients understandably like the idea of one-stop shopping for their legal needs. To many, it’s a hassle finding a new law firm each time they need legal assistance in a different area. Make sure you think through your clients’ businesses and potential legal needs. In doing so, you can let them know that your firm is able to handle that type of work. If your firm doesn’t have a practice area that your clients need now (or will likely need in the future), it may be worthwhile to discuss with firm management whether other clients would find it beneficial as well. If so, the firm can take steps to add that practice area.
3. A SENSE THAT LAW FIRM PARTNERS ARE WORKING ACROSS PRACTICES TO HELP THEM
Clients want to feel comfortable that all of their legal needs are covered. If a particular issue one of your clients faces cuts across more than one practice area, introduce the client to your partners who will be handling the work outside of your group. It’s also a good idea to proactively think about the present or future legal needs your clients may have. Then you can introduce your partners in relevant practice areas to your clients who may need their help now or in the future. This way, the client will have a relationship with these individuals should the need arise.
4. THE RIGHT TEAM, AT THE RIGHT LEVELS
Clients are happy to have the partner they know and trust involved in their work. However, they may think twice if they see you billing for mundane tasks that should be handled by less senior attorneys. If there aren’t good junior lawyers to help you, and you think there is enough work to keep one busy, you may want to approach management about adding to your group.
5. A SENSE THAT THEIR LEVEL OF BUSINESS IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO THE FIRM
Clients want to feel like they matter to you and to your firm. This is true even if they’re not huge companies with millions of dollars in billable hours every year. They don’t want to feel like their business is small potatoes and will get pushed to the back of the line for bigger clients. So give them the level of responsiveness they think the bigger clients get. Otherwise, you risk losing those clients to firms where they can feel like a bigger fish.
ISSUES TO CONSIDER: If some or all of these suggestions sound impossible for you to implement at your current firm, you may want to think about why. Is firm management unapproachable? Is your firm’s strategy to focus on only a narrow set of practice areas and leave out specialties that your clients need? Does your firm have a compartmentalized culture that discourages cross-selling to assist clients with their diverse legal needs? Is your firm having trouble attracting and keeping the right team, or is firm management reluctant to hire additional attorneys when needed? Does your firm rely on huge institutional clients that dwarf your clients and make them feel like they belong at another firm? Does your firm make it impossible to keep your law firm clients happy? If any of these problems is one you’re facing at your current firm, it may be worthwhile to investigate other options before you start losing clients. Gillman Strategic Group can help. We specialize in helping partners with established business find the perfect fit at law firms in New Jersey. Please feel free to set up a call to discuss whether it’s possible to find a better fit for you and your clients.
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