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The Mad Clientist

The Newest Obstacle to Business Development

By September 6, 2017April 16th, 2020No Comments

Top legal decision makers are loath to give work in new areas to inconsistent law firms because they just don’t know what they will get. Approximately 60% of top legal decision makers now tell us inconsistency is one of the biggest issues they see in their law firms* since first noting the trend in March of 2016.

Most law firms rely on individual partners or client team leaders to define client service performance levels. These partners know their clients best and can fine-tune their approach. But, the firms with the most consistent service across offices and practices define certain firmwide client-facing behaviors and actions which set the minimum client service standard at a high—and uniform level. These include:

  • Assigning a single partner to be accountable for client service delivery at each major, strategic and/or important client
  • Holding client team meetings regularly to discuss client service performance
  • Developing a client preference file for all attorneys to study and learn about client-specific performance requirements

The most aggressive firms hold their partners accountable for making sure these things all happen on a routine basis. These highly consistent firms also:

  • Conduct scheduled and frequent internal client team meetings to update all attorneys and staff on key issues and developments—these meetings including everyone across all offices and practices who charge time to this client
  • Assign a partner specifically responsible for onboarding new attorneys joining the case midstream
  • Define standardized response times for different types of communication—with input from clients

Any partnership of individuals is prone to inconsistency. The most successful partnerships in every profession quickly learn consistency harnesses the true power of partnership—and drive past the inconsistent firms once the market starts to mature. We are witnessing the maturing and development of the consistent law firm—and another source of advantage.


*Based on BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2017 and August 2017. BTI conducted more than 325 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations.

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