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The Mad Clientist

Clients Rank Law Firms—Skadden Tops BTI Client Service 30

By December 1, 2014April 16th, 2020No Comments

Skadden reigns supreme in client service. 

Each year, The BTI Consulting Group speaks with more than 300 leading corporate counsel and asks them which firms are leading the way when it comes to delivering superior client service—an area law firms aren’t always known for mastering. This year, unexpected leaders prove they’re here to stay and the Davids and Goliaths of the legal world continue their ongoing battle for client service excellence.

1. Skadden
According to corporate counsel, Skadden is the undisputed leader in delivering the absolute best client service this year. Skadden is committed to putting clients first. A deliberate shift 5 years ago to a client-facing strategy is paying off for the firm. Clients report a number of new initiatives and noticeable changes from the firm, including: more attention from senior-level partners and having in-depth discussions around business (not legal) strategy and impact.

2. Jones Day
Jones Day has been in one of the top 2 spots for each of the past 14 years; proving the firm is truly blazing trails in client service delivery. The One Firm Worldwide principle created by Jones Day allows every individual at the firm to zero in on clients’ targeted outcomes (instead of traditional financial metrics) to produce end results other firms envy.

3. Sidley
3 years ago, Sidley made a number of significant client-facing changes. A newly created Client Service Officer and newly hired CMO are spearheading a renewed focus on client service—bolstering an already strong client service culture at the firm. The changes are paying off as clients report better business understanding and increased client focus from Sidley.

4. Morgan Lewis
Morgan Lewis proves client service doesn’t have to suffer in the face of major change. Leadership transitions and a large-scale lateral integration did not distract the firm from its core focus: close-working client relationships to drive results. Morgan Lewis’s strategy is executed through high-performing client teams, in-depth client feedback initiatives, and leadership committed to consistently improving the firm’s client service performance.

5. Thompson Hine
10 years ago, Thompson Hine made dramatic changes to improve the firm’s client service. 3 years ago, the firm doubled down on this commitment and implemented large-scale project planning and marquee client-focused events to provide (what clients describe as) best-in-class business understanding. This year marks the firm’s best-ever performance on BTI’s A-Team list—showing the battle between David and Goliath continues to sway.

6. Kirkland & Ellis
Alternative fees aren’t paying off for many law firms. Kirkland & Ellis is one of the few exceptions. For 12 years, the firm has enjoyed top marks in client service, but refuses to rest on its laurels. A strategic use of alternative fees places Kirkland among the few firms earning recognition for being truly innovative in the legal market—a key attribute valued by corporate counsel.

7. Faegre Baker Daniels
FaegreBD is another mid-sized player demonstrating size doesn’t matter. Global behemoths do not have exclusive rights to client service recognition. By leveraging industry teams, FaegreBD is impressing corporate counsel with its depth of knowledge and business understanding.


Law firms—and the legal market—continue to evolve. Leading legal decision makers have a pool of 650 law firms to choose from when awarding legal work. Corporate counsel are paying close attention (and giving business) to firms able to continually improve their approach to client service delivery. Only 337 firms earn recognition for client service and an elite 30 are performing 6 times better than all other firms.  BTI’s annual A-Team report shows which firms are currently winning the client service race—and details exactly what it is they are doing to outpace the competition.

Learn how you can too in the new BTI Client Service A-Team 2015: your tool to developing superior skills to drive the absolute best and longest-lasting client relationships. 

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