Only 1 in 3 clients recommends their primary law firm to a peer. A level rivaling both last year and 15 years ago. The reason for the drop: clients expect more. Much more. In their minds, they are spending more money with outside counsel—mostly on complex matters. The complex matters demand more attention and increased levels of client service. Instead, here’s what clients tell us:
- Shoddy work doubles
- 51% of clients say their law firms don’t collaborate among themselves
- Clients openly state they have less patience for outside counsel than ever
- No client teams
- Partner turnover is driving them up a wall
- No succession plans for retiring or departing partners, which clients have been asking for since 2015
Clients have only recently started to spend more money with outside counsel—on mostly complex matters. They expect more attention and deeper understanding of their situations. And, they expect their primary law firm—as in the one who gets the most business—to deliver on every front—especially the sources of frustration listed above.
Peer-to-peer recommendations are the single most powerful source of new business for a law firm. Everything else pales in comparison. The main reason clients recommend a law firm—client service—is 61% of all reasons. This is nearly 5 times the next factor.
The law firms who manage to earn client recommendations are growing faster and booking new business at a lower cost of acquisition. This not only drives revenue—but drives profits.
GCs make these recommendations to each other in private conversations. These include one-on-one discussions, group meetings, conferences, and a host of formal and informal venues. Clients find it a hot topic—who is good. And they want names.
These are not the “will you vouch for me” recommendations. Unprompted recommendations happen when a GC offers a name, without any prompting or suggestion of who. This recommendation comes from the ongoing evaluation of all the law firms in GC’s mental roster. The firm with the best client service wins—whether they are primary or not.
Stay tuned—next week BTI is publishing the most recommended law firms—by name. See you then.