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Something new is impacting everything about how you talk to, plan for, and pitch your clients.

More clients want to see their law firms using more associates than not for the first time in our 30 years of research. BTI research shows a 22% surge in cases creating clear and redefined client preferences. And, clients want to see associates built into their service delivery.

Our in-depth interviews with 240 top legal decision makers show law firms have less than a 50% chance of getting client staffing preferences right. Here is how to help beat the odds. The numbers look like this:

  • 40% of clients want more associates on their matters
  • 32% of clients don’t want to add more associates
  • 28% of clients are open to an argument either way
More Associates Please

Clients who are looking for their law firms to use more associates fall into 3 distinct categories, each with different starting points and expectations:

  1. 7% are adamant about using more associates — it makes sense for many of their matters
  2. 21% believe associates are a smart strategy — these clients think it’s a good idea until proven otherwise
  3. 12% want to start by looking at using more associates — it makes sense of the surface
No Interest in Increased Use of Associates

2 client groups are against law firms using more associates:

  1. 18% have no interest at all in using more associates — don’t even bring it up
  2. 14% are disinclined to use more associates — they don’t see the fit and don’t like the idea
I Can Be Persuaded

A full 28% of clients are agnostic about adding more associates on their matters. They can be convinced based on the case and the economics. But the onus is on you.

Winning More Work

Law firms are winning more work by discussing staffing preferences with their clients and agreeing on an approach. Another group of savvy law firms is asking potential clients their preferences as part of their pitch — with some even asking about preferences by types of matters and circumstance. These firms enjoy the benefit of engaging their clients (making for a better pitch) and delivering on client expectations.

This market continues to behave in unpredictable ways. Talking to clients about their staffing preferences will give you more insight about what clients want and where they are headed. There are few more powerful business development tools than engaging clients about upcoming challenges and demands.

Be well. Be safe.


The Mad Clientist

Watch the BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2021 video to learn how so many clients want more associates on their new matters — and more.

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