Marketing Transformation and the Route to Client Centricity: A discussion amongst Law Firm leaders and their clients


Sep 24 2018

Williams Lea was delighted to join Sandpiper Partners as the sponsor of a provocative roundtable discussion on marketing transformation and client centric business development. More than 50 participants from 20 different firms joined us for a lively discussion on how law firms are aligning their business development activities to meet client needs and build closer relationships.

Williams Lea’s Senior Vice President, Joseph McSpadden was joined on the panel by three COOs of large corporate legal departments and marketing leaders at six global law firms. The panelists’ experience provided diverse perspectives on how to connect client expectations and firm delivery through formalized Client Feedback Programs, RFPs and Outside Counsel Guidelines, and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:

  1. Clients are taking a holistic approach to firm relationships

The client-side COOs all agreed. Their strongest firm relationships were those that provided smart and proactive support over the span of years, not just in a fiscal year. The clients seek to partner with firms whose values and vision align to their own. More importantly, the clients are looking to their law firm partners to differentiate themselves with value-added services that expand beyond partners to include strong paralegal, project management, and administrative support.

  1. Outside Counsel Guidelines are a two-way street

According to our panel, too often, client demands and firm delivery are misaligned.  Firms see the complexity of billing arrangements and delivering those globally as their greatest challenge, while the clients are pressing for stronger Diversity and Inclusion, information security, and technology delivery as part of their Outside Counsel Guidelines. Firms that are the most successful client partners are those who conform to the billing guidelines and take the non-fee related parts of the guidelines just as seriously.

  1. Client listening shows that firms are not too different from their legal department clients

One thing was very clear in our panel discussions: when firms open themselves up to the all-important process of gaining client feedback, they learn that they share with clients many common issues. Among those are the narrow pipeline for diverse candidates, building defensible cyber and data protection programs and creating solid information governance policies.

To gain more insight on how law firms are investing to meet growing client demands and business growth necessities, download our Trends and Opportunities in Law Firm Outsourcing Survey Report

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