You went for it. You hung your own shingle and started your own law firm. More importantly, you were successful. You gained clients as you became established and your firm grew. Guess what, your clients’ businesses grew at the same time. In fact, some of these clients may have grown to the point where you are having trouble meeting their needs. This sounds like a negative, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a good problem to have. Successful clients are great assets.
The important thing is to be able to manage and maximize the value of those clients. There are options to manage clients who has grown beyond your current firms capabilities.
You quarterback all your client’s legal needs. Because of your long-standing relationship with the client, the client may trust you to find the right help in the right jurisdiction. For example, the client needs intellectual property litigation help in California, you can find the right lawyer for the job. Also, you can manage the workflow, the client’s expectations, and every other aspect of the matter. Next, the client needs sophisticated tax help. You are a general corporate lawyer that does not have this experience. So, you find the tax expert and manage the process. And then…
This option certainly takes a lot of your time – maybe you can bill the client for some of it. For a while, this approach may be manageable – the client’s needs are being met, you are keeping up and so forth. However, it is not an ideal situation. At some point, you are spending significant time on this and you are losing money by referring business out. Also, the client may start thinking that a national firm with multiple practices areas and offices would be a better fit. It may be time for Option #2.
Find the right law firm. Trust me, if you have a growing client with needs across practice areas and geography, you and your client are in demand. This situation is indeed a triple win. You can keep the client, get credit for the work, and make more money. The client wins by having its most-trusted advisor still in the driver’s seat. By “hiring” colleagues at your new firm, there is more accountability to handle the client in a professional manner. In other words, you have more control of the client relationship when it is in-house. And your new firm wins. They get a new successful client with many needs. This is the ultimate client win for law firms.
Again, having growing and successful clients is a good thing. It may feel like they are getting to be too big for you. As such, you may worry that the client will leave you behind. It does not have to be this way. However, you want to make sure you find the right firm for you and your client. Let’s talk about it.