A recent post at LawMarketing.com is a good read for every attorney struggling to get repeat business from existing clients:

What Clients Really Want

A client who has hired a lawyer as outside counsel assumes that the lawyer is qualified to do good legal work. Otherwise, the lawyer would not have made the cut in the first place. Quoting a client, Nat Slavin, former publisher of Inside Counsel, said: “Smart is what gets you in the door. How you manage the relationship is what keeps you inside.” The relationship is what builds loyalty.

“We have conducted more than 1,000 client interviews,” said Slavin, who now runs a company that helps law firms grow their businesses. “As a result, I have a pretty good sense of ‘what clients want.’ They want lawyers who can fix their problems. They want lawyers who can make their lives easier. They want lawyers with whom they can have a close and enjoyable personal relationship.”

In 2011, the Association of Corporate Counsel conducted a survey of chief legal officers and general counsel. Forty-two percent came from private companies, 34 percent from public companies, and the rest from non-profits, subsidiaries of foreign companies, LLCs and other organizations.

Survey respondents look for good value for the money they spend, reasonable cost, transparency between the lawyer and the client, and understanding of issues facing the client and its industry.

The most pressing issues expressed are:

  • Keeping apprised of company issues with potential legal implications,
  • Reducing outside legal costs,
  • Dealing with too much work and too few resources,
  • Staying on top of developments in the law,
  • Communicating changes in the law to management, and
  • Demonstrating the value of the legal department to management.

The biggest challenges include regulation/legislation, general economic outlook, growth, globalization, competition/maintaining market share, controlling risk, being sole risk manager, increasing litigation, lack of funding, healthcare reform, compliance, internal actions with legal implications, quality of law firms, being spread too thin, need for a strategic business partner, and training and motivating a law department as well as the company’s executives.

Continue reading the full post at LawMarketing.com here.

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